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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
Legislature Launches Pilot Program Allowing CMAS Contracts for Installation of Certain Materials SB 1422
July 2023Number 26Senate Bill (SB) 1422, signed by the Governor in September 2022, permits State and local agencies, including school districts and community college districts, to use State-approved California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS) contracts for the installation, or purchase and installation, of resilient flooring, carpet, lighting fixtures, and synthetic turfs, which have limitations that are different from standard CMAS contracts.BackgroundExisting law allows local agencies to use ...
Legislative Update: New Requirements for COVID-19 Testing Plans and New Rules for Supplemental Vision Services for Students
March 2023Number 13Two important bills, Senate Bill (SB) 1479 and Assembly Bill (AB) 2329, signed by Governor Newsom in September 2022, require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to have a plan for COVID-19 testing in schools and authorize local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide supplemental vision services for students, in addition to those already required by law.SB 1479: COVID-19 Testing Plan Requirements SB 1479 added section 32096 to the Education Cod...
February 2023Number 9Senate Bill (SB) 997 requires that, by July 1, 2024, all school districts and county offices of education serving students in middle or high school include students in the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) update process.BackgroundThe Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) refers broadly to the methods that primarily determine the level of funding California school districts receive from the State. As a component of the LCFF system, local educational agenci...
December 2022Number 61According to the California Department of Education Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services, pursuant to Public Contract Code section 20111(a), the bid threshold for K-12 school district purchases of equipment, materials, supplies, and services (except construction services) has been adjusted to $109,300, effective January 1, 2023. The notice may be viewed here.The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is expected to announce a...
December 2022Number 60School districts could face higher food costs and more paperwork under a bill set to take effect on January 1, 2024.Senate Bill (SB) 490 will require school districts that receive federal meal reimbursements of one million dollars or more to buy all of their agricultural products from domestic sources unless certain exceptions apply. The law will also require school districts to include new language in their food purchase bid and contract solicitations regarding th...
Legislature Addresses Affordable Workforce Housing on School District and County Office of Education Property
November 2022Number 53On September 28, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2295, which allows a school district or county office of education (local educational agency or LEA) that meets certain criteria to utilize its surplus property to provide affordable housing to its employees. AB 2295 seeks to streamline the process for an LEA to utilize its surplus property for workforce housing without having to go through cumbersome zoning and surplus property processes. ...
October 2022Number 47Governor Newsom recently signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 2188, which prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and current employees for cannabis use off the job and away from the workplace beginning January 1, 2024.Under existing law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act provides all persons the right and opportunity to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin,...
|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.|