August 20, 2008
Dear Charter School Administrators:
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) provides federal funding that may be available to local education agencies (LEA) for a variety of programs. Because NCLB regards a direct-funded charter school as a LEA, a direct-funded charter school must apply for NCLB funding on its own behalf. In contrast, a locally-funded charter school may receive funding for NCLB programs through its chartering authority.
The purpose of this letter is to provide important information and guidance to direct- funded charter schools regarding a process the California Department of Education (CDE) has established for direct-funded charter schools to apply for many NCLB programs. There are two parts to this process – (1) a Local Educational Agency Plan (LEA Plan), and (2) the Consolidated Application (ConApp), Parts I and II.
Direct-funded charter schools currently without an LEA Plan must submit one for review to the CDE by October 1, 2008. After CDE verifies that the plan meets federal requirements, it will recommend approval of the plan to the State Board of Education (SBE). All LEA Plans approved by the SBE at or before its March 2009 meeting will permit the school to receive NCLB funding for the 2008-09 year. All plans approved after the March 2009 SBE meeting will receive funding for future years only.
More information can be found on the CDE LEA Plan Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/le/index.asp].
An original and two copies of LEA Plans must be submitted to:
Accountability and Improvement Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 6208
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
Direct-funded charter schools seeking NCLB funding for many of the NCLB programs must also complete the ConApp each year. Part I must be submitted in June of each year, and Part II must be submitted each January. New charter schools should submit both Part I and Part II of the ConApp at the same time. The online application is available on the CDE Consolidated Application Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/co/index.asp].
The LEA Plan describes how the LEA will use NCLB program funds. For NCLB Title I programs, it is important to use one of the two following Title I program models to describe how students will be served.
School-Wide Program School or Targeted Assistance School: Title I funds should be used to provide additional services for those students who are not meeting academic standards or are at most risk of not meeting state standards in English/language arts and mathematics. There are two types of Title I schools—targeted assistance schools (TAS) and school-wide program (SWP) schools. In most cases, NCLB requires a school to develop a SWP in the year prior to operating as an SWP school, and to operate as a TAS during the year of SWP development. There are, however, instances where a school can determine that it does not need a full year to develop an SWP and, therefore, does not need to be a TAS school first. Please visit the CDE Schoolwide Programs Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/rt/] and the CDE Title I, Part A Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/titleparta.asp].
The CDE has created two LEA Plan templates to help schools ensure that their Plan meets applicable reporting requirements. Both are located on the CDE Local Educational Agency Plan Web page at [http://www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/le]. Many charter school administrators use the template developed for single school districts because it provides a better opportunity to develop a more comprehensive plan for a school's focus on student achievement.
Obligation of Funds: Federal regulations, found in 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 76, specify that the obligation of federal funds may occur upon submission of an LEA Plan to the CDE in substantially approvable form. However, CDE recommends that charter schools not obligate funds until the LEA Plan is approved by the SBE.
Title I, Part A allows LEAs to carry over up to 15 percent of their previous year’s allocation. If the carryover exceeds 15 percent, a direct-funded charter school must submit a request for a waiver of that limit, although charter school administrators should note that such a request may be submitted only once every three years. For more information, please visit the CDE Carryover and Waiver Information Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/carryover.asp].
LEA Plans should be reviewed, revised annually, and kept on file at the school.
Please do not hesitate to direct questions to the following staff:
LEA Plan Processing
Cheryl Tiner, Assistant Consultant
General questions regarding charter schools
Carol Barkley, Director
Charter Schools Division