School district business is our expertise. With more than 30 attorneys dedicated to advising public agencies on the complex array of issues encountered while conducting their operations, Lozano Smith is prepared to share our knowledge gained in preparing thousands of contracts and helping school districts build hundreds of facilities. The business of schools is vast - from daily vendor contracts, to budgeting and revenue generation, our attorneys routinely advise on and advocate for school districts. Equally, Lozano Smith provides counsel and support on all aspects of real property and facilities issues. When a novel issue presents itself, we work closely with our clients to develop creative, efficient and effective solutions. And, if a contract is challenged or a construction project goes awry, our litigation team has a proven track record of success.

Lozano Smith Facilities and Business Practice Group specializes in:

Business

  • Budgeting Issues, Funding Disputes & Audit Appeals
  • Procurement of Supplies and Services
  • Contract Development and Review
  • Energy Issues
  • Public Finance including Bond Counsel Services
  • Technology Procurement and Contracting

Facilities

  • Bidding, Bid Challenges and Alternative Project Delivery
  • Selecting and Contracting with Construction Professionals
  • Construction Contract Development and Administration
  • Prevailing Wage and Project Labor Agreements
  • Construction Advice & Litigation
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Compliance
  • Developer Fees and School Facilities Mitigation
  • Prop. 39 Procurement and Contracting
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • State Funding and the School Facilities Program
  • Joint Facilities Use

Real Property

  • Land Acquisition - Purchase and Exchange
  • Due Diligence Issues including CDE Approval and Resolution of Title Exceptions
  • Eminent Domain
  • Land Use and Zoning Issues
  • Leases, Easements and Other Property Interests
  • Charter School Facilities and Prop. 39 Offers
  • Surplus Property Disposition
Angad  Singh Associate
Walnut Creek asingh@lozanosmith.com
Aysha  Pal Associate
Walnut Creek apal@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Jennifer P. Thompson Senior Counsel
San Luis Obispo jthompson@lozanosmith.com
Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield jbehrens@lozanosmith.com
Junaid  Halani Senior Counsel
Fresno, Monterey mlerner@lozanosmith.com
Los Angeles, San Diego tsims@lozanosmith.com

AB 413: New Parking Restrictions Near Intersections

By:Mary Lerner, Rebecca Wilson -

May 2024Number 23Assembly Bill (AB) 413, effective January 1, 2024, restricts vehicles from parking, stopping, or standing within 20 feet of an intersection or 15 feet of a curb extension at an intersection. Full enforcement of this law begins January 1, 2025.BackgroundPrevious California law did not restrict vehicles from parking, stopping, or standing near an intersection. The Legislature enacted AB 413 to further its goal of zero traffic fatalities. According to the bill’s author, Ca...

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Legislatively-Adopted Development Impact Fees Must be Related and Proportional to Development Impacts

By:Harold Freiman, Scott Cross, Jennifer Thompson -

May 2024Number 20In its recent holding in Sheetz v. County of El Dorado (2024) __ S.Ct. __ [2024 WL 1588707], the United States Supreme Court held that legislatively-adopted development impact fees are subject to constitutional scrutiny under the Takings Clause.As a condition of receiving a residential building permit, George Sheetz was required by the County of El Dorado (County) to pay a $23,420.00 traffic impact fee. The fee amount was assessed according to a fee schedule adopted by the bo...

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Legislative Updates: SB 69, SB 149, & AB 356

By:Anne Collins -

March 2024Number 15The California Legislature recently enacted a series of updates to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Outlined below are three significant pieces of legislation: Senate Bill (SB) 69, SB 149, and Assembly Bill (AB) 356.SB 69Effective January 1, 2024, SB 69 amended Section 21152 of the Public Resources Code, providing that all environmental notices (i.e., notices of determination (NODs) and notices of exemption (NOEs) for projects that are filed with a county cl...

Progressive Design-Build Authority Has Been Expanded for Local Public Agencies

By:Arne Sandberg, Amanda Savage -

February 2024Number 11The start to 2024 brings with it some exciting changes regarding the accessibility of the progressive design-build (PDB) construction delivery method to California cities, counties, special districts, and transit districts. Before last year, there was ambiguity in the law as to whether PDB was available to local public entities for public works projects. Effective January 1, 2023, the Legislature allowed K-12 school districts to use PDB for any project over $5 million, a...

SB 531 Amends Fingerprinting Requirements for Student Work Experience Contracts

By:Arne Sandberg, Andrea Olivarez -

February 2024Number 12With Senate Bill (SB) 531, the California Legislature amended Education Code section 45125.1 to provide an exemption from criminal background check requirements when, subject to specific conditions, an entity contracts with a school district, county office of education, or charter school (LEAs) to provide student work experience opportunities.BackgroundEducation Code section 45125.1 requires a valid criminal records summary if an employee of any entity that has a contrac...

New Bill Addresses Independent Contractor Conflicts of Interest and Provides Safe Harbor

By:Harold Freiman, Kelly Bedell -

February 2024Number 10Assembly Bill (AB) 334, which became effective on January 1, 2024, clarifies conflict of interest rules for independent contractors, particularly in relation to projects that have multiple phases.BackgroundGovernment Code section 1090 (Section 1090) generally prohibits public officials and employees from having personal financial interest in contracts made in their official capacities and imposes severe penalties for violations, including voiding of contracts, civil pena...

State Allocation Board Approves Increase to Level 1 Developer Fees

By:Harold Freiman, Angad Singh -

January 2024 Number 6 The State Allocation Board (SAB) has approved a 7.84% increase for the "Level 1" developer fees that school districts are authorized to collect. School districts are now authorized to collect up to $5.17 per square foot of residential development and $0.84 per square foot of commercial development. The increase takes effect immediately and may now be implemented by school districts through local action. Government Code section 65995 authorizes the SAB to adopt a L...

Representative Cases

Lozano Smith was part of the team representing Los Angeles Unified School District in Williams v. State of California, a massive statewide class action involving alleged conditions in public schools including alleged inequalities in school facilities, instructional materials and teachers, particularly at underperforming schools that were already the subject of various state and federal categorical programs.
Clovis Unified School District v. Chiang (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 794. Assisted eleven school districts with invalidating audits of several state mandated cost reimbursement claims worth more than $30 million, based upon the use of invalid, underground auditing documentation rule by the State Controller’s Office. The firm was later able to receive an award of $240,000 from the superior court for fees and costs incurred in the litigation efforts, largely offsetting the school districts’ legal costs in the case.
Oak Grove Elementary School District v. George W. Putris, as Tax Collector for the County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 114CV261473. Represented the District in a complex matter related to a parcel tax authorized by the District's Board and approved by voters in 1991. The District returned to the voters every four years to re-obtain approval to increase the appropriations limit to spend tax revenues, but uncertainty loomed in 2014 regarding whether the District still had authority to collect taxes in 2014 after not needing to increase the annual appropriations limit that same year. The County Tax Collector was unclear whether it still had the authority to collect the taxes, therefore leading to Lozano Smith filing a lawsuit on behalf of the District seeking a peremptory writ of mandate commanding the County Tax Collector to collect parcel taxes. The lawsuit resulted in a stipulated judgment issuing a peremptory writ of mandate commanding the Tax Collector to collect the parcel tax.
Morgan Hill Unified School District v. Minter & Fahy Construction Company, Inc. et al., Santa Clara County Superior Court, Case No. CV772368 (2002-2003). As part of a three week jury trial, successfully represented the school district against contractor and pipe manufacturer arising from underground fuel storage tank that leaked, and obtained judgment in excess of $2 million including interest and attorney’s fees. *Case handled by a current Lozano Smith attorney prior to their employment at Lozano Smith.
Modtech Holdings v. Pajaro Valley Unified School District. On two separate elementary school projects totaling $4 million, the District withheld substantial sums to cover damages caused the contractor. One project under the control of the contractor had a fire, with the contractor refusing to compensate the District. The other project suffered construction deficiencies in the stucco and roof. The contractor sued for improper withholding and the District cross-complained for additional damages, resulting in a $1 million dispute. After discovery and expert investigation revealed additional claims for the District, the case resolved very favorably for the District a few months short of trial.
R. Baker, Inc. v. Coast Unified School District. A school district was subject to multi-million dollar design, delay and defect claims related to construction of a new elementary school located in the Coastal Zone. The project also suffered from an inadequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), thus causing the school district to be fined in excess of $300,000. The litigation settled favorably for the District at mediation.
Mountain Cascade v. Santa Clara Valley Water District. The District entered a contract with the plaintiff to install a recycled water pipeline. As part of the original plans and specifications, the contract also called for the additional installation of fiber optic conduits. However, after award the District deleted the fiber optic work from the project since the bid on that line item was excessive. The District then added back a small portion of the fiber optic work that was within the budget. The contractor sued the District for lost profits based on the deleted work. Our attorney won summary judgment for the District based on the broad right to add and delete work, and successfully defended the decision on appeal.
Pajaro Valley USD v. Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co., et al. Due to a combination of construction and architectural roof design defects, a new district school was infected with mold throughout its buildings. Lozano Smith attorneys successfully represented the school district in recovering in excess of $3 million for remedial efforts and new construction from litigation prosecuted against the general contractor, architect, and insurer on the district insurance risk policy.
Teichert Construction v. City of Stockton, et al. During a $15 million dual grade separation project, the contractor and one of its subcontractors submitted claims of more than $3 million based on delay. Despite many issues of delay caused by utilities and railroad companies, the case settled favorably at pre-discovery mediation for under $1 million despite a significant number of delay days for which the City had to take responsibility.
Anderson Union High School District v. Shasta Secondary Home School (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 262. Lozano Smith successfully argued, in a case of first impression, that the geographic and site limitations of the Charter Schools Act (Ed. Code, § 47600 et seq.) are applicable to all charter schools, including “nonclassroom-based” programs.