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(a) The board shall not authorize the selection of any schoolsite, or a contract for the construction of any new school building, or for any addition to, or alteration of, any existing building, for lease-purchase to any school district, unless the applicant district has obtained the written approval of the State Department of Education that the site selection, and the building plans and specifications, comply with the standards adopted by the department pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c), respectively, of Section 17251.

(b) A self-certifying district shall comply with subdivision (a) by certifying to the State Department of Education and the board that the site selection, and the building plans and specifications, comply with the standards adopted by the department pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c), respectively, of Section 17251. The self-certifying district shall maintain documentation of the determinations made pursuant to this subdivision as required by the board. Those determinations shall be subject to subsequent audit by the State Department of Education in accordance with this section.

(c) The State Department of Education shall conduct random audits of the information certified by self-certifying districts pursuant to subdivision (b), using generally accepted auditing principles, at any time to ensure compliance with the law.

(d) If any information certified by a self-certifying district pursuant to subdivision (b) is found by the department to contain any material inaccuracy, the department shall so notify the board. The board shall thereupon impose both of the following penalties:

(1) Pursuant to a repayment schedule approved by the board of no more than five years, the district shall repay to the board, for deposit in the State School Building Lease-Purchase Fund, an amount equal to the amount of project funding allocated under this chapter to acquire any site that was selected in material violation of the standards adopted by the department pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 17251, together with interest at the rate paid on moneys in the Pooled Money Investment Account or at the highest rate of interest for the most recent issue of state general obligation bonds as established pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 16720) of Part 3 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code, whichever is greater. The amount of any repayment owing under this paragraph for any fiscal year, which is not repaid otherwise by the district, shall be withheld by the board from any project funding that otherwise would be allocated to that district under this chapter in that fiscal year. As to any repayment obligation remaining for that fiscal year, the board shall notify the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who shall withhold the amount of that remaining obligation from the apportionments to be made to the district from the State School Fund in that fiscal year.

(2) The board shall prohibit the district from exercising the self-certifying authority under subdivision (b) under any subsequent applications for project funding for a period of up to five years following the date of the finding of a material inaccuracy, or until the district's repayment of the entire amount owing under paragraph (1), whichever occurs later.

(e) Any school district against which the board imposed the penalties under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (d) may submit for binding determination by an arbitrator the issue of whether the penalties imposed are disproportionate to the inaccuracy certified by the district. Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the procedure governing the arbitration shall be as set forth in Title 9 (commencing with Section 1280) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that audits as described in this section not interfere with the application and construction process under this chapter unless one or more violations are discovered.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 277, Sec. 2. Operative January 1, 1998.)

Reference:

Education Code 17251

Government Code 16720