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2020–21 Funding and Instructional Time FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Principal Apportionment, Instructional Time, Attendance Accounting, Attendance Reporting and the Form J-13A for fiscal year (FY) 2020–21.

Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) External link opens in new window or tab. was passed and signed by the Governor at the end of June 2020. SB 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes of 2020) External link opens in new window or tab. was passed and signed by the Governor in September 2020. SB 98 and SB 820 make substantive changes to Principal Apportionment funding calculations, as well as instructional time and attendance accounting requirements for FY 2020–21 commencing with Education Code (EC) Section 43500, et. seq for distance learning. The following FAQs are intended to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with an overview of the Principal Apportionment changes as well as the instructional time and attendance accounting requirements for FY 2020–21.

It is important to be aware that guidance may differ based on the type of LEA, specifically when it comes to classroom-based and nonclassroom-based charter schools. For the purposes of the following FAQs, the distance learning requirements apply to all school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools that will begin instruction in the 2020–21 school year by September 30, 2020, which includes newly operational charter schools approved locally by January 1, 2020, that indicated in their petition that they will offer a nonclassroom-based program. Charter schools that operated as a nonclassroom-based charter school in FY 2019–20 continue to follow the independent study statutory requirements in Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 51745) of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of Division 4 and the implementing regulations for that article (EC Section 43505) in lieu of the distance learning requirements.

The distance learning and Principal Apportionment statutes established in SB 98 and SB 820 will become inoperative on June 30, 2021. All of the instructional time and attendance accounting requirements in place prior to FY 2020–21 will be back in effect for FY 2021–22.

Principal Apportionment | Instructional Time | Attendance Accounting and Reporting | Form J-13A

Additional FAQs about distance learning requirements in the 2020–21 school year are available on the California Department of Education's (CDE) Distance Learning web page.

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Principal Apportionment

  1. Will the Principal Apportionment funding in 2020–21 be increased by the 2.31% cost of living adjustment (COLA)? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. While the COLA is 2.31% for 2020–21, SB 98 added EC Section 42238.021 which provides for a zero percent COLA for Principal Apportionment programs in 2020–21.

  2. Will the 2020–21 Principal Apportionment funding be held constant at 2019–20 funding levels, or is only the average daily attendance (ADA) held constant? (Updated 06-Oct-2020)

    Pursuant to EC Section 43502(b) added by SB 98, except for newly operational charter schools (see FAQ #4) and continuing LEAs that are eligible for a growth apportionment calculation pursuant to EC Section 43505(b)(2) added by SB 820, the 2019–20 reported ADA will be used to calculate 2020–21 funding. All other data used to calculate 2020–21 apportionments, such as California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) enrollment and unduplicated pupil counts for the Unduplicated Pupil Percentage calculation, class size penalties, and local revenue will be based on 2020–21 data.

    For more information on growth funding eligibility for continuing LEAs please refer to the SB 820 Growth Funding Application FAQs.

  3. What ADA will be used as prior year ADA to calculate a school district’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) apportionment for the 2021–22 FY? (Updated 09-Oct-2020)

    Based on current statute, for FY 2021–22 LCFF apportionments, the CDE will compare for a school district the following two data points and LCFF will be determined using the greater of the two ADA figures pursuant to EC Section 42238.05:

    • The prior year ADA will be equal to the ADA reported by the school district for the 2019–20 FY, adjusted for any applicable charter school closures, changes in Necessary Small School status, or district reorganization, pursuant to EC Section 43502(b), paragraphs (2) through (4). For school districts that received an apportionment pursuant to EC Section 43505(b)(2) added by SB 820 in 2020–21, the prior year ADA will be equal to the proxy 2020–21 ADA used for funding.
    • The current year ADA will be equal to the ADA reported by the school district for the 2021–22 FY.

  4. How does SB 98 affect newly operational charter schools in 2020–21? (Updated 06-Oct-2020)

    Newly operational charter schools in 2020–21 will be funded based on their enrollment as of Information Day (October 7, 2020) that is reduced by the statewide average rate of absence as calculated by the department for the prior FY. A newly operational charter school is only eligible for funding in 2020–21 if it is authorized by the governing board of a school district or county board of education on or before June 30, 2020, or approved by the state board at its July 8 and 9, 2020 meetings and will begin offering instruction in FY 2020–21 prior to September 30, 2020.

  5. How will the 2020–21 scheduled Principal Apportionment payment deferrals be calculated? (Updated 06-Oct-2020)

    SB 98 authorizes Principal Apportionment cash deferrals for the 2020–21 FY by amending EC sections 14041.5 and 14041.6. The deferrals will apply to all Principal Apportionment programs, as listed in EC Section 14041(a), which include: County Office of Education, School District and Charter School LCFF State Aid, School District Basic Aid Choice, School District Basic Aid Court-Ordered Voluntary Pupil Transfer, School District Basic Aid Open Enrollment, School District Basic Aid Supplement Charter School Adjustment, Adults in Correctional Facilities, Special Education AB 602, and Special Education Infants 0-2.

    There will be specified cash deferrals for the months of February through May 2021, and the June payment will be entirely deferred to July 2021. For the February through May deferrals, the percentage of the payment deferred will be derived based on the total amount of the cash deferral specified in EC Section 14041.6, and will be deferred to the month specified in statute later in the same calendar year. Deferral information is available on the Principal Apportionment Payment Schedule web page.

  6. How can a school district or charter school apply for an exemption from the Principal Apportionment deferrals? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    A school district or charter school may receive an exemption from the deferrals pursuant to EC Section 14041.8 (refer to SB 98, Section 12 for EC Section 14041.8 deferral exemption requirements).

    More information and resources regarding the 2020–21 deferrals, cash flow, and deferral exemption process will be made available in the coming months and be sent out on the PASE listserv. Please follow the instructions provided on the CDE web page to subscribe to the PASE listserv.

  7. Will the 2020–21 Education Protection Account (EPA) apportionments also be deferred? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. The EPA apportionments are not subject to deferrals.


Instructional Time

  1. Do all LEAs have an annual instructional day requirement in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    Yes. Pursuant to EC Section 43502(c), school districts and special day classes offered by county offices of education must offer 180 days of instruction. Charter schools must offer 175 days of instruction in FY 2020–21.

  2. Do nonclassroom-based charter schools have an annual instructional day requirement? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    Yes. The annual instructional day requirement for nonclassroom-based charter schools is 175 days of instruction.

  3. When does the instructional day requirement take effect? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    The instructional day requirement is in effect for the full 2020–21 FY. However, pursuant to EC Section 43504(i)(3), school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools that provide distance learning shall not be penalized for instruction provided before September 1, 2020, that does not meet instructional time requirements.

  4. How does an LEA meet the annual instructional day requirement? (Updated 06-Oct-2020)

    SB 98 and SB 820 make a distinction between the requirements based on the type of LEA.

    For school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools, in order for a day to count as a day of instruction towards meeting the annual instructional day requirement, students must be scheduled to attend for the school day established by the local governing board and the school day must be equivalent to at least a minimum day of instruction. The governing board may establish a school day in excess of 2020–21 minimum instructional day requirements noted below.

    A school day can be met through in-person instruction, distance learning, or a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning.

    For FY 2020–21 a minimum day of instruction for school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools is as follows:

    • 180 instructional minutes in TK/kindergarten.
    • 230 instructional minutes in grades 1 to 3, inclusive.
    • 240 instructional minutes in grades 4 to 12, inclusive.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students in grades 11 and 12 that are also enrolled part time in classes of the California State University or the University of California for which academic credit will be provided upon satisfactory completion of enrolled courses.
    • 180 instructional minutes for any student who is also a special part-time student enrolled in a community college under Article 1 (commencing with Section 48800) of Chapter 5 or Part 27 of Division 4 and who will receive academic credit upon satisfactory completion of enrolled courses.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students enrolled in a continuation high school.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students enrolled in an opportunity school.

    Charter schools that operated as nonclassroom-based in FY 2019–20 need to comply with all of the following requirements in FY 2020–21:

    • Continue to meet all the independent study statutory requirements in Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 51745) of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of Division 4 and the implementing regulations for that article (EC Section 43505) in lieu of the distance learning requirements.
    • Adopt a learning continuity and attendance plan pursuant to EC Section 43509
    • Offer 175 days of instruction and continue to maintain daily engagement records. Note, there are no minimum instructional day requirements for a nonclassroom-based charter school.


  5. How is instructional time for in-person instruction calculated? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    Instructional time for in-person instruction is calculated based on time scheduled under the immediate physical supervision and control of a certificated employee of the LEA. LEAs would use their bell schedules, school calendars, and any other instructional time documentation as they always have to determine instructional time for in-person instruction.

  6. How is instructional time for distance learning calculated? (Posted 06-Oct-2020)

    Instructional time for distance learning is calculated based on the time value of synchronous and/or asynchronous instruction and assignments made by and certified by a certificated employee of the LEA.

    For charter schools, distance learning must be provided by a certificated employee pursuant to the requirements of EC sections 47605, 47605.4, and 47605.6.

  7. Can the minimum instructional day be met through a combination of distance learning and in-person instruction? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    Yes. Time scheduled under the immediate physical supervision of a certificated employee can be combined with assignments made under the general supervision of a certificated employee of an LEA to meet minimum instructional day requirements.

  8. Do the minimum instructional day requirements apply to all LEAs? (Updated 06-Oct-2020)

    In FY 2020–21, minimum instructional day requirements apply to all school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools as follows:

    • 180 instructional minutes in TK/kindergarten.
    • 230 instructional minutes in grades 1 to 3, inclusive.
    • 240 instructional minutes in grades 4 to 12, inclusive.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students in grades 11 and 12 that are also enrolled part time in classes of the California State University or the University of California for which academic credit will be provided upon satisfactory completion of enrolled courses.
    • 180 instructional minutes for any student who is also a special part-time student enrolled in a community college under Article 1 (commencing with Section 48800) of Chapter 5 or Part 27 of Division 4 and who will receive academic credit upon satisfactory completion of enrolled courses.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students enrolled in a continuation high school.
    • 180 instructional minutes for students enrolled in an opportunity school.


    Nonclassroom-based charter schools as of the 2019–20 FY do not have minimum instructional day requirements

  9. Can LEAs meet the minimum instructional day requirements through averaging over a span of instructional days? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. There is no instructional time averaging option for FY 2020–21. For more information about the minimum instructional day requirements, see FAQ #4 and FAQ #8.

  10. Do community day schools have a 360-minute minimum instructional day requirement in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. For FY 2020–21, the 360-minute minimum instructional day requirement for community day schools is not in effect. Community day schools must meet the same minimum instructional day requirements per grade span as traditional school sites.

  11. When does SB 98 become inoperative? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)
    The statutes established in SB 98 will become inoperative on June 30, 2021. All of the instructional time and attendance accounting requirements in place prior to FY 2020–21 will be back in effect for FY 2021–22.

  12. What happens if an LEA fails to meet the annual instructional day requirement in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)
    Pursuant to EC Section 43504(i)(1), if a school district or charter school fails to meet the annual instructional day requirement in FY 2020–21, that school district or charter school will be subject to a fiscal penalty.

  13. Do LEAs have annual instructional minute requirements in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)
    No. Pursuant to EC Section 43502(d)(1), the annual instructional minute requirements are waived in FY 2020–21. However, LEAs must meet annual instructional day requirements.

  14. How is distance learning defined as a mode of instruction in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)
    Pursuant to EC Section 43500, distance learning is defined as a mode of instruction in which the student and instructor are in different locations and students are under the general supervision of a certificated employee of the LEA.

    Distance learning may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
    • Interaction, instruction, and check-ins between teachers and students through the use of a computer or communications technology.
    • Video or audio instruction in which the primary mode of communication between the student and certificated employee is online interaction, instructional television, video, telecourses, or other instruction that relies on computer or communications technology.
    • The use of print materials incorporating assignments that are the subject of written or oral feedback.


    For additional information, please visit Distance Learning.

  15. Can passing time be included in instructional minute calculations for the 2020–21 school year? (Posted 22-Oct-2020)
    For distance learning, instructional time is based on the time value of assignments as determined, and certified to, by an employee of the LEA who possesses a valid certification document, registered as required by law. The purpose of a passing period is to provide for the actual time it takes students to physically move from class to class. Passing time is not included in instructional time during distance learning.

    For in-person instruction, the requirements for passing time remain the same as in previous years:

    Passing time is used in a departmentalized in-person instruction setting where pupils are changing instructors and/or courses. Passing periods between classes can be included as long as they are the actual time it takes to physically move from class to class and do not include time for going to a locker or the bathroom. Passing periods should not exceed 10 minutes between classes. There is no passing period before the first period of the day and one passing period between the period before lunch break and the period that meets after the lunch break. Lunch or break time is excluded.


Attendance Accounting and Reporting

  1. Will LEAs be required to report ADA for apportionment in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. LEAs will not have to collect or report ADA for the purpose of apportionment in FY 2020–21. LEAs will be funded based on ADA reported in the 2019–20 P-2 and Annual apportionment periods. Newly operational charter schools in 2020–21 will be funded based on their enrollment as of Information Day (October 7, 2020) reported in CALPADS reduced by the statewide average rate of absence as calculated by the department for the prior FY.

  2. Will students be able to generate ADA for apportionment through distance learning in FY 2020–21? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    No. LEAs will not be collecting or reporting any ADA in FY 2020–21. However, an LEA may be eligible for growth funding pursuant to SB 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes 2020). For additional information, please visit CDE's SB 820 Growth Funding Application FAQs web page.

  3. Are LEAs required to record and take attendance in FY 2020–21? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    Yes. Although LEAs will not be reporting ADA in FY 2020–21, LEAs are required to record and track student attendance and participation for the purpose of compulsory education, reporting student attendance in CALPADS for chronic absence reporting and avoiding audit penalties.

    Completing daily participation records is akin to taking daily attendance and should include the method for verifying participation. If the daily participation record is used as an attendance record, LEAs will need to remember that students that do not participate in assigned distance learning or in-person instruction for at least part of the instructional day are considered absent and that those absences need to be categorized as either excused or unexcused for the purposes of compulsory education.

    For a list of the distance learning requirements subject to fiscal penalties during the Annual External Audit, including daily attendance and participation documentation, please see FAQ #6. For more information regarding daily participation verification please reference FAQ #10. For additional information regarding daily participation and weekly engagement recordkeeping, refer to FAQs #14 and #15.

  4. Can LEAs report ADA for the Extended School Year Special Education Program in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    The ADA attributed to the Extended School Year Special Education Program is reported in the FY that the program ends. The following information details the requirements for the Extended School Year Special Education Program for the summer of 2020.

    Extended School Year Special Education Program – Ending by June 30, 2020

    • LEAs may claim Extended School Year Special Education ADA offered through distance learning as long as the LEA met all of the requirements in Section 96 of SB 98. The divisor of 175 remains the same.


    Extended School Year Special Education Program – Ending after June 30, 2020

    • In FY 2020–21, LEAs will be funded based on ADA in the 2019–20 reported for both the P-2 and the Annual period apportionment. Therefore, LEAs would not be able to claim the ADA for the Extended School Year Special Education Program that ends after June 30, 2020 or before June 30, 2021 because the ADA would be attributed to FY 2020–21.

  5. Will ADA that was used to calculate an LEA’s 2020–21 funding be audited as part of the 2020–21 Annual External Audit? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No, because the 2019–20 ADA used to calculate 2020–21 funding will be audited pursuant to the 2019–20 audit process and therefore will not be audited again for the 2020–21 audit process. However, the instructional day requirement and some of the distance learning requirements are subject to fiscal penalties. More specifically, EC Section 43504(i) assigns an audit penalty calculation for school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools that do not meet the following instructional time and distance learning requirements as of September 1, 2020:

    • Offer the required number of instructional days per EC Section 43504(c).
    • Document daily participation for each student, for each school day, on which distance learning is provided as required by EC Section 43504(d).
    • Complete a weekly engagement record for each student documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning that verifies participation and tracks assignments as required by EC Section 43504(e). To the extent synchronous or asynchronous instruction is assigned to a student in distance learning, that instruction should be included in the assignments listed.
    • Document absences as required by EC Section 43504(d)(1) and (f) for the purposes of chronic absenteeism tracking.
    • Develop written procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for students that are absent from distance learning for more than 3 schooldays or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week as required by EC Section 43504(f)(2).
  6. Which requirements of distance learning will be subject to fiscal penalties as a result of audit findings as part of the LEA’s 2020–21 Annual External Audits? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    EC Section 43504(i) assigns an audit penalty calculation for school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools that do not meet the following requirements as of September 1, 2020:

    • Offer the required number of instructional days per EC Section 43504(c).
    • Document daily participation for each student, for each school day, on which distance learning is provided as required by EC Section 43504(d).
    • Complete a weekly engagement record for each student documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning that verifies participation and tracks assignments as required by EC Section 43504(e). To the extent synchronous or asynchronous instruction is assigned to a student in distance learning, that instruction should be included in the assignments listed.
    • Document absences as required by EC Section 43504(d)(1) and (f) for the purposes of chronic absenteeism tracking.
    • Develop written procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for students that are absent from distance learning for more than 3 schooldays or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week as required by EC Section 43504(f)(2).


    For more information about using the optional CDE Combined Daily Participation and Weekly Engagement Template (CDE Template) (PDF) and other record keeping options, like making changes to the LEA’s existing Student Information System (SIS) and Learning Management System (LMS) to meet these requirements, see FAQs #14 and 15.

  7. Are the distance learning requirements in part 24.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 the EC, (commencing with Section 43500) conditions of apportionment? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    School districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools will incur fiscal penalties for not meeting specific audited requirements of distance learning provisions in EC Section 43504(d)(e) and (f). All LEAs are bound by the statutory requirements of part 24.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the EC. Pursuant to EC sections 43502 and 43505 funding calculations for all LEAs, with the exception of newly operational charter schools, will be funded based on ADA reported in the 2019–20 P-2 and Annual apportionment periods, which will only include all full school months from July 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020. Newly operational charter schools in 2020–21 will be funded based on their enrollment as of Information Day (October 7, 2020) reported in CALPADS reduced by the statewide average rate of absence as calculated by the department for the prior FY. For more information about specific audit requirements see FAQ #6 above.

  8. Will funding for LEAs that are experiencing an increase in ADA in 2020–21 be adjusted? (Posted 02-Oct-2020)

    An LEA may be eligible for growth funding pursuant to SB 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes 2020). For additional information, please visit CDE's SB 820 Funding for Growing LEA FAQs web page.

  9. Is it possible for school districts and county offices of education to offer weekend classes through distance learning? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    It is possible for school districts and county offices of education to offer weekend classes through distance learning in FY 2020–21 for the purpose of making up or enhancing instruction. LEAs cannot generate make-up attendance for the purpose of chronic absenteeism through weekend classes.

  10. Does verification of participation in distance learning have to be done each day? Can a school employee use multiple days of student assignments combined and turned in on one day, or contact with a student, parent or guardian on one day during the week to verify participation for multiple days? (Posted 14-Aug-2020)

    Daily participation can be verified through a variety of methods. Participation may be verified through evidence of participation in online activities, completion of regular assignments, completion of assessments, and contact between employees of the LEA and students or parents or guardians, or by another means determined by an LEA. Verification can be done on a daily basis, on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis as long as an employee of the LEA makes a determination that the student participated. However, the ability to verify participation on a basis other than daily does not relieve an LEA of its responsibility to include daily live interaction as part of distance learning, or if daily interaction is not feasible to develop an alternative plan for frequent live interaction, pursuant to the requirements of EC Section 43503(b)(6).

  11. How should LEAs set up their attendance software in FY 2020–21? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    LEAs should work with their SIS provider to develop separate attendance codes to use in FY 2020–21. These attendance codes should specifically record attendance for the purpose of compulsory education through in-person instruction, distance learning, or a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning.

    Establishing unique attendance codes for documenting and verifying participation in distance learning, will help LEAs meet some of the additional documentation and record keeping requirements for distance learning as well as enable LEAs to run reports on distance learning participation for local use.

    These attendance codes should be separate from, or in addition to, the attendance codes used in FY 2019–20. This will allow LEAs to return to their existing attendance codes and record attendance for the purpose of apportionment in FY 2021–22.

    LEAs will map the attendance (and absence) codes that they create into the existing attendance and absence data fields in the Student Absence Summary (STAS) file for reporting to CALPADS. For questions related to data reporting in the STAS file, please contact the CALPADS Office at calpads@cde.ca.gov.

    Additional information related to attendance for the purpose of compulsory education, including excused and unexcused absences, is available on the Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions web page under the Attendance and Absences section.

  12. Are attendance reports required to be signed? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    Yes. In order to meet contemporaneous records requirements, an employee of the LEA that can attest to the attendance/participation being documented through firsthand knowledge, such as a teacher or paraprofessional, is required to print and sign attendance reports. For students participating in in-person instruction, attendance records are to be signed weekly. For students participating in distance learning, attendance reports must be signed weekly or bi-weekly. The attendance reports can be used to verify daily participation.

    Although attendance reports can be signed by an employee of the LEA that can attest to the attendance/participation, because the optional CDE Template combines the attendance/participation and instructional time certification, and instructional time certification must be done by a certificated employee, the optional CDE Template must be signed by a certificated employee.

    For information on electronic signatures on the optional CDE Template, see FAQ #18. For information on electronic signatures on attendance reports when using an LEA alternative to the optional CDE Template, see FAQ #19.

  13. Should LEAs use positive or negative attendance? (Posted 20-Aug-2020)

    LEAs may choose to use either the positive or negative attendance method to record attendance in FY 2020–21.

    Changes to approved attendance accounting forms and procedures in FY 2020–21 will not require the CDE’s approval. However, if a school district or county office of education switches their method of recording attendance in FY 2020–21, they will need to return to the method approved in their attendance accounting forms and procedures in FY 2021–22. Otherwise, the school district or county office of education will need to submit to the CDE any changes to their forms and/or procedures that had previously been approved.

  14. What participation and engagement records are LEAs required to maintain for students receiving instruction through distance learning? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    LEAs are required to maintain daily participation and a weekly engagement record for each student receiving instruction through distance learning. These are auditable records that must be made available for the LEA’s 2020–21 Annual External Audits. These requirements apply to school districts, county offices of education, classroom-based charter schools, and all newly operational charter schools.

    LEAs must document daily participation for each student on each instructional day, in whole or in part, for which distance learning is provided. Daily participation is used to track attendance, and may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:

    • evidence of participation in online activities
    • completion of regular assignments
    • completion of assessments
    • contacts between employees of the LEA and the student or parents/guardians
    • other methods of verification determined by LEAs


    A student who does not participate in distance learning for at least part of an instructional day is considered as absent for that instructional day. LEAs should categorize absences as either excused or not excused for the purpose of compulsory education. In compulsory education, only absences without a valid excuse are a violation. Additional information related to attendance for the purpose of compulsory education, including excused and unexcused absences, is available on the Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions web page under the Attendance and Absences section.

    LEAs are also required to complete a weekly engagement record to document whether students assigned synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning that is consistent with the plan developed by the local governing board, verify daily participation, and track assignments.

    In response to the additional recordkeeping requirements for student engagement and participation, CDE has developed an optional CDE Template for use in FY 2020–21. Refer to the CDE Template User Guide for detailed instructions, samples, and additional information on how to complete the template.

  15. Is an LEA required to use the CDE Template to document distance learning daily participation and weekly engagement? (Posted 02-Oct-2020)

    LEAs have many options to meet the daily participation tracking and weekly engagement records requirements in EC Section 43504. The LEA Alternatives for Tracking Daily Participation and Weekly Engagement for Distance Learning Guide provides detailed information and options on how an LEA can meet these requirements in lieu of using the optional CDE Template. Additionally, an alternative template to the CDE Template is also available.

    Daily participation and weekly engagement records may be made up of multiple documents stored in various locations. In this circumstance, LEAs should develop a plan to ensure documentation is easily accessible and can be compiled in order to provide to the auditor during the annual audit process to avoid a fiscal penalty.

    These requirements are in addition to attendance reporting for the purpose of compulsory education in CALPADS.

  16. How should LEAs record and maintain weekly engagement records? (Posted 20-Aug-2020)

    LEAs may choose to maintain the weekly engagement records either as electronic or paper records. The weekly engagement records must be made available for an auditor to complete the LEA’s 2020–21 Annual External Audit.

  17. If a student participates in an independent study program during the 2020–21 school year, which distance learning requirements must a school district, county office of education, classroom-based charter school, and all newly operational charter schools need to meet to avoid fiscal penalties? (Posted 20-Aug-2020)
    Students may participate in independent study programs during the 2020–21 school year. When offering independent study programs, a school district, county office of education, classroom-based charter school, and all newly operational charter schools will need to ensure that all distance learning requirements are met, including those that have a fiscal consequence as follows:

    • Offer the required number of instructional days per EC Section 43504(c).
    • Document daily participation for each student, for each school day, on which distance learning is provided as required by EC Section 43504(d).
    • Complete a weekly engagement record for each student documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning that verifies participation and tracks assignments as required by EC Section 43504(e). To the extent synchronous or asynchronous instruction is assigned to a student in distance learning, that instruction should be included in the assignments listed.
    • Document absences as required by EC Section 43504(d)(1) and (f) for the purposes of chronic absenteeism tracking.
    • Develop written procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for students that are absent from distance learning for more than 3 schooldays or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week as required by EC Section 43504(f)(2).

  18. What are the signature requirements for attendance records and instructional time certification when using the optional CDE Template and are teachers able to use electronic signatures to sign the certification on the optional CDE’s Template? (Posted 02-Oct-2020)

    The optional CDE Template combines the attendance/participation and instructional time certification requirement so that only one signature for both is required pursuant to the following:

    Criteria Combined attendance/participation and instructional time certification.
    Who can sign? The combined attendance/participation and instructional time certification in the CDE template must be signed by a certificated employee of the LEA.
    Frequency

    In Person Instruction: weekly

    Distance Learning: at least every two weeks under distance learning whether provided in whole or in a hybrid setting.

    Requirements to Electronically Sign The combined attendance/participation and instructional time certification in the CDE template can be certified to by signing and scanning the signed documentation, by electronically signing a PDF document, or through a signature application such as DocuSign, as long as security measures are in place to protect confidential student information.


  19. What are the signature requirements for the 2020–21 school year attendance records and the instructional time certification when LEAs are not using the optional CDE Template? (Updated 02-Oct-2020)

    The guidelines in the table below for attendance record certification apply to a school district or county office of education. Guidelines for charter schools follow at the end of this answer.

    Criteria Attendance Record Instructional Time Certification
    Who can sign? Attendance/absence reports must be certified by an employee of the LEA with firsthand knowledge of the student’s participation. Examples of employees that may have firsthand knowledge of student participation in assigned instruction, school work, and/or assessments include but may not be limited to: teachers, paraprofessionals, and attendance clerks. The instructional time certification must be signed by a certificated employee of the LEA. The certificated employee must certify to time value of assignments to ensure that minimum instructional day and annual school year length requirements can be met.
    Frequency In Person Instruction: weekly

    Distance Learning: at least every two weeks under distance learning whether provided in whole or in a hybrid setting.
    Statute does not specify the frequency with which instructional time certification must occur.
    Requirements to Electronically Sign For the 2020–21 school year only, CDE has determined that school districts and county offices of education can implement the use of electronic signatures for weekly attendance reports, daily participation, and weekly engagement records, even if the school district or county office of education does not have prior approval of their attendance accounting system using manual signatures, as long as the following is in place:
    1. The electronic system has a procedure to track and verify that initial attendance is entered within two weeks from the calendar day of the school day for which the attendance is a record thereof. This flexibility would be for the purpose of distance learning attendance tracking only. Attendance for in-class instruction should still be entered on the calendar day of the school day of record. Under certain circumstances, such as wide-spread power outages, system interruptions, or for students participating in distance learning, teachers are allowed to electronically submit and certify attendance on a subsequent day or week, retaining paper documentation on which attendance was recorded contemporaneously;
    2. The electronic system includes a report that lists the dates of data entry and modifications, and the employee identification of the person or persons logging the attendance information into the system;
    3. The report described in #2 above is readily accessible to teachers and administrators for their review;
    4. If the electronic system relies on passwords, there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that such passwords are accessible only to the employee for whom the password is created; and
    5. For the 2020–21 school year only, school districts and county offices of education must receive a letter from their independent auditor, indicating that the attendance accounting system has been reviewed by the auditor and that the system’s level of integrity is acceptable to the auditor. This letter would not need to be submitted to CDE.
    The time value of assignments may be certified to by signing and scanning the signed documentation, by electronically signing a PDF document, or through a signature application such as DocuSign, as long as security measures are in place to protect confidential student information.



    If the school district or county office of education meets the electronic signature attendance record requirements outlined above, from the date those requirements are met, the LEA will be able to utilize electronic signatures. School districts and county offices of education should revert to their CDE approved attendance accounting method with the beginning of the 2021–22 school year.

    Charter schools are not required to receive approval from CDE for their attendance accounting forms and procedures. As such, CDE does not approve attendance accounting forms and procedures for charter schools. This includes approval for the use of electronic signatures. Charter schools should work with their authorizer when making changes to their attendance accounting forms and procedures, including changes to allow electronic signatures.

  20. Is a student’s sample work product required to be included in the weekly engagement record? (Posted 02-Oct-2020)

    No.

Form J-13A

  1. Should an LEA submit a Form J-13A for a material decrease that occurs in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. Pursuant to EC Section 43502(f), the Form J-13A material decrease request process by which an LEA receives attendance credit due to an emergency event that occurs during FY 2020–21 is suspended for all LEAs.

    Pursuant to EC Section 43502(b), the CDE will use 2019–20 P-2 and Annual ADA to calculate apportionments for FY 2020–21. Therefore, a decrease in attendance that occurs in the 2020–21 FY will not affect an LEA’s funding for the 2020–21 FY.

  2. Should an LEA submit a Form J-13A for a closure that occurs in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    Yes. An LEA that closed due to a qualifying emergency in FY 2020–21 should submit a Form J-13A to avoid an instructional time penalty for not meeting the annual instructional day requirement. Please note that a Form J-13A approval letter for school closure in FY 2020–21 will have no effect on the LEA’s apportionment for FY 2020–21. Instead, an approval of a Form J-13A request from the CDE serves to document an LEA’s compliance with instructional time laws and provide authority to maintain school for less than the required instructional days and minutes without incurring a fiscal penalty to the LEA’s 2020–21 LCFF funding.

    LEAs are expected to offer distance learning while closed due to a public health order for COVID-19. However, if during that closure, another qualifying event occurs, the LEA may submit a Form J-13A to the CDE to request credit for the day of instruction lost.

  3. Should programs operating under a fixed divisor reduce the divisor after receiving a Form J-13A approval letter for a closure occurring in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. Pursuant to EC Section 43502(b), the CDE will use 2019–20 P-2 and Annual ADA to calculate apportionments for FY 2020–21. Therefore, there is no need to reduce the divisor to calculate attendance due to a closure occurring in the 2020–21 FY.

  4. Should an LEA submit a Form J-13A request for instructional minutes in FY 2020–21? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. Pursuant to EC Section 43502(d)(1), the annual minute requirement is waived for FY 2020–21.

    Note that in order for a day to count as a day of instruction towards meeting the annual instructional day requirement in a school district, county office of education, classroom-based charter school and newly operational charter school, instruction must be offered and provided for at least the minimum instructional day. If an emergency event occurs and results in reducing the scheduled instructional day below the minimum instructional day being offered, that day would not be considered a day of instruction, and the LEA would need to submit a Form J-13A school closure request to avoid a fiscal penalty to the LEA’s 2020–21 LCFF funding for offering fewer than the required instructional days.

  5. EC Section 43502(b) requires that any positive adjustment to 2019–20 ADA made after August 17, 2020 be accompanied by an auditor’s letter of concurrence. Does an LEA need an auditor’s letter of concurrence to adjust 2019–20 ADA due to an approved 2019–20 Form J-13A material decrease request that was approved after August 17, 2020? (Posted 01-Aug-2020)

    No. An approval letter for a 2019–20 Form J-13A material decrease request received after August 17, 2020 is sufficient substantiation for a positive adjustment to 2019–20 ADA. An auditor’s letter of concurrence is not needed to adjust ADA pursuant to an approved 2019–20 Form J-13A material decrease request.

  6. If an LEA experiences a school closure due to a qualifying event in 2020–21, where can the LEA find the Form J-13A and information regarding the submittal process? (Posted 28-Aug-2020)

    For information about the Form J-13A (PDF) and the submittal and approval process, please refer to our frequently asked questions.

  7. Is loss of accessibility to Zoom or other web-based platforms a qualifying event for a Form J-13A waiver? (Posted 22-Oct-2020)

    Temporary loss of access to online platforms or software is different from a power outage, including a planned public safety power outage that results in the loss of all power. Loss of accessibility to web-based platforms like Zoom, or a loss of access to the internet due to a cyber-attack that are not a result of a widespread power outage resulting in a loss of all power would not meet the conditions for a Form J-13A school closure approval. CDE recommends that LEAs have an alternative plan for instruction and assignments in the event of a loss of accessibility to instruction or assignments scheduled on such platforms.

    For more information on qualifying events for Form J-13A requests please refer to FAQ #4 on the Form J-13A Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Questions:   Principal Apportionment Section | attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 22, 2020
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