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Guide to Development of Long Range Facilities Plan

1986 Edition

Prepared by the
California Department of Education



Part 1 - Education Program

History and Education Transition
Community of the School District
Educational Goals and Practices
Educational System

Part 2 - Educational Facilities

Evaluation Procedure
Summary of Facility Utilization, Capacity, and Evaluation
Plot Plans
Individual Facility Utilization and Capacity
Individual Facility Evaluation

Part 3 - Demographic Study

Collection of Statistics
Enrollment Projection

Part 4 - Implementation Plan

Plan of Schools, by Grade Level Grouping
Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act
Identification of Facility Requirements
Implementation Procedure
Progress Record

Part 5 - Evaluation Plan

Evaluating the Long-Range Facilities Plan
Updating the Long-Range Facilities Plan

List of Forms and Maps Included in this Document

1.02a Summary of District Facility Capacities, Utilization, and Evaluation
1.02b Plot Plan of Site and Buildings
1.02c Utilization and Capacity of School Facilities (Elementary)
1.02d Utilization and Capacity of School Facilities (Secondary)
1.02e Evaluation of School Facilities
1.02f Study Area Evaluation Report
1.02g Demographic Enrollment Projection

  1. Base Maps
  2. Master Plan of Zoning
  3. Census Tracts
  4. Study Area
  5. Maturation Projection Map - Kindergarten Through Grade Six
  6. Maturation Projection Map - Grades Seven and Eight
  7. Maturation Projection Map - Grades Nine Through Twelve


A list of questions (q) and answers (a).

Q. What is a long-range facilities plan for school districts?

A. It is a compilation of information, policies, and statistical data about a school district. It is organized to provide (1) a continuous basis for planning educational facilities that will meet the changing needs of a community; and (2) alternatives in allocating facility resources to achieve the district's goals and objectives. It is used for planning facilities needs for either pupil enrollment growth or decline.

Q. Why should a school district develop and maintain a long-range facilities plan?

A. By means of such a plan, a school district is enabled to:

  1. Gather and organize factual information about a community from which present and future educational program needs can be determined.
  2. Estimate pupil population as to numbers, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnic composition so that facilities may be planned for and provided.
  3. Make an objective appraisal of the quality and capacity of existing school facilities.
  4. Make more effective decisions regarding the types, amounts, and quality of new and existing school facilities and the disposition of facilities during periods of declining enrollment.
  5. Coordinate a program of total school and community planning.
  6. Develop a system of educational program and facilities priorities as an integral part of the educational process.
  7. Maintain a program of continuous comprehensive planning and financing of school facilities.

Q. How can a plan be developed?

A. A plan can be developed by:

  1. Making a commitment in the form of a school district board resolution.
  2. Organizing a process that guarantees continuing analysis and evaluation of what is acceptable as the district's educational and cultural goals and objectives.
  3. Expending a major effort through adequate staffing and financing.
  4. Involving the right people at the proper time and defining functions and responsibilities in terms of particular areas of competency.
  5. Providing leadership in problem-solving techniques through a system of communication and evaluation.
  6. Recognizing that educational program and facilities planning are one integral part of the total educational process.
  7. Anticipating community needs and maintaining contact with the ever-changing situations at the local level.

Q. Who conducts the development of the plan?

A. When the school district governing board commits the district to initiate the plan, specific individuals should be designated to provide leadership and be responsible for its accomplishment and implementation. A planning committee should be named. Suggested representatives on the committee would be board members; community leaders; personnel from the chief administrator's office, instructional services, and business services; building principals; teachers; and classified personnel. District size would be a controlling factor in determining the pattern of organization. Individual responsibilities should be specified, as well as time and financial commitments needed to develop the plan.

The planning committee functions as a management group and ensures total staff and community involvement in the development of the plan. Professional resources should be called on in particular areas of competency. Suggested resources are the School Facilities Planning Division, California Department of Education; offices of county superintendents of schools; colleges and universities; and architectural and technical consultants. The decisions of the planning committee should be documented as directives and distributed throughout the district.

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Part 1
Educational Program

Part 1 of the long-range facilities plan involves preparing a statement of the educational programs and goals of the district in relation to its programs, both current and future.

  1. History and Educational Transition
    1. Historical background. Relate, in a narrative account, the history, regional setting, composition, and physical description of the district.
    2. Growth. Illustrate the growth pattern of enrollments and schools in the district up to the present.
    3. Educational transition. Trace the manner in which the educational program has progressed to the present.
    4. Changes in progress or contemplated. Describe educational programs or needs now changing or being contemplated for change.
  2. Community of the School District
    1. Community factors. Identify factors in the community that affect the school system: the social, economic, racial, and ethnic makeup of the locale.
    2. Sociological policy. State the district policy regarding actual or potential human problems.
    3. Relationships with other public agencies. Define the district policy regarding cooperation and coordination with other public agencies (e.g., parks and recreation authorities, planning commissions, and health departments).
    4. Community involvement. State the policy for community involvement to achieve total community development. Indicate organizational structure.
  3. Educational Goals and Policies. Identify the universal and continuing purposes that are accepted and adopted by the governing board as the goals of education in the district.
  4. Educational System. Describe the total district system as presently structured as well as future concepts. The system should be described in terms of goals, objectives, and policies.
    1. Grade level grouping. State the organizational plan of the district for grade level grouping.
    2. Preschool program. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the preschool program.
    3. Elementary school program. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the elementary school program:
      1. Organization and program
      2. Site design criteria
      3. Enrollment size policy
      4. Program loading and staffing
      5. Unique requirements
    4. Middle (intermediate, junior high) school program. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the middle school program, if applicable:
      1. Organization and program
      2. Site design criteria
      3. Enrollment size policy
      4. Program loading and staffing
      5. Unique requirements
    5. High school program. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the high school program:
      1. Organization and program
      2. Site design criteria
      3. Program loading and staffing
      4. Unique requirements
    6. Special programs. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the special programs:
      1. Special education
      2. Gifted and talented education
      3. Summer school
      4. Continuation school
      5. Adults education
      6. Vocational education
      7. Regional occupational centers/programs
      8. Special classes and centers
      9. Joint powers or cooperative programs
      10. Other special programs
    7. Instructional support program. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operations of the instructional support program:
      1. District library
      2. School libraries
      3. Audiovisual materials
      4. Textbooks
    8. Pupil services. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operations of the pupil services programs:
      1. Health
      2. Guidance
      3. Speech
    9. General support services. Describe the district's philosophy, policies, and operation of the general support services. Describe administrative services by illustrating the school district's organization and functions in chart form. Use correct personnel titles on the chart.
      1. Administrative services
      2. Facilities planning
      3. Transportation services
      4. Food services
      5. Building maintenance services
      6. Custodial services
      7. Site care services
      8. Community use services
      9. Joint use by parks and recreation departments
      10. District guidelines for implementing the California Environmental Quality Act

Part 2
Educational Facilities

Part 2 of the long-range facilities plan involves preparing a comprehensive evaluation and report of the utilization and condition of the school facilities currently in the district.

  1. Evaluation Procedure. Describe the procedure for evaluating facilities. Preferably, the evaluation should be the result of a visit to each school by an evaluation team composed of members of the district educational division and business division along with consultants, such as the School Facilities Planning Division field representative and the district's architect. The team should be accompanied by the chief administrator of the school that is inspected and by community and staff representatives. A uniform checklist such as that found in the Facilities Performance Profile should be used as an evaluative tool. (Copies of the Facilities Performance Profile may be obtained from the School Facilities Planning Division.) If the maintenance supervisor accompanies the team, an opportunity will be available to plan long-range maintenance budget items. A plot plan of the facility should be checked and updated at the time of the inspection.
  2. Summary of Facility Utilization, Capacity, and Evaluation. Summarize the utilization, capacities, and evaluations of all district facilities on one form (Form 1.02a.)
  3. Plot Plans. Provide a current site utilization and plot plan with indoor and outdoor teaching stations for each school, central office facility, and site. (Form 1.02b.)
  4. Individual Facility Utilization and Capacity. Report the present utilization and capacity for each facility. (Forms 1.02c (elementary) and 1.02d (secondary).)
  5. Individual Facility Evaluation. Rate each facility as described above. (Form 1.02e.) Include written statements of facility needs, corrections to be made, or other recommended improvements.

Sample Form 1.02a - Summary of District Facility Capacities, Utilization, and Evaluation
Sample Form 1.02b - Plot Plan of Site and Buildings
Sample Form 1.02c - Utilization and Capacity of School Facilities - Spaces and Loading (Elementary)
Sample Form 1.02d - Utilization and Capacity of School Facilities - Spaces and Loading (Secondary)
Sample Form 1.02e - Evaluation of School Facilities (the form is three pages detailing the adequacy of the site, space, light, heat and air, sound, aesthetics, equipment, maintenance, and any recommendations for needed corrections and improvements).

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Part 3
Demographic Study

Part 3 of the long-range facilities plan involves a comprehensive demographic study of the district according to current and projected data.

  1. Mapping. Some of the detailed mapping and study area census instructions contained in the following sections may not apply to districts with very small enrollments. Often, single zoning or no zoning at all is present in an entire district. A full census can be conducted in two or three days by parental volunteers, and a single map may suffice for the entire district.
    1. Base map
      1. Obtain or prepare a complete map of the school district, with the scale large enough to include considerable detail, for use in making presentations to boards and community groups. A recent aerial photograph, if available at reasonable cost, is also advantageous. (A sample of a base map appears later in the document.)
      2. Ensure that the map is current with respect to all vehicular circulation: freeways, major streets, feeder streets, railroads, and waterways. Include any proposed streets as dotted lines on the map.
      3. Indicate, on the base map, all impediments to pedestrian traffic, such as industrial areas, drainage canals, rivers, ponds, power lines, and fenced areas.
      4. Show topographical features, such as canyons or cliffs that are a factor in development and access.
      5. Delineate and name each existing school and each existing school site owned by the district. Also, locate parks, cemeteries, golf courses, airports, and private and parochial schools.
      6. The district, in preparing this map as well as future maps, should work closely with all appropriate agencies, such as the State Department of Transportation, county road department, county flood control department, city/county parks and recreation departments, federal or local aviation agencies, and the Bureau of the Census. It is also advisable to contact utility companies. Copies of master plans already completed by any of these agencies should be secured for their applicable information. Differences in planning goals should be resolved.
      7. After all information has been entered on the base map, the map should be professionally prepared and printed. It should also be made in reproducible form, both full-sized and reduced, so that working copies can be made.
    2. Zoning map. Use a copy of the base map or an overlay to indicate all existing zoning. Differentiate graphically the different kinds of zoning and describe the types by legend: residential (low, medium, and high density); commercial; industrial; and agricultural. Indicate, within each zone, minimum lot size or residences per acre. (A sample of a Master Plan Zoning map appears later in the document.)
    3. Census map. Although federal census information is not generally available in a form suitable for use by a school district because the tracts overlap the school district's boundaries, the census tracts should be included for future correlation. Delineate federal census tracts and numbers on a copy of the base map or a transparent overlay. (A sample of a census tracts map appears later in the document.)
    4. Study area map
      1. Use a copy of the base map or a transparent overlay to subdivide the district into logical statistical study areas. Once established, the boundaries of these areas are permanent and become the basis for collecting and composing all future demographic information about the district. Boundaries in partially or fully developed areas should never change, even though they may be further subdivided. Boundaries in undeveloped areas should change as the development of road patterns becomes evident. (A sample of a study area map appears later in the document.)
      2. The following criteria are suggested for defining study area boundaries:
        1. All major streets (existing or future) are boundaries.
        2. All railroads are boundaries.
        3. All drainage channels or waterways are boundaries.
        4. Lines between developed and undeveloped portions of the community are boundaries.
        5. Lines between different types of zoning are boundaries.
        6. Federal census tracts are boundaries.
        7. Unusual terrain features and impediments to pedestrian traffic are boundaries.
        8. Present school attendance lines may be boundaries.
        9. Municipal limit lines are boundaries.
        10. Different types of housing, such as old versus new, apartment versus single family, trailer parks versus multiples, create boundaries.
        11. Boundaries in large undeveloped areas should be tentatively drawn to include an estimated 200 pupils (kindergarten through grade six) when developed according to known zoning.
        12. Boundaries should be small enough so that study areas will have a minimum of variations in characteristics.
    5. Study area evaluation
      1. After the criteria listed in the preceding paragraph are applied but before the boundaries are finalized, each study area should be physically surveyed and evaluated on the "Study Area Evaluation Report" (Form 1.02f). The type, age, and value of the residences and the continuity and terrain characteristics of the existing development should be noted. The best available estimates of future developments should also be noted on the report. These reports are to be used as a basic tool for projecting future homes on vacant land.
      2. Once the demographic plan is in operation, study area reports must be maintained up-to-date by noting all changes or developments as soon as information is available. Analysis of changes and new developments and their implications to the plan should be made on a continuing basis.
      3. It is especially important to note zoning changes, redevelopment, or shifts in ethnic population.

Sample Form 1.02f - Study Area Evaluation Report (Referenced in Section 3A5)
Sample of a Base Map (Referenced in Section 3A1)
Sample of a Master Plan Zoning Map (Referenced in Section 3A2)
Sample of Census Tracts Map (Referenced in Section 3A3)
Sample of Study Area Map (Referenced in Section 3A4)

  1. Collection of Statistics. After statistical study areas have been established, the collection of base statistical data may proceed.
    1. Census base. One of the most complete and comprehensive systems of collection is the special census. The system suggests that the services of the State Department of Finance's population research unit be used for coordinating and overseeing the process of the census. By gaining census responses to specific questions, the district will have the tools for making valid judgments with respect to each study area.
    2. Annual information
      1. In addition to the special census base, a system for collecting statistical information about each study area must be established that will be accurately repeated annually to provide historical data for projecting enrollment.
      2. The minimum necessary annual information is as follows:
        1. Total existing housing units by study area
        2. Total preschool children by age and study area
        3. Total regular pupils by grade and study area
        4. Total special education pupils by type, grade, and study area
        5. Total ethnic pupils by type, grade, and study area
        6. Private school pupils by grade level and study area
    3. Source. The basic source for these data may be a special card file, a revision of an existing directory card file, or a data processing system containing data on all pupils. In addition to name and address of each pupil, include preschool siblings at that address, the study area number of that address, regular or special education status of pupils, and the ethnic groups of the pupils. Once the system has been established to record the data, it must be continuously maintained on a current basis by adding or deleting cards for transient pupils.
    4. Recording. Cards and/or printouts of individual pupils should be counted by study area to obtain the number of preschool pupils, regular pupils, and special education pupils and an ethnic count of the pupils. At the same time, each address should be listed by study area to give a directory and a house count for presently enrolled pupils. This information may then be recorded on the demographic enrollment project form. (See Section C, Enrollment Projection.)
    5. Augmenting information
      1. Each study area should be canvassed by street to record the addresses of all housing units not shown on the list. These homes should be contacted to obtain the ages of any preschool children or the age and grade levels of any child attending private or parochial school. Vacant houses should be indicated.
      2. This added information updates the previously recorded study area data to give an accurate house, pupil, and ethnic count.
      3. Pupil count is divided into house count so that a current pupil per house per grade can be established and recorded for each study area.
    6. Update. Each year when the official California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS) enrollment report is prepared, existing information for each study area is moved back a year on the demographic enrollment projection forms, and a new existing pupil, house, and factor is recorded for projecting purposes. Over a period of five years, an accurate historical data bank will be developed that serves as a basis for projecting by study area.
  2. Enrollment Projection. Beginning with the enrollment projection data, the district will maintain, for each study area, continuous data as outlined in the previous portions of this part regarding mapping, analysis, statistical collection, and recording.
    1. Continuity
      1. The combined information shall be tallied annually on the same date as the CBEDS report is due. The information will be put on the demographic enrollment projection form, Form 1.02g, to develop an information bank that is current and consistent.
      2. Because the data so compiled will be used for making revisions to and for updating both the projections and the total developmental plan, and interruption of the continuity of data will prevent the development of reliable statistical information for future planning.
      3. If historical data are not available for the initial projection, individual judgments will have to be made as to pupils and homes for each area. With each succeeding year, more clearly definable trends will emerge.
    2. Master data bank
      1. A master set of the demographic enrollment projection for each study area should be maintained up-to-date by the demographer, along with the master set of study area evaluation reports. This master set becomes the basis for analysis, reporting, and implementation of requirements and proposals involving facilities planning.
      2. An example of the demographic enrollment projection form appears later in this document.
      3. Summaries of projections by study area of pupils by grade level should be compiled and incorporated in this plan annually.
    3. Summary date. Summary data should be presented as follows:
      1. Regular pupils by grade level and study area
        1. Present date
        2. Maturation date
      2. Special education pupils by grade and study area
        1. Present date
        2. Maturation date
      3. Ethnic distribution by grade and study area
        1. Present date
        2. Maturation date
      4. Grade group (kindergarten through grade six, grades seven and eight, or grades nine through twelve) projections by study area
        1. Present date
        2. One-year through seven-year projections
        3. Maturation date
      5. Private school pupils by grade level and study area

Sample Form 1.02g - Demographic Enrollment Projection

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Part 4
Implementation Plan

Part 4 of the long-range facilities plan involves preparing a statement of the priority in which the district proposes to solve its school housing problems.

  1. Plan of Schools, by Grade Level Groupings
    1. On the basis of the data and policies developed in the preceding sections, design a master maturation plan that shows existing and future schools with their ultimate attendance boundaries. The plan should represent the most efficient method of school housing that will meet the district's ultimate needs in accordance with present standards and the best available information on what may reasonably be expected to occur.
    2. Each grade level grouping shall be shown on a transparent overlay of the base map that shows present schools, present sites, future sites, and the ultimate number of pupils attending the schools.
    3. The concept of a development plan is that the ultimate plan may change in conformance with changes in the educational program or in the demographic data regularly compiled. However, such changes should be adopted only after an in-depth analysis and consideration in accordance with the planning procedure outlined in Section 4C.
    4. The incremental plans that mesh into the overall design should be developed of consideration by the planners and school board in the same manner. Examples of maturation plans are illustrated later in this document.
  2. Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Set forth the district administrative regulations that have been drawn up to meet requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on a framework related to and guided by the guidelines as promulgated in Chapter 3, Division 6, Title 14, Natural Resources, California Administrative Code, Section 15050.
  3. Identification of Facility Requirements. Compile a definitive list of facility requirements for consideration and ranking as to justification, feasibility, priority, and implementation. Consideration should also be given to alternatives and plans in case enrollments stabilize or begin to decline.
  4. Implementation Procedure
    1. Define the policy and procedure for processing identified requirements for facilities. The following is a suggested approach for implementation.
    2. Responsibility for coordination of the educational facility's needs should be assigned to one high-level school administrator. This administrator shall be kept informed of the following: currently identified requirements as well as those that occur as a result of growth, changes identified as this study develops, legislation, new programs, changing instructional methods, or other pertinent factors. Assigning one administrator to this task will simplify collection of appropriate information, comparison with the developmental plan, and analysis.
    3. The administrator in charge shall canvass all divisions of the district, request written evaluations concerning the implications and priority assessments of the identified problem, and then compile and report the findings to the superintendent's planning committee for further assessment and recommendations.
    4. The superintendent's planning committee shall study all aspects of the problem and take appropriate action.
  5. Progress Record. All action related to facilities planning as a result of this study or as implementation to this study should be entered in this section as an historical record. The developmental plan should be maintained in a form, such as a loose-leaf notebook, so that it may be readily updated and revised.

Sample of Maturation Projection Map - Kindergarten Through Grade Six (Map shows existing schools, existing sites, and future sites along with student population of 20,217)
Sample of Maturation Projection Map - Grades Seven and Eight (Map shows existing schools, existing sites, and future sites along with student population of 5,086)
Sample of Maturation Projection Map - Grades Nine Through Twelve (Map shows existing schools, existing sites, and future sites along with student population of 8,838)

Part 5
Evaluation Plan

Part 5 of the long-range facilities plan involves preparing a policy to ensure that the plan is kept up to date.

  1. Evaluating the Long-Range Facilities Plan. State the policy of the district for reviewing and evaluating continually the long-range facilities plan. An annual schedule with specific responsibilities and a deadline for submitting the plan to the superintendent is preferable.
  2. Updating the Long-Range Facilities Plan. State the policy to ensure continual updating of all divisions of the long-range facilities plan. Any changes in program, facilities, or demographic data should be immediately analyzed for their implication to the overall plan and accommodated through the implementation plan, by appropriate revisions recommended to the district's board of trustees.
Questions:   School Facilities & Transportation Services Division | | 916-322-2470
Last Reviewed: Friday, July 14, 2023