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Ltr2-11: Pupil Transportation

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

January 13, 2012

Dear County Superintendents of Schools:

NOTICE OF APPORTIONMENT
FOR THE PUPIL TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM
JANUARY 2012 CERTIFICATION
FISCAL YEAR 2011–12

This re-certified apportionment, in the amount of $237,475,367, is made from funds provided by Schedule (1) of Item 6110-111-0001 of the Budget Act of 2011 (Chapter 33, Statutes of 2011) as amended by Assembly Bill (AB) 121 (Chapter 41, Statutes of 2011). This apportionment re-certifies local educational agencies’ (LEAs’) annual 2011–12 entitlements for Pupil Transportation. The initial apportionment, prior to AB 121 was certified at $479,754,954.

Warrants will be mailed to each county treasurer approximately three weeks from the date of this Notice. For standardized account code structure coding, use Resource Code 7230, Transportation: Home to School, or Resource Code 7240, Transportation: Special Education (SD/OI), and Revenue Object Code 8311, Other State Apportionments-Current Year, for both home-to-school and special education transportation. For prior year adjustments, use Revenue Object Code 8319, Other State Apportionments-Prior Year.

The county superintendents of schools were notified of this apportionment by e-mail which was sent to their CDEfisc e-mail addresses. The California Department of Education (CDE) requested that the e-mail be forwarded to all school districts and charter schools in the county, and included a link to the CDE Categorical Programs Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ca/ where, under the program name, the letter and schedule for this apportionment are posted.

Pursuant to the provisions of California Education Code (EC) Section 14041, payments for the Special Purpose Apportionment (which consists solely of Pupil Transportation funds) are to be made in twelve installments beginning in July and ending in June. The July through December payments made up 46 percent of each LEA’s estimated 2011–12 entitlement. The January through June payments have been recalculated based on final expenditure data, and to reflect the reductions implemented by AB 121. 

Calculation of 2011–12 Entitlements. The calculation of final fiscal year 2011–12 entitlements for Pupil Transportation are being certified in this apportionment to reflect 2010–11 unaudited actual data submitted on the Form TRAN, Annual Report of Pupil Transportation. Per EC Section 41851(c), the current year transportation allowances (entitlements) are calculated by first comparing prior year expenditures (approved costs) to the prior year allowances. That amount is increased by any growth or cost of living adjustment (COLA) funding provided in the annual budget act. The Budget Act of 2011 did not provide funding for growth or COLA. Please note an LEA’s allowance is not the apportionment (cash) it is receiving, but the actual entitlement amount (lesser of prior year expenditures or allowance). Funds available to pay the entitlement have been reduced by Control Section 12.42 of the Budget Act and AB 121.

An LEA must have spent in fiscal year 2010–11 an amount equal to or greater than its 2010–11 final entitlement in order to avoid a permanent reduction to its 2011–12 entitlement. Each LEA’s 2011–12 entitlement is calculated as the lesser of its 2010–11 expenditures or 2010–11 allowance (entitlement).

The Schedule of Apportionment for the Pupil Transportation Program identifies the 2011–12 entitlement for each participating LEA, its apportionment (cash), and the flow of cash payments through June 2012. An LEA with an overpayment will be offset against its P-1 Principal Apportionment payment for 2011-12. The CDE will revise the Pupil Transportation apportionment schedule and issue a final 2011–12 apportionment to reflect the distribution of these funds, which will result in slightly higher payments for the remaining months.

Revising Prior Year Form TRAN. The CDE has typically allowed an LEA to revise its Form TRAN if all of the expenditures were not captured, resulting in an entitlement adjustment. Because the CDE will be apportioning 100 percent of the current year funds, revised forms will be accepted, but no additional funds will be paid to LEAs for 2011-12. 

Basic Aid Reductions. Section 56 of Senate Bill (SB) 70 (Chapter 7, Statutes of 2011) requires that categorical funding allocations in fiscal year 2011–12 to school districts that were basic aid in 2010–11 be reduced by the lesser of: (1) the district’s 2010–11 total revenue subject to the deficit factor, calculated as of the 2010–11 certified second principal apportionment, multiplied by 8.92 percent, or (2) the amount of the district’s excess taxes. Section 57 of SB 70 enacts a reduction of identical size in fiscal year 2012–13 to school districts that were basic aid in 2011–12. The list of categorical programs from which the CDE may recover funds in satisfaction of the basic aid cut includes the pupil transportation program, therefore, districts that are basic aid in 2011–12 may experience basic aid reductions to Pupil Transportation in fiscal year 2011–12 or 2012–13. In implementation of SB 70, we have reduced the amount paid to basic aid districts in this apportionment. To view the list of basic aid districts and the total amount to be reduced from their 2011–12 categorical funding allocations, please go to the CDE Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ca/documents/basicaidcut2011.xls. Basic aid districts will be held harmless from these reductions in the calculation of fiscal year 2011–12 Pupil Transportation entitlements as described below.

2011–12 through 2013–14 Calculation of Entitlements for Basic Aid Districts. To satisfy the 2010–11 basic aid reduction requirements, the CDE recouped district funds from a number of categorical programs, generally, in the order in which funds were first apportioned. In this way, not all basic aid districts had funds recovered from their Pupil Transportation apportionments. A school district that did receive a reduction to its Pupil Transportation funding will be held harmless in the calculation of its 2011–12 entitlement. Specifically, a basic aid district’s 2011–12 entitlement will be calculated as the lesser of its 2010–11 entitlement (calculated prior to the Control Section 12.42 reduction) and the sum of its 2010–11 expenditures and its 2010–11 basic aid reduction to pupil transportation. The same calculation method will be used in fiscal years 2012–13 and 2013–14.

Charter Schools. Charter schools, with few exceptions, receive Pupil Transportation funding through the charter school categorical funding model (commencing with EC Section 47633). This funding model provides categorical block grant funds in lieu of various categorical programs, including Pupil Transportation. These block grant funds are allocated as part of the Principal Apportionment process. LEAs and charter schools may wish to consider this in their discussions about how to provide transportation services to charter school pupils.

If you have any questions regarding this apportionment, please contact Christina Kersey, Assistant Fiscal Consultant, Categorical Allocations and Management Assistance Unit, by phone at 916-324-9806 or by e-mail at ckersey@cde.ca.gov [Note, the preceding contact information is no longer valid and has been replaced by Julie Klein Briggs, Fiscal Consultant, Categorical Allocations & Management Assistance Unit, by phone at 916-323-6191 or by e-mail at jbriggs@cde.ca.gov.]

Sincerely,

Jeannie Oropeza, Deputy Superintendent
Services for Administration, Finance, Technology, and Infrastructure Branch

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