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Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 3/15/2013
Budget Issue: CCC mandates
Program: CCC
Finding or Recommendation: Reject Governor’s proposal to retain “Community College Construction” in mandate block grant. Recommend eliminating the four specific mandated content areas as districts likely would continue to include such information in their capital outlay plans.
Further Detail


Chapter 1124, Statutes of 2002 (AB 3000, Committee on Budget), requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) to review each mandate included in the Commission on State Mandates’ (CSM) annual report of newly identified mandates. In compliance with this requirement, this analysis reviews the mandate titled “Community College Construction.”

Community Colleges Must Prepare and Regularly Review Capital Construction Plan. Under current law, California Community Colleges (CCC) districts are required to prepare and submit to the statewide Board of Governors (BOG) a five-year plan of capital construction needs. Districts must regularly review the plan and annually submit any updates or changes to the BOG. Districts are generally permitted to include in their plans any information they deem pertinent. Statute identifies six specific content areas, however, that must be included.

  • The extent to which plans for future academic and student-service programs could affect estimated construction needs.
  • An inventory of district facilities and land.
  • An estimate of monies the district has available for purposes of matching state funding for capital outlay projects.
  • Enrollment projections for the district.
  • The current enrollment capacity at the district.
  • The capacity of the district office, libraries, and certain other district facilities.

The CSM Approves Part of Mandate Claim. In June 2003, Santa Monica Community College District filed a claim with CSM alleging that the statutorily required capital construction plans constituted a state-reimbursable mandate. In October 2011, CSM determined that the requirement for districts to prepare and submit a five-year plan does not, in itself, constitute a state-reimbursable mandate. This is because five-year plans have been required by statute since before 1975. (Under the State Constitution, “new programs” or “higher levels of service” that predate 1975 do not qualify as state-reimbursable mandates.) The CSM found that four of the six required content areas, however, do constitute state-reimbursable mandates for districts. Specifically, these requirements include all, or parts, of the first four content areas noted above.

The CSM Adopts Cost Estimate. The CSM adopted parameters and guidelines, which identify the associated activities that can be reimbursed, in March 2012. In December 2012, CSM released the statewide cost estimate. Based on claims filed with the State Controller’s Office between 2001-02 and 2011-12, the commission adopted a statewide cost estimate of $248,000. The average annual cost over this 11-year period was about $23,000. The commission noted, however, that because the estimate is based only on the two districts that had thus far submitted any claims, prior-year and annual ongoing costs may be understated.

Governor’s Proposal

Governor’s Budget Retains Mandate in Block Grant. The 2012-13 budget package established a new mandate block grant for CCC. The Community College Construction mandate was one of 17 mandates included in the block grant. The Governor proposes to retain the mandate in the block grant for 2013-14. Districts that choose to participate in the block grant receive $28 per full-time equivalent student. (Alternatively, districts can seek reimbursement for mandated activities through the regular claiming process.)

LAO Recommendation

Recommend Rejecting Governor’s Proposal and Eliminating the Mandate. We recommend the Legislature reject the Governor’s proposal and eliminate the Community College Construction mandate. Instead of requiring districts to include the above content in their five-year plans, the Legislature could make the four specific mandated content areas voluntary. Given that it is standard information relating to capital outlay, districts likely would continue to include and update this content in their plans. As such, the Legislature could achieve the overall policy objective without the need for a mandate.