Community Funded Facilities Projects

ACPS school buildings
  • ACPS appreciates the willingness of businesses, groups, organizations and other entities and persons in our community to contribute some or all of the funding, goods, services, and the like to various capital projects. The basic process for every community funded project is the same, although each project may have subtle differences. As a public entity, ACPS has significant public policy considerations including compliance with all requirements under Virginia Law and the Virginia Public Procurement Act (VPPA).

    To begin the process, please read the following:

    1. Processes and Protocols for Community Funded Facilities Projects: This contains an outline of the process and a list of frequently asked questions to guide potential community partners through the process of initiating a community funded project for the benefit of ACPS and its students.
    2. ACPS Policy FB: Facilities Planning and Community Funded Facilities Projects (PDF) and FB-R: Regulations for Community Funded Capital Projects (PDF)
    3. After reading through step 1 and 2, please fill out the  Community Funded Facilities Project Questionnaire.

    If you have questions, contact:

    Anthony Kurt Huffman
    Director
    Office of School, Business and Community Partnerships
    kurt.huffman@acps.k12.va.us
    703-619-8307


     

    Processes and Protocols for Community Funded Facilities Projects

    What constitutes a community funded facilities project?

    A community funded facilities project is any project that is proposed to enhance school facilities and is at least partially funded by the community. This can be broken down into three types of projects:

    • A project exceeding $10,000 in costs that requires inclusion in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
    • A project with an estimated cost of less than $10,000 that may require inclusion into an Operating Budget
    • A project with an estimated cost of less than $10,000 that is classified as a minor beautification project

    Does my project need to be included in the Capital Improvement Program?

    A Capital Improvement Program project, as defined by ACPS, is a new construction, expansion, renovation, or replacement project for an existing facility or facilities that adds $10,000 or more to an existing asset or extends its life. Project costs can include the cost of land, construction, engineering, architectural planning and other services needed to complete the project. The CIP includes projects such as playground improvements, landscaping, the installation of elevators, roofing replacements and provisions for long term maintenance of these projects.

    If the project has been previously recommended by ACPS staff, it may be already part of the ACPS 10-year plan. However, if it is a new idea, it will need to be assessed by ACPS staff before it is included in the CIP. See a list of those approved CIP programs.

    The CIP prioritizes ACPS projects over a 10-year period and ensures that all projects are in line with the needs of the school division and have sufficient funding to both implement and maintain the project.

    What happens if my project is less than $10,000?

    If the total cost of the project, including contract services, is less than $10,000, then it is an item that does not need to be included in the CIP budget. However, the project is still subject to the approval of ACPS and the Alexandria City School Board and has to comply with requirements for proposing community funded facilities projects.

    Are minor beautification projects required to comply with the process and protocols outlined here?

    Minor beautification projects are exempt from the process outlined in these protocols. They only need the approval of the principal in order to be implemented at a school or on school grounds. Minor beautification projects include anything that does not alter the fabric of the building or constitute a major change to the building. Beautification projects are projects that present no liability to the school or ACPS. These include, but are not limited to:

    • Plantings
    • Creation of vegetable gardens
    • Addition of interior furniture
    • Cleaning or sorting out a specific area
    • Mowing a courtyard that is not covered by the City/Schools mowing contract

    Beautification projects DO NOT include painting. Painting projects need to be approved by both the principal and the ACPS Chief Operating Officer prior to execution.

    How do I go about getting ACPS to support my project?

    All community funded projects that are part of ACPS have to go through an assessment and procurement process. All projects over $10,000 and projects that are only partially funded will have to go through the Alexandria City School Board before they can be implemented. Ultimately, the School Board can decide which projects it wishes to implement.

    What are the criteria to get a project/idea considered?

    Prior to consideration by the School Board, ACPS staff will review the suitability of the idea or project using the criteria below:

    • Does the staff have the capacity to engage in the work required?
    • Can the project be maintained in the future? Is there long-term commitment to the project?
    • Is the project aligned with the ACPS Strategic Plan?
    • Does the project fit capital commitments reflected in the ACPS CIP?
    • Does the project follow Virginia State guidelines?
    • Does the project comply with Alexandria City code?
    • Is the project budget a realistic assessment of the actual costs that will be incurred?

    Ready with an idea or offer of funding? Follow these steps to begin the process:

    1. Read completely through this information, as well as ACPS Policy FB: Facilities Planning and Community Funded Facilities Projects (PDF) and related ACPS Regulation FB-R (PDF).
    2. Discuss the suitability of the project idea with the principal of the school. If it is division wide, please discuss with the Director of School, Business and Community Partnerships.
    3. After meeting with ACPS, you may be asked to complete the Community Funded Facilities Project Questionnaire.

    Your submitted information will help support possible actions and steps moving forward.

    The questionnaire covers the following items:

    • A description of the purpose, nature, scope of work and relevant history of the project.
    • Information about the entities involved and their respective roles.
    • A description of reasonably foreseeable impacts on the community.
    • Details of schedule durations and timing for performance and completion.
    • Details of anticipated cost, funding requirements, contributions from providers and on expected contributions or costs to be borne by ACPS or any other person or entity.
    • Technical details about the project, to the extent that they exist, including estimates, design, specifications, test results, assessments, plans, functionality, service/maintenance requirements, life expectancy and other information that ACPS would need to make a fully informed technical decision.
    • Details of factors most critical for success.
    • Other information ACPS would reasonably be expected to want in deciding whether or not to authorize and proceed with the proposed community funded facilities project.

    What happens next?

    The ACPS Facilities Department will review all of the proposed projects. This review shall include:

    • Eligibility of the project for funding from the State, City or other sources.
    • Compliance with safety, security, school operations and regulatory policies and standards.
    • Impact on risk management.
    • An assessment as to whether there is enough information to allow for a preliminary review or permit submission with the Alexandria City Department of Code Administration.
    • Consistency of compliance with expected standards followed for other ACPS projects of similar scope.
    • Impact on the maintenance budget for preventive maintenance.
    • Validation of cost estimates to confirm the budget authority required for ACPS to move forward with the project.
    • Cost estimates must include a mandatory 10% contingency line item.
    • Impact of the project on the implementation of city supported programs.
    • Impact on students and the community.
    • Impact on student enrollment capacity at the school.
    • An assessment as to whether the project complies with all applicable codes, statues, and regulations relating to the project scope, including building codes, health and safety codes, permit requirements, and licensing requirements for doing business in the Commonwealth and City of Alexandria.

    The ACPS Chief Technology Officer will also review the proposal for:

    • Compatibility with technology systems and may reject any project if the technology being supplied does not meet network protocols or instructional technology standards, or if there is limited personnel capacity to support the desired technology.

    The ACPS Chief Financial Officer will also review the proposal to:

    • Determine the availability of the proposed funding and may reject any project because of inadequate funding.
    • Forward all agreements and documents to legal counsel for evaluation and review for legal sufficiency. The documentation shall include the scope of work, funding mechanism, contract (s), and assurance for indemnification of the School Board and any ACPS officers.

    If I have the full funding for my project, will it definitely get accepted?

    Funding in itself is not a guarantee that the project will be accepted for implementation. All projects have to be weighed against other on-going or prospective projects. ACPS also needs to consider maintenance costs going forward and the impact of the project on ACPS staff or the school.

    How long will it take to get approval from the School Board for my project?

    There is a window each year in which all projects that are required to be part of the CIP or Operating Budget get vetted against all other items/projects up for consideration. Projects submitted by the end of June may be evaluated for consideration in the next budget cycle. This is dependent on the scale and scope of the project. It could potentially be one to two years before a project is added to the ACPS Operating Budget for approval. It is up to the Alexandria City School Board to decide whether to approve projects included in the CIP or Operating Budget.

    Am I responsible for additional costs if the nature of the project changes?

    ACPS is entitled to make changes to the project. However, the community partner is not responsible for any increased costs or time associated with changes, provided that ACPS put forward the changes.

    What are the requirements for the project to get School Board approval?

    Usually, the project has two requirements before it can be submitted by the Superintendent to the School Board for approval:

    • Completion of a comprehensive project plan
    • A detailed budget plan

    There may be further requirements set by ACPS staff before the project is submitted to the School Board. Submission to the School Board is not a guarantee of approval.

    Do I need to be a business or organization in good standing?

    All businesses and organizations that work with ACPS have to be in good standing and follow criteria set out by the ACPS Procurement Office and the State Corporate Commission.

    ACPS has to be able to identify the source of funding and will require a list of the names of all donors and the amounts donated. ACPS also has to be able to account for how the money was raised.

    Are individuals allowed to enter into agreements with ACPS?

    ACPS strongly encourages individuals to partner with PTAs or other non-profit organizations in the school community. However, if they wish to donate funds as individuals, they must follow ACPS Policy KH - Public Gifts to the Schools (PDF) and KH-R - Regulations for Public Donations to the Schools (PDF).

    Who manages the project once it has been approved?

    Once approved as a CIP project, ACPS manages the process for the implementation of the project.

    Who manages the money for a project once the project has been approved?

    ACPS will manage the money for the project once the partnership agreement has been executed, under a Memorandum of Understanding. All funds raised for the project by the community partner have to be submitted to ACPS in full before the procurement process for a project can start. Contributions become the property of ACPS and will be considered the funding first used for the project. All funds contributed to ACPS for this project must be unrestricted, free and clear of any constraints. ACPS will retain any funds that remain if the project is completed under budget. All contributions should come in the form of a single check made payable to Alexandria City Public Schools.

    How soon after approval can work start on the project?

    ACPS requires that all funds for the entire scope of the project are received and a partnership agreement is executed prior to the initiation of the procurement process. The time frame for each project will vary depending on completion of the procurement process.

    What happens if the cost of the project exceeds available funding?

    It is possible to reduce the scope of the project prior to starting the procurement process. This reduced scope then becomes the project.

    ACPS will not begin the procurement for a project until all funds are available for the entire project. Once the bid has been issued, no further changes to the scope or budget are permitted. ACPS will not fund part of a project in lieu of the funders eventually raising the rest of the required funds.

    Can I accept offers from contractors to do the work at a discount?

    ACPS is not permitted to use contractors without going through a competitive solicitation process. All awards for the work shall be done through the ACPS procurement process.

    Can I accept grants?

    Grant funding will not be accepted, unless the grantor awards all funds directly to ACPS. ACPS reserves the right to reject the offer of any grant funding.

    When will the project be complete?

    ACPS will work with the community partners to provide a timeline that will be a guideline for completion of the work. Timelines will vary depending on the scope and complexity of the project.

    Who owns the project once it is complete?

    ACPS.

    Can the completed project be named for the vendor?

    The naming of any project in recognition of a donor and/or in tribute to a person or organization has to be approved by the Alexandria City School Board, in accordance with School Board Policy FF. This also includes any recognition of donors for items such as plaques, dedication bricks, written programs, etc.

    What kind of promotion will the project get in the media?

    ACPS Office of Communications reserves the right to promote the project in local media, national media and on social media throughout the process and upon completion. ACPS has complete discretion as to how projects are promoted across all media outlets.

    Outline of Steps:

    1. Potential community partner requests a Community Funded Projects Information Packet and fills out the form regarding project
    2. Potential community partner submits the proposal to the school principal or to the Office of School, Business and Community Partnerships.
    3. ACPS staff reviews the project
    4. Staff designee contacts the community partner representative with a decision regarding sensibility of project and next steps if the project moves
    5. ACPS and community partner establishes requirements needed to proceed with School Board
    6. Potential community partner decides with ACPS facilities staff when to add the project to the
    7. Superintendent presents his/her recommendation to the School
    8. Partner transfers all funding for the project into ACPS
    9. Partner completes a partnership agreement with
    10. ACPS bids the project
    11. ACPS manages, leads and oversees the project through completion