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Winter 2012 Education Data News

Education Data News for California School Districts Issue 11 for Winter 2012.
Newsletter Highlights

Budget Explorer Makes Financial Forecasting Manageable

By Andy Prestage, Management Analyst , FCMAT

Created by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), Budget Explorer (BE) is a Web-based forecasting and cash flow application for K-12 local education entities. Because it is Web-based, BE can be accessed from any location that has an Internet connection. The application and associated user data are stored together, meaning that all you need is a computer with an Internet connection to accurately forecast district or county office revenues and expenditures.

Located online at the Budget Explorer Web site [] External link opens in new window or tab., BE was designed with ease-of-use and user-friendliness in mind. Major capabilities of BE include:

Budget Explorer has become an indispensable tool for district and county office fiscal staff who need better tools to monitor tight budgets and to ensure that cash will be available as needed. Budget Explorer is currently available free of charge to over 1,200 users. For more information about Budget Explorer or to request a user account, please go to the Budget Explorer Web page [$1254] External link opens in new window or tab..

Data Ethics Training

By Stephanie Jennings, Analyst, CDE

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has developed an online data ethics training course that teaches data users what data ethics is, why it is important, and its significance to organizations. While laws set the legal parameters that govern data use, ethics establish the fundamental principles of "right and wrong" that are critical to the appropriate management and use of education data in the technology age. This online course is based on The Forum Guide to Data Ethics and is focused on how ethical principles apply to education data. It is intended for any person who handles data in an education organization, including superintendents, chief information officers, principals, teachers, registrars, counselors, school board members, data managers, technology directors, information systems staff, data stewards, technical staff, office staff, paraprofessionals, volunteers, and vendors. While there is no requirement to follow these principles, the Forum hopes that the contents will prove a useful reference to data handlers and education leaders.

To ensure awareness of the course, NCES has developed this training resource at no cost to the participants. The course takes about 1-2 hours to complete. At the end of the course there is a final assessment, where users can test their knowledge about the rights and wrongs of data ethics. Users will receive a certificate within 2 weeks after completing the course and passing the assessment. We encourage you to consider incorporating this into your professional development program.

Any questions may be sent to:
This course can be found at The Forum Guide to Data Ethics Online Course Web page [] External link opens in new window or tab..

MIS Conference

By Sonya Edwards, Education Administrator, CDE

The California Department of Education (CDE) is co-hosting the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Management Information System (MIS) Conference February 15-17, 2012 in San Diego, California. The conference covers topics ranging from using data to improve education, to national data standards, to statewide longitudinal data systems, and so on. The conference is attended by representatives from local and state education agencies from nearly all states. More information about the conference is available at NCES Winter Forum and Management Information Systems (MIS) Conference Web page [] External link opens in new window or tab..

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Consolidated Application Reporting System

By Sonya Edwards, Education Administrator, CDE

In January, 2012, the California Department of Education (CDE) will be releasing the new on-line Consolidated Application and Reporting System (CARS). The CARS is an online data collection system for LEAs to apply for Categorical Program Funding. It
will replace the current desktop ConApp Data Systems (CADS). As with the launch of any statewide system, there may be some bumps in the road; however, many districts and direct funded charters are eager for this new system to roll off the assembly line.

The CDE is currently setting up user accounts for the person that the district superintendent has designated as the CARS LEA Administrator for their district. The CARS Winter release will take the place of what used to be collected in ConApp Part II, and there will not be a release titled “ConApp Part II” for 2011-12. The CARS Winter release will not contain any new data collections or what was previous referred to as “a page.” There are also no significant changes, no new data items, to any of the individual data collections. For a complete list of the data collections included in the Winter release refer to our the CARS Web site. See the Consolidated Application and Reporting System Web page [] for more information about this system. If you have any questions about this system, feel free to contact the ConApp Support Desk at, or by calling 916-319-0297.

Major CDE Data Collections

By Paula Mishima, Special Projects Administrator, CDE

With the implementation of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), the CDE is transitioning to source many state and federal reporting requirements from CALPADS. Concurrently, the CDE is updating and modifying other CDE data collections which were the source of some of these data in the past, to collect only those data not in CALPADS. The tables below summarize three major CDE collections.

Table 1

CALPADS Collection
Primary Data Collected Collection
Fall 1 Oct 5, 2011
  • 2011-12 Enrollment
  • 2010-11 Grads & Dropouts
Oct 5, 2011 –
Feb 22, 2012
Dec 14, 2011
Fall 2 Oct 5, 2011
  • Staff assignments
  • Student course enrollments
  • English Learner services
  • Highly Qualified Teacher
Oct 5, 2011 –
Feb 29, 2012
Jan 18, 2012
Spring 1 Mar 1, 2012
  • Immigrant Counts
  • English Language Acquisition Status
Mar 1, 2012 –
April 18 2012
Mar 28, 2012
End of Year n/a
  • Course Completion
  • Program Participation
  • Discipline
  • Student Waivers
May 14, 2012 –
Aug 18, 2012
July 18, 2012

Table 2

CBEDS-ORA Collection
Primary Data Collected Collection Window First
CBEDS-ORA Oct 5, 2011
  • County District Information Form (CDIF): counts
    of classified staff, estimated teacher hires, graduation
  • School Information Form (SIF): counts of classified
    staff, select educational options enrollment, technology,
    education calendars, parental exception waivers,
    bilingual paraprofessionals
  • Update Coordinator contact information
  • Update List of Expected Schools
Oct 5, 2011 –
Jan 13, 2012
Oct 28, 2011

Table 3

CARS Collection
Primary Data Collected Collection
ConApp Part

The Winter release will usually occur in December. It contains the district entitlements for each funded program. Out of each state and federal program entitlement, the system collects data related to how districts will reserve and/or allocate funds. It also includes mid-year activity reporting and year-to-date expenditure reporting. See the CARS Data Collection Release Schedule Web page [] for a list of the data collections in this release window.

Feb 2012 5-6 weeks after
Part I)

The Spring release occurs in May. It collects the LEAs’ new fiscal participation data in categorical programs and provides assurances that the LEA will comply with the legal requirements of each program in the coming fiscal year. It also collects end-of-year activity reporting and year-to-date expenditure reporting. See the CARS Data Collection Release Schedule Web page [] for a list of the data collections in this release window.

May 1 –
June 30
June 30, 2012
CARS Fall n/a

The Fall release occurs in October. It collects year-to-date expenditure reports for Title II and Title III. See the CARS Data Collection Release Schedule Web page [] for a list of the data collections in this release window.

Sept 1, 2012 –
Oct 31, 2012
Oct 31, 2012

CALPADS Benefit to Homeless Assessment Collection

By Justin Lane, Analyst, CDE

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires districts and states to report on homeless student assessment results for students served by LEAs that received McKinney-Vento grants. In the past, the CDE collected these data on the McKinney-Vento annual survey. The ED also requires (per ESEA Title I) all districts and states to report the number of homeless students enrolled (in total and by primary nighttime residence category). The CDE collected these data from LEAs using the ConApp, and starting in 2009-10, the CDE collected these data in CALPADS. Realizing that LEAs often serve homeless students that are not enrolled within the LEA, the ED modified the assessment reporting requirements requiring that districts and states report only on assessment results for students enrolled.

Starting in SY 2009-10, the CDE has met this requirement by extracting the statewide student identifiers (SSID) for enrolled homeless students from CALPADS and matching them to the assessment results file. As a result, the CDE has dropped the homeless assessment results reporting section from the annual McKinney-Vento survey. In addition, the CDE will no longer be collecting counts of enrolled homeless students on the ConApp. Because homeless students are a highly mobile population, it can be challenging for schools and school districts to identify and maintain continuity of services to these students. When homeless students transfer to another district, their homeless status may not transfer with them. This leaves the student and the new district at a distinct disadvantage.

The services that students need may not be immediately offered because their status is unknown to the district. However, now that CALPADS is in place, when a district enrolls a student, the system can readily see that the student has been identified as homeless and is eligible for services, provided the sending district has identified the student as homeless in CALPADS. Ultimately, this enables districts to immediately identify their homeless students and provide the necessary services to these students. These are just some of the many ways that CALPADS is making a difference!

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Requests for Assistance




Education Data News is a semi-annual publication for California school districts.


Contact Heather Cota via e-mail at or fax 916-327-0194.


Questions:   CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office | | 916-324-6738
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