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Proposed Changes to Classroom Definition Policy


(Proposed Changes October 9, 2019)

I. A space requested by a Local Education Agency (LEA) as a classroom will be counted as a classroom and creating capacity for purposes of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) approval letter for School Facility Program projects if the space:

  1. Is consistent with minimum Title 5 classroom square footage standards or have adequate justification consistent with the LEA’s educational program; or request an exemption demonstrating educational appropriateness and safety is not compromised (Title 5 14030 (g) (h) (i)) and (r).
  2. Is consistent with documentation of intended use as a classroom via the LEA‘s board adopted Educational Specifications or equivalent document.
  3. Is situated appropriately on campus and with consideration of access from a common circulation area. Title 5 14030 (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (h), (j), and 14036).
  4. Is of a shape and length to width ratio that provides clear and comfortable lines of sight in instructional areas.
  5. Has casework and built-in furniture/equipment (lab stations, shop tables, marking boards, etc.) appropriate for the offered programs (Title 5 14030 (h) and (i)).
  6. Has adequate lighting (Title 5 14030 (l)).
  7. Has functioning heating and ventilation.
  8. Is designed to be acoustically comfortable to permit instructional activities and minimize acoustical interference from adjacent areas (Title 5 14030 (f) and (m)).
  9. Has a phone as required by Education Code 17077 and be connected to the school communications system.
  10. Is not a space used for a pull-out program only.

II. The CDE will not count the following spaces as creating capacity,

Elementary School:

  • Stages (Title 5 14040(k)(1)(C).
  • Outdoor physical education spaces
  • Spaces identified by the LEA in its educational specification to be used as a pull-out program (Resource, computer, etc)

Secondary Schools including K-8.

  • Outdoor physical education
  • Gymnasium
  • Spaces identified by the LEA in its educational specification to be used as a pull-out program (Resource, etc)

III. A LEA may request at the time of request for the preliminary plan review that the CDE include a statement in the CDE final plan approval letter that one or more of the types of spaces identified in Section II may be able to be used to accommodate future enrollment growth if all of the following are met:

  1. The space meets 1-9 of the criteria specified in Section I
  2. The LEA demonstrates how the use of the requested spaces does not negatively impact the educational program (i.e. loss of library, maker space etc)
  3. The spaces are able to provide the same educational program as the spaces identified as classrooms by the CDE.
  4. The Essential Support Spaces are sized to accommodate the master plan enrollment.

The CDE will include the additional capacity in calculating the master plan capacity of the school site. The master plan capacity is used in evaluating a school site’s ability to accommodate a physical education program, compliance with the requirements of the Small School Site Policy and other studies that may be required such as a pipeline risk assessment.

Please contact your assigned SFTSD Field Representative if you have any questions. For questions on School Facility Program funding, contact the Office of Public School Construction External link opens in new window or tab..

Questions:   School Facilities and Transportation Services Division | sftsd@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-2470
Last Reviewed: Monday, October 7, 2019