Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
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Educational FacilitiesAll · Budgeting · Planning/Evaluation · Support · Training/Research/Plan Review
1. What sources of funds may a district use if it needs a new school?
PECO (new construction); CO&DS (also on PPL approved by SBE); lease-purchase (COPS) money; funds from the 2.0 mill levy; local bond referendum proceeds; one-half cent sales surtax revenue; one cent intergovernmental sales surtax revenue; and impact fees. These sources may be used provided that they are available to the school district and meet the statutory requirements for expenditure for each type of fund.
2. Generally, what sources of funding can we use without a survey recommendation?
There are six sources of funds that can be used without a survey recommendation for capital outlay purposes:
- the local capital outlay improvement fund which consists of funds that come from and are a part of the district’s basic operating budget;
- a voted bond referendum when a board decides to build something without a survey recommendation and the taxpayers approve the referendum;
- one-half cent sales surtax revenue;
- one cent local governmental surtax revenue;
- impact fees; and
- private gifts or donations.
3. Is it permissible for districts to purchase portable classrooms from 2 mill funds?
Yes. A portable is part of an educational plant that is referenced in the expenditure category lease, lease-purchase. Additionally, portables are included as projects to meet the needs identified within the educational plant survey and are referenced as a purpose for use of 2 mill funds (s. 1011.71, F.S.). Portable classrooms can be purchased, rented or leased from 2 mill funds.
4. Can a district build relocatable classrooms with 2 mill funding given that they have properly advertised the project?; and Can a district build relocatable classrooms with PECO funding given a recommendation exists in the educational plant survey?
The method of acquiring relocatable classrooms is the decision of each district school board; however, construction must comply with the Florida Building Code. The plans for the construction of the relocatable classrooms are required to be approved by the Department of Community Affairs through its manufactured building program. Construction must be accomplished by a State licensed general contractor and sub-contractors. All inspections are required to be made by State licensed inspectors. Additionally, the cost should be financially feasible to incur and should be comparable to the market price of acquiring commercially pre-manufactured classrooms. Section 1011.71 (2)(a), F.S., allows for funding construction with 2 mill funds.
5. Is there a limit on how much of the levied 2 mill funds a district can bond?
Pursuant to Section 1011.71(2)(e), F.S., the 2 mill revenues cannot be "bonded", however, up to 75% of the levied amount can be pledged for debt service on certificates of participation (COPs).
6. Can the 2 mill equivalent appropriation for university developmental research schools be used for the purpose of a lease or lease-purchase arrangement?
Pursuant to Section 1013.64(3)(c), F.S., nonbonded PECO funds may be used to lease relocatable educational facilities for up to 3 years. The 2 mill equivalent appropriation is funded from PECO bond proceeds. Based upon this, the 2 mill equivalent for developmental research schools would not be an appropriate funding source for lease or lease-purchase arrangements related to relocatable classrooms.
7. What are the approximate student stations recommended for typical growing districts that are adding schools?
Elementary – 800
Middle - 1,200
High - 2,000
8. What is the approximate construction period for educational facilities?
Rough approximations of how long it would take to construct the schools are:
- Elementary – 1 – 1 ½ years
- Middle – 1 ½ - 2 years
- High - 2 – 2 ½ years
The size of the school and length of the design phase would have an impact on the time as well.
9. When is the Cost per Student Station updated?
The information used for updating the Cost per Student Station is located at http://edr.state.fl.us/conferences/peco/station.htm The cost factor is updated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between mid-February and March of each year
10. What does PECO mean?
Public Education Capital Outlay. Funds are generated through the levy of the gross receipts tax on utilities and are used to accomplish fixed capital outlay projects of the education agencies.
11. Can PECO funds be used for debt service?
No. Pursuant to current federal tax regulations, PECO funds cannot be used to pay principal or interest on any obligations issued on behalf of a governmental unit.
12. If funds are requested to be encumbered for a project and an education agency has revised its funding program for projects, can the agency request that an encumbrance be unauthorized?
Yes, by submitting an updated OEF Form 352 requesting the amount as a negative. This is possible only if the amount transferred between projects has not been disbursed by the Office of Educational Facilities Budgeting to the agency.
13. If an agency submits an executed OEF Form 352 or OEF Form 442 via fax, is it necessary to follow up with an original copy of the relevant form?
A facsimile copy will be accepted.
14. How far in advance of executing a contract should an encumbrance authorization request be submitted?
Approximately 30 days.
15. How soon after submitting an encumbrance authorization request can a disbursement request be submitted?
Once the encumbrance authorization request is authorized, an education agency can request cash disbursements pursuant to the established cash disbursement deadlines.
16. On the OEF Form 442 for cash disbursement requests, how is the amount of the cash disbursement calculated?
Add the Expended to Date amount plus Estimated Expenditures less Interest Earned less the Disbursements to Date amount.
17. On the OEF Form 442 for cash disbursement requests, how is Cash on Hand calculated?
The Disbursements to Date amount plus Interest Earnings less Expenditures to Date.
18. When will the education agency receive the requested cash disbursement?
Lottery and PECO funds are distributed to education agencies on the 20th of each month, or on the next business day. Charter school distributions are received the fourth Thursday (the fourth Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving) of the month.
19. Who is authorized to sign an encumbrance authorization request?
Pursuant to Section 1013.31 (2), F.S., the district superintendent, community college president, or the university president can certify to the Office of Educational Facilities a project's compliance with the requirements for expenditure of capital outlay funds prior to release of funds.
20. What are the necessary procedures to follow for universities to receive funds for fixed capital outlay project appropriations that were approved by the Legislature?
Submit an encumbrance authorization request (OEF Form 352) to encumber funds and request cash monthly through the OEF Form 442 process through the Department of Education Office of Educational Facilities Budgeting.
21. For what type of projects does the Constitution of the State of Florida authorize expenditure of CO&DS funds?
Acquiring, building, construction, altering, remodeling, improving, enlarging, furnishing, equipping, maintaining, renovating, or repairing of capital outlay projects for school purposes.
22. What restrictions does the constitution place on the expenditure of CO&DS funds?
Projects must be survey recommended; funds must be spent “only in the order of priority of needs”; and expenditures must have the approval of the State Board of Education.
23. Section 2.1(5)(e)1.b of SREF states, “During any fiscal year, a board has the authority to encumber up to twenty (20) percent of its current entitlement of CO&DS funds for equipment for existing satisfactory facilities.” Does this mean that if a district receives $150,000 in CO&DS funds it can only use $30,000 for equipment? Also, do Priority A projects have to be done before Priority B projects?
Up to 20% of the CO&DS entitlement can be encumbered for equipment to make the facility operational. Priority A projects must be funded before Priority B projects.
24. To receive funding pursuant to the Classrooms for Kids Program, do projects have to appear in the educational plant survey?
Yes. Districts will certify to this when encumbrance authorization requests are submitted. Pursuant to Section 1013.735(1),F.S., the Program is to be administered in the same manner as the PECO Program.
25. When will I receive my Charter School Capital Outlay distribution?
The funds are sent to the district on the fourth Thursday of every month. Pursuant to Section 1002.33(17)(d),F.S., the district is given 10 days to distribute state or federal funds to the charter school. The Charter School Capital Outlay Plan must have been certified by the district and charter school and submitted to the Office of Educational Facilities prior to the disbursement of these funds. This Plan serves as verification that the charter school is eligible for capital outlay funding and that expenditure of these funds is permissible pursuant to Section 1013.62(2), F.S.
26. Can Classrooms for Kids funds be used for furniture and equipment costs, along with construction costs?
The funding can be used for a complete project, which would include these costs. Furniture and equipment are necessary for the project to be operational.
27. I have the same amount of students as last month, but my monthly charter school capital outlay payment decreased. Why is that?
There is a limited amount of funds available for a growing student population. As more schools come into the program, the funds available are given to more students, resulting in a less amount per student.
28. Can charter school capital outlay funds be used to purchase furniture, fixtures, and equipment for a new school?
The expenditure of charter school capital outlay funds for these purposes would be allowable since these are necessary costs incurred as part of the project cost in order to make the facility operational/useable.
29. Can I buy a bus with my charter school capital outlay?
Yes, as long as it is used for the transportation of students to and from school and meets the school transportation standards. It is best to check with your school district transportation officer to be sure prior to entering into an agreement to purchase transportation vehicles.
30. Can I buy computers with my charter school capital outlay?
It depends on the fiscal year of the allocation that you are spending. Fiscal Year 2003-04 legislation changed the type of expenditure that can be made with capital outlay funds and computers are not allowable. You can go to the charter school capital outlay web page to get more information http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/oef/chartsub.asp.
31. When is the Charter School Capital Outlay Plan due?
The Plan is due annually with a date identified by memorandum. The memorandum is published at the beginning of each fiscal year and made available on the Office’s website. No capital outlay can be released for your school until the plan is received. This form is required as verification that your school is eligible for funding.
32. When are the 5-year Workplans due?
Workplans are due by October 1 of each year.
33. Where can funding information and forms be located on the web?
http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/ under “Budgeting Section” and/or “Quick Links”.
1. Why do the Superintendent and Board Chair have to annually certify the accuracy of the district’s inventory of facilities (FISH)?
State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF) 6.1(7)(c) requires that, “Prior to April 1 of each year, each district shall review the Florida Inventory of School Houses (FISH) and shall certify to the Office that the inventory is current and accurate. Use form OEF FISH – Certification of Facilities Data.” Certification is required to ensure that all data used for analyses of need, assessments of meeting class size reduction standards, reporting requirements to the legislature and other governing bodies, and reports provided to the public are made using accurate and current facilities information.
1. When and where are the SREF courses going to be offered?
The SREF course dates and locations can be found on our website at http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/ubci.asp.Students enroll directly online at this site.
2. Are there any fees for the SREF course?
There are no fees for the course. Students are only required to cover the cost of their food, travel and lodging during the course.
3. Am I eligible to take the SREF course if I don't have a professional license (i.e., for a contractor, building inspector, architect or engineer)?
Students are not required to have a professional licensed to attend the SREF course. Unlicensed attendees will receive a certificate for having attended this course but will not be receiving continuing education hours. Licenses are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations. License information may be obtained online at: http://www.myflorida.com/dbpr/.
4. If my license already expired, can I still get credit (continuing education hours) for taking the SREF course?
In order for the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) to grant continuing education hours (CEH’s) to you, you must hold a current certification.
5. Can a student take the SREF course if they never held a professional license?
Yes. Anyone can take the SREF course and receive a certificate for attendance, however, unlicensed students will not be granted continuing education hours (CEH’s) for this course.
6. How may someone obtain a copy of SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities)?
A PDF version of SREF can be downloaded from our web site here: http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/pdf/sref-rule.pdf
7. What is the current edition of SREF?
2007 SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities) became effective February 12, 2008 and a PDF version can be downloaded at: http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/pdf/sref-rule.pdf.
8. How may I obtain copies of OEF Forms?
Forms are available online at: http://www/fldoe.org/edfacil/formsmain.asp
1. Who is the contact for mechanical issues on new construction, additions, remodeling, and renovations?
Contact: Larry Parish
2. (Mechanical) When is a life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) required?
When the total new air conditioning load exceeds three hundred sixty thousand (360,000) B per hour (30 tons). Exception: When connecting to an existing chilled water system having adequate capacity.
3. (Mechanical) Are there instructions for completing the Life Cycle Cost Data Summary Sheets?
Yes. See the PDF file: http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/pdf/lcca.pdf
4. (Mechanical) Are gas-fired water heaters considered boilers?
By definition (FBC, Building 423.5.3), any fuel-fired, heat producing appliance with a minimum input capacity of sixty thousand (60,000) BTU per hour and intended to supply hot water or steam is a boiler.
5. (Mechanical) Can gas piping be installed in or above a corridor if it is encased in a conduit or a one (1) hour rated horizontal chase?
No. This solution is still considered to be "in or above" the corridor.
6. (Mechanical) Can purveyor (city/municipal) water and sewer systems provided with emergency power be considered support systems for enhanced hurricane protection area (EHPA) toilet rooms?
Only if it can be demonstrated, and reasonably expected, that the systems can be maintained and stay operational during the storm event. This might be difficult since it would be necessary to demonstrate that all pumping stations and controls would be located in "hardened" enclosures and emergency power systems permanently installed or in place prior to the storm.
7. Who is the contact for electrical issues on new construction, additions, remodeling, and renovations?
Contact: Jim Watts
8. (Electrical) What provisions must be made available when a second party is suppling the generator for the operation of an EHPA during an emergency?
The provisions vary according to whether the generator is trailer mounted or skid mounted. The generators, in both cases, require some type of tie down system and the system is different according to which of the above type is supplied. If the supplying party cannot guarantee which type will be supplied, then it becomes necessary to prepare for both conditions. Next, it needs to be determined if the generator to be supplied is capable of meeting the wind and missile impact criteria required by the FBC. If the generator can meet the wind and missile impact criteria, then nothing else is required. If the generator cannot meet the wind and missile impact criteria, then it becomes necessary to provide a generator shelter that shall meet the criteria.
9. (Electrical) How do you determine the number of spare breakers required in a panel to meet the spare requirement of FBC 423.17.3, Spare Capacity?
First it must be understood that the number of spares is set by the number of breakers the panel is capable of holding, not the number of breakers the design requires. To give an example, the design calls for 32 circuits each of which require one 20 amp breaker. The panel of choice is capable of holding 42 single phase breakers. The number of spare breakers to meet the 20% criteria would be 8 not 6. If the total number of breakers exceeded 42, then a sub-panel or feed-thru would be required. It should be noted that the total number of spare breakers would increase by the size of the sub-panel. As a second example; the design calls for 54 circuits of which each require one 20 amp breaker. To see if a 42 breaker main panel and a 30 breaker sub-panel or feed-thru will be sufficient, we take the total number of breaker slots available, 72, and take 20% of that number. That number is 14 and is added to the total number of required circuits, 54. This gives a total of 68. Therefore, a 42 breaker main panel and a 30 breaker sub-panel or feed-thru will meet FBC 423.17.3 requirements for the 54 circuit design. All of the spares can be located in the sub-panel if desired. However, it should be noted that the sub-panel must be located in the same room as the main panel. If not, it is considered a stand-alone panel and must have its required spares available in the room were it is located.
10. (Electrical) What is the difference between an "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" and an "Emergency Disconnect" as described in FBC 423.17.4 and .5 respectively?
In general terms, they both provide the same type function. To be a little more specific, an "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" is normally associated with use in a laboratory and disconnects power to all of the receptacles in the room. It can also shut off any gas supplied to a lab. It usually performs its operation through relay control. An "Emergency Disconnect" is generally associated with heavy equipment located in a shop, i.e., an arc welder, band or table saw, bench sanders, etc. It also shuts off power to all receptacles in the shop area. Based of what is connected, the "Disconnect Switch" may be a large manual pull switch that disconnects all 220 volt and all 3 phase power equipment and trigger relays to shut down all receptacles and 110 volt equipment. One important factor is that two "Disconnect Switches" are required where only one "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" is required.
11. (Electrical) Can a Fire Alarm Annunciator Panel be installed in the EHPA Manager's Office instead of the Control Panel?
No. The FBC is very specific about the locations of the Control Panel and the Annunciator Panel. The Control Panel must be in the EHPA manger's office and the Annunciator Panel in or near the Administration area. The reasoning is very simple. With the Control Panel in the EHPA Manager's Office, the manager will always be able to tell if a problem exists anywhere in the school. If the Control Panel was located outside of the EHPA area and a problem caused the Panel to become non-responsive, the people in the EHPA would be in an unprotected area. With the Control Panel in the EHPA, a problem that causes another area or building to be non-responsive would not leave the EHPA unprotected.
12. Who is the contact for additional information on existing buildings?
Contact Jack Villagomez
13. (Existing Buildings) What is the current firesafety standard for inspection of existing public schools?
State Fire Marshal rule 69A-58, Effective Date 11/26/2006, is the current firesafety standard for inspection of existing public K-12 educational facilities.
14. (Existing Buildings) What standard is to be used for existing private schools including charter schools on private property?
Florida Fire Prevention Code and local codes.
15. (Existing Buildings) Is the school district required to perform annual inspections of all charter schools and likewise is the local fire department?
The district is not required to inspect private schools including charter schools but the fire department is required to inspect all schools including both private and public charter schools.
16. (Existing Buildings) Is there still an SREF Chapter 5 for existing schools?
Yes. The 2007 SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities) became effective February 12, 2008. SREF Chapter 5, Existing Facilities, has been revised to eliminate references to firesafety. Firesafety requirements are found in State Fire Marshal rule 69A-58 and the Florida Fire Prevention Code. SREF Chapter 5, and its incorporated codes addresses all other areas of safety including casualty safety, sanitation, and accessibility which are to be checked in the annual comprehensive inspections.
17. (Existing Buildings) What is the correct form for districts to use for annual safety inspections?
There is no official OEF-207 form for comprehensive annual inspections. Districts are free to devise their own form so long as the current 2007 SREF Chapter 5 references are utilized. For firesafety inspections Rule 69A-58.004(5) specifies what the firesafety inspection report shall contain, at a minimum. All firesafety reports are to be submitted electronically to the SFM utilizing the official SFM-Violation Master List. The list identifies common violations by assigning each violation a specific number and generic title. For instance Violation Master List Number 21 is named “BLOCKED/LOCKED EXITS”. Reports should clarify descriptions for the particular violation by referencing the building number, room number and a more detailed violation description such as: Building 3, Room 100, “Remove deadbolt at corridor exit door”. Other questions regarding firesafety inspection reports should be addressed to State Fire Marshal at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/sfm/.
18. (Existing Buildings) Are two annual firesafety inspections required?
Yes. Per Chapter 1013 F.S. and Rule 69A-58, the local fire department, municipal, county, or special district, must perform an inspection of each public school within its jurisdiction. The district must also perform an annual comprehensive safety inspection that includes firesafety for each facility. The 2 firesafety inspections may, however, be a joint inspection.
19. What is the current edition of SREF?
2007 SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities) became effective February 12, 2008 and a PDF version can be downloaded at: http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/pdf/sref-rule.pdf.
20. Who is the contact for additional information on environmental issues?
Contact: Darrell Phillips
21. (Environmental) Can DOE provide technical assistance with environmental concerns?
Yes, the Department of Education can provide technical assistance on environmental concerns at no cost to local educational agencies. Much of the technical assistance consist of reviewing consultant’s report.
22. (Environmental) Do charter schools have to comply with federal asbestos laws?
Yes, every K-12 public, private and charter school is required to ensure that its building is properly inspected every three years and that an Asbestos Management Plan is available at each individual school. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is stepping up enforcement of charter schools, so ensure that your school is in compliance by reviewing the requirements at http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html
23. (Environmental) What information must be on chemical containers stored at schools?
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all stored containers of hazardous chemicals must be labeled with the name of the product, appropriate hazard warnings, and the name and address of the chemical manufacturer. All chemicals should be supplied with that information from the manufacturer; however, spray bottles and products mixed onsite need to be properly labeled as well. The material safety data sheet can be obtained for each product.
24. (Environmental) Does DOE have a recommendation on the thermostat setting for classrooms?
Yes. The American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that temperatures be kept from 73.0°- 78.5°F in the cooling season, and 67.5°- 74.0°F in the heating season (i.e., winter). ASHRAE's recommendations are based on comfort. A concern during the cooling season is cooling the classroom air below the dew point of the air outside. Condensation and mold growth can result. Heat is our friend with regard to keeping buildings dry and preventing mold, so we recommend trying to bear temperatures of 76.0°- 78.5°F in the cooling season.
25. (Environmental) What is DOE's opinion of pets in a classroom?
Pets can provide wonderful and fun educational opportunities, but every classroom has children with allergies and asthma. Pet dander could trigger a life-threatening asthma attack. Diseases such as salmonella have been linked to some pets such as turtles. The Florida Department of Health performs inspections to ensure that pet cages are kept in a sanitary condition. We recommend that each school district adopt its own policy for pets in classrooms. The most prudent policy would be to introduce the pet for its educational purpose and when it is no longer used for educational purposes, it should be removed from the classroom.
26. Who is the contact for additional information on maintenance and operations issues?
Contact: Annabelle Wright
27. (Maintenance and Operations) Where can I obtain a copy of the Utility and Maintenance and Operations Reports?
The reports may be found at:
M&O report FY 2006-2007:
Utility Costs 2006-2007:
28. (Maintenance and Operations) Are school districts and community colleges subject to OSHA requirements?
Yes, see the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF), 2007 edition, Section1.1(a), which adopts Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), U. S. Department of Labor, 29 CFR as revised July 1, 2005 for district employees.
29. (Maintenance and Operations) Is training required by OSHA standards available?
Yes, the Office of Educational Facilities provides training at no cost to the school districts and community colleges. A list of available training topics can be accessed at: http://www.fldoe.org/doe/edfacil/eftatran.htm
30. (Maintenance and Operations) Where can I find an overview of OSHA training requirements and standards?
OSHA publication Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines available online at: http://www.osha.gov/Publications/2254.html
31. (Maintenance and Operations) Is custodial training available from the Office of Educational Facilities?
No, custodial training is provided by the Florida School Plant Management Association (http://www.fspma.com/).