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Title 5 Webinar Transcript

The following is a text transcript of the Title 5 Webinar


Juan Mireles: We are going to go ahead and get started. Welcome everybody. My name is Juan Mireles, I’m the director of the School Facilities and Transportation Services Division here in the Department of Education and with me here today I have part of my team. We have Mr. Fred Yeager the Assistant Director, Michael O’Neill Consultant, Caryn Rice our Executive Secretary, Lesley Taylor Consultant, we have Elyzabeth Arellano she’s a student with us right now, we have Molly Stitt one of our Consultants. Am I missing anybody else? I think that’s it.

Fred Yeager: I think that’s Lisa’s spot and.

Juan Mireles: Okay

Fred Yeager: Diane is down in the overflow room.

Juan Mireles: So, welcome again, we are excited to have you here today. Before we get started I wanted to start off with a couple of housekeeping items. First of all, I want to let everybody know that this is being recorded. We are having a webinar which means that we have folks online listening to the conversation and watching the PowerPoint, but they won’t be able to provide us verbal comments. They can, however, submit written comments via our email address which is: So for those of you joining online, welcome. If you have any questions, this is for folks online or folks here in the room, I’m going to ask that we hold off until the end so that you give us an opportunity to go through our presentation and then we’ll have plenty of time at the end to answer questions and then get into the comments. For those of you online, if you do submit questions, please know that we are going to read them out loud here in the room, so please make sure that you state your name and the organization that you’re from.

Second, for those of you here, restrooms. If you go out this door and make a left, you go down the hall past the elevators, the restrooms will be on your left hand side. You don’t need a key or a pin to get in, right?

Michael O’Neill: No badge either


Juan Mireles: Nope, no badge.

So, why are we here? The objective of the meeting today is really to give you some background on Title 5, history, to provide you with summary on some of the comments that we’ve heard in the last several years on what we should do regarding Title 5. What kind of things we should consider changing. It’s going to be a high level summary of the concepts that we’ve heard, so we’re going to share that with you. But really, most importantly, it’s to give you an opportunity to provide us input. For you to tell us what’s worked well, what hasn’t, what should we consider changing, what should California standards

SIRI: “sorry, I didn’t hear that”

Group laughter

Juan Mireles: Alright, I’ll repeat it.

More laughter

Juan Mireles: Basically, what should California standards look like, and that’s really the main objective for the meeting today. So, this is the first meeting that we’re going to have. We do plan on having several other input sessions if you will throughout the state, in different areas of the state to provide different people the opportunity to provide comments. So we are going to be having that opportunity and we’re also going to have the opportunity to have you provide us written comments as well. Even if you may not have any kind of comments today, we will be accepting input throughout the next couple of months until we close the input session. I know a question that’s been asked to me is, why? Why review Title 5?


Juan Mireles: Why is CDE reviewing them now? Why engage in this effort? Now first I’m going to start off by saying that they have not been updated since 2000. So, that’s over sixteen years ago. A lot has happened here in California in the academic world in sixteen years, right? We have the local control funding formula and accountability plan. We have transitional kindergarten. We have common core standards. We have next generation science standards. We have standardized electronic testing online. There are a lot of things that have happened in the education world and we also have a growing body of research that tells us that the school facilities do effect learning. There have also been other changes in terms of the educational planning practices to consider things like sustainability. So there are a lot of things that have changed and our regulations have not. There are other things that we need to review in terms of just making sure that the regulations are clear, that we have the appropriate references and codes, citations. So, we think that it’s not just prudent, but really necessary to take a look at them and this is the first step. Take a look at the regulations, are they up to date? Should they be updated to make sure that we have regulations that reflect our educational environment? Like I mentioned earlier, this is just the first meeting, we want to provide you some background. We are going to continue to accept input. We’re going to have the regional meetings, maybe one by the end of the year, but probably starting at the beginning of next year throughout the state and again, they’ll be similar format that will be an opportunity for folks to provide us with input. So, one of the things I also want to point out is that we don’t have proposed regulations we need to review. We are just starting this review process and we want to hear from you. We want to hear from you so that you can tell us things that we need to consider in order to develop potentially proposed regulations. So, what are we going to go through today?


Juan Mireles: We are going to cover a couple of things, if you could go to the other slide, basically, we’re going to give you the background and like I said we’re going to summarize some of the concepts that we’ve heard in the past. We’re going to talk about the next steps, what happens after this, and then we’re going to open it up first for questions that you have and then we’ll open it up for comments for us to consider. So, with that, I’ll hand it over to our experts. So, Mr. Yeager, please take it away.

Fred Yeager: Well first thing, everybody sign in because we are having a lottery for Michael’s McCartney tickets.

Group laughter

Fred Yeager: Which also puts us at a time limit of 8 o’clock, you’ve got to go.

Group laughter


Fred Yeager: Alright, so, all regulations need some statutory authority upon which the administering body, in this case the State Board of Education, to adopt. So, ours for Title 5 is Education Code 17251, which does a number of things. We are to provide districts upon their request on the merits of potential school sites, specifically for educational merits, safety, reduction of traffic hazards, and conformity to the land use element of the general plan. So this is typically, for those that aren’t familiar with our process, our initial site review 4.0 where we look at those items as well as other factors and give you a relative ranking of the potential sites.


Fred Yeager: It also contains a section that we develop standards for use by school districts in the selection of sites and standards for use by safe and educationally appropriate for school plans. So those are the foundations that allow us to build the standards through the regulatory process in Title 5. So, as Juan mentioned the Title 5 was last amended by Duwayne in 2000.


Fred Yeager: He had some help from Tom Payne I think.

Duwayne Brooks: It was a pain.

Group laughter

Fred Yeager: And before that they were initially adopted in 1993 and before that there were earlier versions of a much scaled down content. But since 2000, the Title 5 regulations have been a flexible and adaptable standard that allows communities to design schools based upon their own community’s unique needs. Since 1998, $35billion in state funds and about $65billion in local funds have been developed using Title 5 standards. So all district projects must meet Title 5. The difference being as a condition of funding through the State Allocation Board it’s required that you have our review and approval of compliance with those standards. So the main difference, really, between a district voting a project to Title 5 and one asking for our review for participation in the site acquisition is approval of Department of Toxic Substances Control when applicable. It’s not a minor addition. Generally all land acquisitions, if the state is participating in the funding, need Department of Toxic Substances Control. Other than that, the standards are fairly similar.

Charter schools are not subject to Title 5, unless they request funding through the State Allocation Board because there is specific statutes in the SFP- School Facility Program that requires that. So charter schools, as we’ve seen, are located in any number of store fronts or in other buildings approved by the local building department.

So Title 5 contains a number of standards. I like to describe them as prescriptive standards, those that, well, I have them in backwards order. Performance standards are those that are, discusses that a space shall be well lighted or that the number of showers in the locker room is sufficient. They are largely interpreted by the district as what is sufficient for their physical education program (inaudible) students using the showers. There are a number of those performance standards where there is nothing where CDE can count shower heads and say eight is sufficient, six is insufficient. We have the prescriptive standards, those are generally well defined as something we can look at and say yes, that passes or it doesn’t. Some examples of those are supervision of the health office, separation of vehicles and pedestrians. And then process. There are many procedural regulations in Title 5 that a district has to conduct studies. They can evaluate the safety effect of a nearby pipeline, they conduct and adopt CEQA. So, they’re procedural steps. Again, mostly those are things that we can say yes, you did have a hearing, you did adopt it. But there are occasions where we may question, say they did their health, their quarter mile findings that there are no hazardous area measures within a quarter mile, but we happen to also know that there’s a cement plant across the street, so we would ask ‘did you consider that’? But we don’t judge on the validity of their science or the board’s determination as long as there’s a reasonable background of support for that. And one of the key pieces of Title 5 is the exemption process. A district may request…

Unknown person: Hello

Fred Yeager: Oh that’s alright, come on in. There’s a seat there or there’s one next to Connie.

Fred Yeager: The exemption process allows a district to request from the Superintendent an exemption from any of the standards in Title 5 as long as they document that it does not compromise educational appropriateness or student safety. So again, that is something that allows districts to respond to their own community’s unique needs and design schools with flexibility that Title 5 provides.


Fred Yeager: I just wanted to give you a quick overview of the sections within Title 5, as an example, of what’s in each one. Section 14001 that’s the first one in our section of Title 5. Title 5 is all of education and it goes from 1 to infinity. Our section is 14001, so when people say “Title 5” they could mean anything from teacher credentialing to maintenance of student records, but our section is 14001. 14001-Minimum Standards- these are high level goals, such as a school should be developed based on an educational program need, flexible and adaptable. Sort of guiding principles that would guide an overall planning process. Section 14010 are the standards for school sites and those are what we use in our evaluation of a district’s application for a site approval and what the district approves sites for. Those are the things on site size, acreage, surrounding land usage.

Next section 14030 are the standards for plans, size of classrooms, relationships of buildings on campus. The sections on procedures, 14011 and 14012 for site and 14031 and 14033 for plans, are related to a process if state funding is involved or local funding only. The main difference being the involvement of the Department of Toxic Substance Control.

I talked earlier that we are authorized to investigate non-compliance with the site selection standards. So one of the standards here is that the district maintains the records for sites and plans that they evaluated for consistency with Title 5. Those need to be maintained in the district’s records. That should be a go-through of Title 5 as you develop a project and say how it meets Title 5. Then there are just a couple others. 14035 that we can request to the State Allocation Board the replacement of some educationally inadequate facilities and 14036 regarding special education integrated into the campus least restricted environment for an appropriate public education. That’s sort of the content of Title 5 and Michael’s going to delve into some of the comments we’ve been receiving and those mostly dealing in the 14010, 14030 and some of the procedural steps.


Michael O’Neill: Thank you, Fred. I’ll be taking a few minutes to talk about prior comments received from stakeholders about Title 5 regulations, but first I must preface that for purposes of today’s presentation, I’ll only be providing a high level summary of the comments received. I’m not going to go into all the comments received nor will I get into many of the specifics of each of those comments. Also note that some of those comments and suggestions are probably more appropriately addressed, maybe not in Title 5 regulations, but maybe in guidance or in even coaching code change or a statutory change. Over the past several years, CDE has received suggested changes, additions, or even just concerns about Title 5 standards from numerous sources including a variety of professional associations, advocacy groups, academic researchers, state agencies, local agencies like cities and counties, school districts, county offices of education, architects, consultants, a wide range of and spectrum of those suggested comments. Some of the global themes or higher level lenses that can kind of be used to describe or contain these prior contents are that Title 5 should support or align with state sustainability goals and the state planning priorities. These are essentially to have smart efficient growth that is aimed at climate change by reducing greenhouse gases primarily by reducing vehicle miles traveled, increasing active transportation or walking and biking, and use of transit. Then there are other broader themes of local planning, collaboration, and things like that. State planning priorities, which are in government code, are generally aimed at promoting things like equity, efficient use of land and resources, promoting in-iill (inaudible) development, use of existing infrastructure and transit while protecting natural resources and agricultural land and only developing in areas that are planned for growth. One of the outcomes of the CDE’s 2008 roundtable and various other studies or efforts including those from UC Berkley’s Center for Cities and Schools is that CDE has developed twelve guiding principles. Now, they are not currently part of Title 5. They are, however, suggested as guidance for the siting and design of school facilities. These principles reflect everything from promoting the use of facility master plans and educational specifications, early local planning agency collaborations, accommodating community services on school sites, sustainable facilities and practices, and safe and healthy 21st century learning environments. If you want to see more about those guiding principles, they’re on our webpage if you haven’t already looked at them and seen them in detail.


Michael O’Neill: More specifically, with reference to siting standards, we’ve had input that some say they would prefer to do away with the prescribed minimum acreage standards and to add more flexibility, or even an individual case by case justification of the acreage required for each proposed new school site. There’s also been requests for greater specificity and clarity in evaluating certain hazards such as pipelines, powerlines, flooding and how these are documented, mitigated, or even exempted and what the school district governing board reviews and approves. Some have suggested that there be more emphasis placed on early consistency with long term district wide board adopted facility master plans and that those facility master plans have more specified minimum content. Many have also suggested there be a greater emphasis on early and better LEA or Local Education Agency collaboration with local planning agencies as a way of having more transparency and accountability with locally adopted plans and standards and to document that they’re in support of larger sustainable community planning efforts.


Michael O’Neill: With regards to the plan standards, there has been some expressed interest in allowing more flexibility and creativity in the design of learning spaces. Instead of, say for example, prescribed 960 square foot four wall classrooms, but rather adjust to the new twenty-first century learning environments with all of the new programs and academic changes that have occurred in the last sixteen years, new technologies. There’s also been a tremendous amount of research that’s focused on the indoor environmental quality that effects a number of things as well as the testing requirements are now changing this year and the emphasis on tailored individual learning styles and project based learning; these all have facility impacts. We have been tracking the research and a lot of research has shown a good correlation between indoor environmental quality, including things like lighting, air quality, and acoustics, among others, and their effects on health, attendance, and academic performance. Some have even suggested that each school district should have their own standards that address these, not just assuming that meeting some minimum energy code somewhere is going to be sufficient. Others have suggested the need for Title 5 to better address the adequacy of food services, the kitchens and sufficient areas to eat, and length of time to eat, and number of lunch periods, as well as, with new things coming out on accessibility to fresh water. They all have a relationship that can affect health, nutrition, and thus, student performance. Some have noted that with the increased use of career technical education, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) or STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) raised questions about the need for special standards or design issues for these types of programs to be operating in schools. Also, the changing nature of the library services that are provided in schools, or the use of transitional Kindergarten. They all suggest that they need to be addressed in Title 5 standards. In addition, some special education needs have been brought to our attention and we have to ask ourselves: Are the current standards adequate? Do they need to be changed to better to address things like inclusion, consultations between SELPAs (Special Education Local Planning Areas), county offices of education, and school districts? Finally, under site plan standards, design issues with parking lots and pedestrian access and safety. These have been regularly identified since I’ve been here as needing further attention and clarity in the Title 5 standards.


Michael O’Neill: The final major area or global issue of prior comments received is that of the procedures section of Title 5 and these can be generally described as a desire for more increased accountability and documentation of or acknowledgment by school district governing boards regarding things like CDE’s initial site reviews, preliminary plan comments, determinations for compliance with Title 5 or exemptions to Title 5, public notifications and hearings, general plan and zoning consistency or override of those, and even consideration of regional plans, such as, regional transportation plans and sustainability strategies. Also, hazard evaluations and determinations that are cited in Title 5 need to be updated and be consistent with the most current code requirements. A number of those codes that are based on government codes, public resource codes and education codes, have changed slightly since the last time Title 5 was changed. So we need to somehow make those Title 5 standards consistent with the requirements of the code. Finally, regarding special education again, there is a desire to somehow encourage early consultation or collaboration between county offices of education and school districts, regarding the special education facility needs on school district sites. So that’s a brief summary of prior comments received. As I mentioned, I did not mention all the ones received or get into some specifics, but that will give you the general gist. Now I’ll turn it back over to Juan.


Juan Mireles: Okay, so next steps. Like I mentioned earlier, this is just the first meeting, we are going to have more through the beginning part of 2017 and once again, between now and then, we’re going to continue to accept comments. Once we close the input session, we’re going to take a look at all the comments, we’re going to determine what’s appropriate for the department, for the State Superintendent to move forward, and ultimately they will be presented to the State Board of Education (SBE). These regulations have to get approved by the SBE. Once we do, the actual proposed text will become available publicly; there will be an opportunity to provide public comment during these board meetings and should the board approve them, they’ll then move over to the regulatory process which is going through the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and the Administrative Procedures Act. When that opens up, there’ll be another opportunity for public comment on the actual text, but it won’t be until OAL approves the regulations, that they will become effective. Again, depending on the timeline, that could be sometime at the end of next year.


Juan Mireles: So I’m going to open it up right now first for questions on the process, on the material that we presented today, and then we’ll open it up for comments for input. So once again if you have a question, for those of you here and those of you online, if you just please state your name and the organization you are with we’ll start off with questions.

Duwayne Brooks: Juan, because the State Board has to approve these regulations at what point in the process do you plan to involve them?

Juan Mireles: State Board staff is already aware of that we are looking at them, but we don’t have anything ready. They are aware that we are engaging in an input process right now that will ultimately get to them through an item.

Duwayne Brooks: Because that was a major challenge once we went through a lot of the involvement with the stakeholders. John Mockler was the Executive Director, John had a lot of ideas himself as to how the Title 5 Regulations should be written and if we were to do it differently back in 2000 we would have involved State Board a little earlier.

Juan Mireles: Yeah, like I said at this point I know his staff is aware, but then again we don’t have a proposal yet. We don’t have any idea what we are going to propose, but they are at least aware that we’re initiating this process.

Constantine Baranoff: Two questions on the prior comments back to the year 2000 or thereabouts.  Are they going to be considered of equal value, equal weight in this process? Will the source of that input be identified just like today’s input will be identified?

Juan Mireles: So, first question, yes they’ll have equal weight; they have not exceeded their shelf-life and we are going to look at all of them. We are going to look at the ones from the past. We’re also interested in case anybody thinks that maybe some of those comments are no longer relevant.

Constantine Baranoff: That’s the reason for my question.

Juan Mireles: Okay, so…

Constantine Baranoff: So they are going to look at them and does it make sense today?

Juan Mireles: Yes, we are going to look at them again and where we are at today, do they still make sense? Like I said I am interested to hear from you guys, if think you guys think some of those comments are no longer relevant or new ones, that’s part of what we’re doing. I am assuming we have information from the prior comments as far as who submitted them. We don’t have them today. I don’t know if there is an interest to make them available or not to make them available. I’m not sure if you’re asking that we should…

Constantine Baranoff: I guess the reason I am asking the question is that 16 years of questions and comments…

Juan Mireles: Yeah

Constantine Baranoff: Versus an attempt in 2017 to get new input. Perhaps being the source of that (inaudible)

Juan Mireles: I wasn’t planning on putting out distribution letters on who said what.

Constantine Baranoff: Right

Juan Mireles: At this point I am just looking at what were the comments, are they still relevant today, what do folks think today, and look at all of the comments regardless of where they came from.

Julie Alvis: Hi, Julie Alvis, Natural Resources Agency. Somebody made a comment that some comments that you received might be more suitable for the regulations and others might be suitable for the guidance that comes out of it. What is the relationship between those two things? Are you doing the Title 5 Regulations first, then you would be drafting the guidance and how would somebody that has comments know when to engage?

Juan Mireles: That’s a good question because some of them do help or assist the other. We were going to start off with the regulations, but we understand that some of our guidance documents as well as our forms may need to be updated as well and we do want to take a look at all of them. It probably depends on the topic and whether it will affect the Regulations or the guidance document. Some of the things that we’ve heard from folks that think that they may be regulatory, taking a closer look we think they may be more statutory. So we have to take a look at each comment and find out where does it apply? Does it apply to the regulations or the guidance documents? But right now we are open to comments on everything. So not just the regulations, the guidance documents, the forms as well. Please provide us input on all of it because all of it may have to be evaluated to have a complete thorough examination of the current process where regulations are concerned.

Michael O’Neill: I was just going to comment in the 2000 update, the last one, we also had advisory documents that were updated simultaneously.  We also have continued to publish a number of guidance documents whether it’s Healthy Children Ready to Learn, or on various topics, one-two pagers of guidance documents. So, it’s a continual process that new things will have to be addressed and be done.

Duwayne Brooks: Do you plan on involving other divisions within the Department of Education? When I mentioned stakeholders, we have external stakeholders, we have internal stakeholders as well. We went through the process, the PE people, the Science people, the Curriculum people, the Performing Arts people. They all wanted to provide input to how the facility would be designed. So, hopefully you will plug them in somewhere.

Juan Mireles: Yes, excellent point. You can tell that Duwayne speaks from experience. Yes we do plan on engaging the divisions here with the department. It’s a big department with a lot of different divisions and some of what they do impacts facilities. So that is part of the plan, that is part of the process that we’re doing in getting input not just from external, but internal stakeholders.

Rebekah Cearley: Rebekah Cearley, County School Facility Consortium. Could you please consider providing us a deadline as it gets closer to your State Board of Education proposal?

Juan Mireles: Yes

Rebekah Cearley: Right

Juan Mireles: But at the conclusion of those regional meetings, we’ll also have a deadline to submit written comments. We’ll make sure to send that out.

Rebekah Cearley: Okay, thank you.

Juan Mireles: Do we have any questions on line?  Okay if there are no more questions, we can get into the comment period, the input period.

Duwayne Brooks: Michael had mentioned the 12 guiding points. We tried back in 2000, we had one over-arching goal that was to balance local and state control. We had many, many discussions about how we do that. What we ended up with was saying what we want to do is establish thresholds below which you should not go and then to counteract that, the comment that we were trying to dictate the size of the classrooms then the distance from the powerlines, that’s why we put that exemption in there because our response has always been anything can be exempted as long as it doesn’t impact student safety or educational appropriateness. So that gave you a very, very wide range of application to the Title 5.  Connie would come up with some creative classroom designs that we would say:  Well, prove to us that doesn’t negatively impact student learning and we’ll approve it, and we could approve it. The other thing is kind of a technical thing. Since the State Board has to adopt the Regulations because the Ed Code says that CDE will establish these Regulations rather than the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and after Honig lost the State Board vs Honig issue, CDE was interpreted to be the State Board. But what we put in the Regulations was that the Superintendent has the authority to grant these exceptions. I was able to convince John Mockler that the State Board didn’t want to have this ongoing list of issues coming to them about the sizes of classrooms and that type of thing. So, to me that’s a real critical and efficiently working part of the Title 5 Regulations and the comments that Michael and others read, everyone one of those comments can be addressed under that overarching issue of the exemption. You can exempt anything as long as it doesn’t impact student learning or student safety.

Juan Mireles: So, that’s one of things you think works well that we should consider keeping?

Duwayne Brooks: It worked very well, I never…

Fred Yeager: One technical thing on that Duwayne. There are some things that have a statutory underlining that you can exempt the Regulation, but you can’t exempt the law. Such as the pipelines on the site.

Duwayne Brooks: Right, but not one issue got to the Superintendent. We were able to resolve it all at the Division Director level.

Constantine Baranoff: I think that is very important. It includes it all. It has to have flexibility and the ability to stand the work of the schools in the districts, even the charter schools that are involved. That’s going to be a greater area of question. The charters that are present inside of a strip mall and then all of them access state funds. No, you have to go through some ropes. I think it’s important.

Juan Mireles: Any others? Again, I have been trying to say it more than once, this isn’t the only opportunity to provide comments. What has worked well? What hasn’t? Any type of info we’re open to receiving.

Lindsay Currier: I’m Lindsay Currier with Riverside County Office of Education as well as the immediate past chair for County School Facilities Consortium, which is CSFC. I know that group is about 26 County Offices of Education throughout California. We have a good representation. We are excited for this opportunity to provide comments and we have done in the past with you. Title 5 currently provides information for our optimization of integration with (inaudible) We do find some challenges with that often, and so we have made that one of our goals at Riverside County as well as CSFC to really work on changing that. Currently federal law IDEA requires students to be educated in the least restricted environment which is an issue that’s related to the siting and planning of school facilities. So, for many of our students, that environment is in a County of Office Ed classroom on a different campus. So, I wanted to go through some challenges we face first hand in Riverside County as well as other county offices. I am sure a lot of you know that students with special needs require consistency and minimal change for them to thrive. So, for us, it’s a challenge because often times we are required to change that classroom, on an annual basis and sometimes the site as well as the district. So those students have to be either transported sometimes over three hours because it is a total day, but a three hour trip on a bus for them to be educated in the closest classroom possible. Another challenge that I face and have seen which really hurts my heart as a parent myself, it’s the not only the children, but those families then, they never have that home school, because they don’t know where their child is going to go next year. So they don’t get involved in PTA or they don’t get involved in all the activities at the site because they are probably not going to be there because they are so use to being changed and switched. It can be difficult to coordinate the needs because it includes multiple agencies at the County Office of Ed, the district SELPAs, so it is challenging. Then, also, we have these forty year ground leases which we may have talked to you about before, I think. The forty year ground leases from the old lease purchase program, when the school district and the County Office of Education had a project together, and then we would put in state funding dollars into the district project and then your forty year ground leases. Those I think are really good situations. That’s where we formed a lot of classroom space and that is great for the kids. Surprisingly, forty years is right around the corner. We have one’s that are expiring in 2021. We have about 45 throughout our county, not all expiring in 2021, but that is when it’s starting. So, when these expire there is no real concrete language on what happens to those facilities after the fact. So, we can renegotiate with the school district or it reverts back to that school district and I have already heard of some of them making some plans for what’s going to happen to that facility. So that is a new challenge for something that worked in the past. The modernization/new construction is really one of the best opportunities. It’s when we can work together with districts and county offices to integrate new facilities and plans for them. The real reality is thinking that along with the funding and financial hardship and all other processes we have to go through, it is really extremely challenging. So, Title 5 does provide some direction on the Special Ed integration currently. For example it requires the location of Special Ed classrooms to encourage interaction with the general student population. It requires safe bus drop-off area for Special Education and General Education and in front of it physical separations from Special Ed classrooms. Those are great, but they also presuppose that you are able to have facilities located or classrooms located on that site. So, CSFC as well as Riverside County do encourage you to examine adding some language into Title 5 that can be something requiring districts to have just a simple conversation with their COE and their SELPA that talks about the needs for Special Education and providing space on that campus for one or two of those classrooms. It could be a condition of the site and plan approval on the forms that you guys will be potentially updating and it would really create awareness and hopefully get that thought in forefront of all the districts that it’s something that has to be seriously considered for the students too. I know we have worked with you before and you have provided comments in the past and I appreciate being amongst (inaudible) So, we are here and we are excited to work with you through the process.

Juan Mireles: Thank you. Appreciate the comments.

Lindsay Currier: Sure

Juan Mireles: Once again, right now we are not going to weigh in on any of the comments, we’re just accepting and acknowledging all of them. So, if you don’t hear any feedback from us right now it’s by design because we are going to take them all in and then review them. So, thank you. Did you have a question?

Liz Grassi: I had a question, not a comment.

Juan Mireles: Okay

Liz Grassi: And that was, how does CEQA and the interface with the site selection requirements?

Michael O’Neill: Yeah, part of the Title 5 Regs require a school district in the school siting to complete CEQA before they receive our site approval. There are certain determinations and findings that are required as part of the Public Resources Code regarding certain hazards that must be made by the Governing Board. So we require at CDE that CEQA be completed before we give final site and final plan approvals. But, we are not the CEQA Police and we rely upon the lead agencies which is almost always the school district or the County Office of Ed to comply with the requirements of CEQA.

Liz Grassi: Thank you

Juan Mireles: Questions online, still? Okay. Any other comments, questions, concerns?

Theresa Townsend: Okay, I have one more that is kind of related, we get a lot of questions at DSA regarding net solar canopies…

Juan Mireles: For those of you that aren’t present, can you say your name?

Theresa Townsend: I’m sorry. I’m Theresa Townsend, I’m with the Division of the State Architect, and I oversee our Green Policy section. We get a lot of questions about solar installation and we have some policies as to how that works with code. However, there is the community that is not always happy with what a school is doing. So I would suggest and I don’t know how to solve it.


Theresa Townsend: I don’t know even that it’s appropriate for Title 5 to have something in there in regards to solar panels, whether they be ground mounted, on a canopy, mainly those are the two things that are the most egregious in terms of comments in the community to have to do with sites. Roof mounted, not so much.

Juan Mireles: We don’t have anything on solar. I know that we’ve heard concerns from homeowners, where a school district adjacent to their home has them on their parking stalls. Do we have anything on Title 5 regarding that?

Michael O’Neill: We don’t approve the Prop 39 projects, but if they’re included in the regular plans sometimes we’ll see them in the detail. And there are other questions that may come up related to that as to how do you design the charging stations for electric vehicles or compressed natural gas vehicles or other types of vehicles? How are those on site standards? Guidance would be appreciated in those areas too.

Fred Yeager: A lot of that maybe the city or county’s actions too. Title 5 is just one set of rules the districts have to meet. It’s not supposed to be every rule you need to meet. So, it’s very focused on student safety and educational appropriateness, but that doesn’t mean you still don’t have to meet the Field Act all the city things that may or may not apply.

Theresa Townsend: Exactly and I don’t know that this is the platform for it, but I think that because this is under the umbrella of sustainability, I didn’t know if you were going to address it. I know that CEQA does address it to some degree, but usually it’s a little (inaudible) and negative declaration that covers them. So they in-house the neighboring (inaudible)

Fred Yeager: Title 5 is about what is impacting schools. CEQA is about how the schools effect the neighborhood.

Theresa Townsend: Oh that’s a good statement.

Fred Yeager: So there’s an imperfect system.

Theresa Townsend: There you go. Along the lines of the EVs, the electric vehicles, we will be looking at that next year because we haven’t even started in our stakeholder meeting in regards to bring that about because the first thing in the Cal Green Code  is to have infrastructure and infrastructure for an existing school is quite difficult. Then once you start touching a parking lot, you trigger other code requirements. So, all that needs to be discussed. I don’t know where you’re going to go with that. I have my opinions but I won’t give them to you.

Juan Mireles: Connie

Constantine Baranoff: Constantine Baranoff: Well, let’s go back to comments (inaudible) and also going back to Duwayne’s way of how he was addressing information of the Title 5 and that is to resolve these issues at your level. The years that I’ve spent there are always changes that are going on and you cannot like them or anticipate any one of the future changes. You folks have that ability to respond to those changes, as those certain (inaudible). And Prop 39 not covered by OLA, not covered by some of the other entities and well, it’s left to you folks, whether we need regulations or not, and you look it up in standards, those projects funded by OLA are going to be reviewed by Title 5 standards. And look at Prop 39 not necessarily and who knows the future that it’s going to have. And like yourself I would reflect that (inaudible) I asked, I always had is get loud at the department (inaudible) rather than be too descriptive.

Duwayne Brooks: Yeah the regulations say the Superintendent has the authority to grant exemptions. So I was lucky enough to work with enough superintendents where I was their designated representative and they delegated that authority to the division director. Like I said, we never had to take it to the Superintendent’s level. We always resolved it.

Constantine Baranoff: Yeah that’s, that’s sort of (inaudible)

Liz Grassi: So with exemptions, this is Liz from Strategic Growth Council, are you able to do a class of exemptions? So like solar comes up, you can exempt everybody who is doing this type of a project?

Duwayne Brooks: Connie would come in with a plan for a series of schools and certain components in there would get exemptions from Title 5 and that would apply to that specification that he would use building three, four, five different elementary schools.

Liz Grassi: So then if Riverside wanted to do the same thing, would they have to do the same process? Or would the exemptions be there so they could just…

Duwayne Brooks: I mean I would have to defer that to current keepers of the keys there.

Fred Yeager: I would say that the district would have to document that the Elk Grove is different than Riverside.

Juan Mireles: Well the resources that we have just for you guys to review in terms of the regs and the principles and prior reports that we’ve had, we do plan on putting this presentation online. So you’ll have the webinar and all the information available online, as well.

Derek Labrecque: I had a comment to share. Derek Labrecque, with JK Architecture, also representing the formerly CEFPI, now known as the Association for Learning Environments. I am our chapter president for Northern California and Nevada, so excited to be here. Just coming back from Philadelphia, so pretty inspired about education right now. Kind of reflecting upon the notion that we’re all here essentially to help students and teachers get back to learning. And I think one thing that may be helpful in this conversation to really keep our focus moving forward, is the notion that when comments are shared, and I’ve identified some field studies because it’s one thing as professionals to think we know what really needs to be put into the regs, and I think that notion of the politics will get in the way if we identify some of those examples that we’re seeing in some of these repeating challenges. It could provide others with the ability to actually go and talk to those state folks, talk to those teachers, talk to those students and essentially help to bring validity to some of those regulatory challenges that we’re facing; really form a school site perspective. I suggest those comments and school site examples be local, national, international, public, charter. I think throughout the entire state, the forefront of education which California is, I think we can kind of continue to look everywhere.

Juan Mireles: Thank you. Any other comments? No questions from our friends online? Okay. Alright, well if there are no more comments or questions, we are done with our part of the presentation. Like I said, you have the e-mail address. Actually, go ahead and go back to the other slide, please.


Juan Mireles: Submit your comments to that e-mail address. We’ll be accepting them for the next couple of months and we will provide a deadline in the near future. So with that, I thank you all for being here and thank you all for being online who participated. We’ll be having more of these. We look forward to working with you and improving Title 5. Thank you.

Webinar ends.

Questions:   Title 5 Team | | 916-322-2470
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 24, 2023