Education Code (EC) Section 17215 requires that property proposed to be acquired or leased for school purposes within two (2) nautical miles (12,152 feet) of an existing or proposed runway be evaluated by the California Department of Transportation Aeronautics Office (Caltrans) prior to the acquisition or lease of the property. This provision applies to school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools regardless of funding source. If the property proposed for acquisition is for the expansion of an existing school site and the existing site was acquired before January 1, 1966, then the property is exempt from Caltrans review [EC Section 17215(f)].
The Caltrans review is required for all runways, whether public, private, civilian, or military, regardless of frequency of use. Local Educational Agencies (LEA) should check adopted local Airport Master Plans to assist in the identification of future runways and the expansion of existing runways.
To request a Caltrans review, the LEA must send a written request to the School Facilities Planning Division (SFPD) of the California Department of Education (CDE). The request shall include:
- A scaled, dated vicinity map clearly depicting the proposed site's boundaries and the airport's runway system on a single sheet. use a map scale of 1" = 1,000', 1" = 2,000', or 1" - 3,000' that can be measured using an engineer's scale. Aerial maps from the internet may also be submitted. maps must be labeled appropriately.
- A separate dated schematic plan that clearly depicts the layout and boundaries of the proposed school site delineating all existing and proposed property boundaries and/or streets. The schematic must be drawn to the same standards as the vicinity map above with a recommended scale of 1" = 500'.
- Multiple site locations shall have scaled maps listing individual names or numbers assigned to each individual proposed school site using a matching scale.
CDE will submit the LEA's request and provided maps to Caltrans for review. Caltrans will investigate the proposed site and, within 30 working days after receipt of the notice from the CDE, submit to the CDE a written report including recommendations and findings on the suitability of the property proposed to be leased or acquired.
The CDE shall, within 10 days of receiving the Caltrans report, forward the report to the governing board of the LEA. The governing board may not acquire title to the property or enter into a lease until the report from Caltrans has been received. If the report favors the property acquisition or lease, the governing board shall hold a public hearing on the matter prior to acquiring or leasing the property.
If the Caltrans recommendation does not favor acquisition of a proposed site, the governing board may not acquire title to nor lease the property. Additionally, neither state funds nor local funds may be apportioned or expanded for the acquisition of any existing school site to include the reviewed site.
Caltrans information and regulations for evaluating a proposed school site within two nautical miles of an airport should be reviewed by the LEA.
For additional information, contact the SFPD Field Representative assigned to your county.