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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the School Accountability Report Card (SARC).

Background

  1. Why are local educational agencies (LEAs) required to publish School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs)?

    In November 1988, California voters passed Proposition 98, also known as The Classroom Instructional Improvement and Accountability Act. This ballot initiative provides California's public schools with a stable source of funding. In return, all public schools in California are required annually to prepare SARCs and disseminate them to the public. SARCs are intended to provide the public with important information about each public school and to communicate a school's progress in achieving its goals.

    In the years since the passage of Proposition 98, additional requirements for school accountability reporting and dissemination have been established through legislation. Most SARC requirements are codified in California Education Code (EC) sections 33126 and 33126.1 External link opens in new window or tab.. In addition, similar requirements are contained in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation.

    Pursuant to Chapter 914, Statutes of 2004 (Assembly Bill 1858), all nonpublic, nonsectarian schools are required to prepare a SARC in accordance with EC Section 33126. This requirement applies to nonpublic, nonsectarian schools but does not apply to nonpublic, nonsectarian agencies.

  2. Are LEA governing boards required to approve the publication of a SARC?
    Yes. Our understanding of the relevant SARC California EC Section 35256 is as follows:

    EC Section 35256 requires the governing school board of each school district to "develop and cause to be implemented" a SARC for each school within their district in which to report school conditions provided in EC Section 33126. To "develop and cause to be implemented" is to "approve."

    EC Section 35256(b) sets forth a minimum ("not less than") triennial frequency in which school boards shall compare their SARC template to the model template adopted by the state board. This minimum triennial frequency does not constitute a maximum frequency -- it does not preclude more frequent SARC comparisons nor does it set a limit on how often such comparisons must take place. The State Board of Education reviews and updates its model SARC template on an annual basis and it is therefore required that school boards perform their SARC comparisons under EC 35256(b) on that same annual basis.

    EC
    Section 35256 states:

    The governing board of each school district maintaining an elementary or secondary school shall develop and cause to be implemented for each school in the school district a School Accountability Report Card.

    (a) The School Accountability Report Card shall include, but is not limited to, the conditions listed in Section 33126.

    (b) Not less than triennially, the governing board of each school district shall compare the content of the School Accountability Report Card of the school district to the model School Accountability Report Card adopted by the state board. Variances among school districts shall be permitted where necessary to account for local needs.

    (c) The governing board of each school district annually shall issue a School Accountability Report Card for each school in the school district, publicize those reports, and notify parents or guardians of pupils that a hard copy will be provided upon request. Commencing with the 2008–09 school year, each school district shall make hard copies of its annually updated report card available, upon request, on or before February 1 of each year.

Preparation and Dissemination Requirements

  1. Are schools/LEAs required to publish and disseminate SARCs?

    Yes, all active public schools/LEAs and nonpublic, nonsectarian (NPS) schools are required to prepare and disseminate a SARC for the primary purpose of providing parents with data and information to make meaningful comparisons between schools (inclusive of charter schools).

    Charter schools are required to prepare SARC reports as a method by which to measure pupil progress in meeting pupil outcomes for state priorities, pursuant to EC Section 47605(b)(5)(C). Further information about charter schools can be found on the Charter Schools web page.

    For public school/LEA SARC Coordinators, the electronic SARC template is partially pre-populated using the data that the school/LEA submitted to the California Department of Education (CDE) during the school year.

    For NPS SARC Coordinators, the NPS schools do not provide the CDE with data during the school year, and therefore, the electronic SARC template is only pre-populated with some district data and the state data.

    The online SARC Web Application External link opens in new window or tab. is located in the myCDEconnect system, and can be accessed on the CDE SARC web page.

    The current blank SARC template is available on the CDE SARC web page.

    EC Section 35256 states in part:

    ...each school district shall make hard copies of its annually updated report card available, upon request, on or before February 1 of each year.

    In addition, EC Section 33126(d) states:

    It is the intent of the Legislature that schools make a concerted effort to notify parents of the purpose of the school accountability report cards, as described in this section, and ensure that all parents receive a copy of the report card; to ensure that the report cards are easy to read and understandable by parents; to ensure that local educational agencies with access to the Internet make available current copies of the report cards through the Internet.

    These sections, when taken together, require that LEAs notify all parents of the availability of a full report and provide instructions regarding how this information can be obtained both through the Internet and on paper (upon request). LEAs with access to the Internet are required to make SARCs available through that medium.

  2. Are County Offices of Education (COEs) required to prepare and publish SARCs?

    Yes, EC Section 35256 requires that the governing board of each school district maintaining an elementary or secondary school are to develop a SARC. EC Section 1984 provides that a county board of education shall be deemed to be a school district when it establishes and maintains a county community school. Further, EC Section 1906 provides where a county board of education operates classes or schools for prisoners in a county jail, county farm, or county road camp, the county board of education has the same obligations as a school district would have if it were operating the schools. Throughout the EC, there are several statues which include a county board of education operating an elementary or secondary school within the definition of "school district" (e.g., EC sections 1984, 35160.2, and 41302.5). Therefore, any county board of education operating an elementary or secondary school is required to prepare SARCs.

  3. Who are Main Authorizers in the myCDEconnect system?

    Main Authorizers are Superintendents, Direct Funded Charter (DFC) School Administrators, and Nonpublic Nonsectarian (NPS) School Administrators.

  4. Who are SARC Coordinators in the myCDEconnect system?
    A SARC Coordinator is an employee of the school/LEA and/or a third-party vendor contracted with the school/LEA, that has been designated to prepare and process the LEA’s SARCs on the myCDEconnect unified system.
  5. Who are Alternate Authorizers in the myCDEconnect system?

    An Alternate Authorizer is an employee of the LEA that has been designated/approved by the Main Authorizer of the LEA to act on behalf of the Main Authorizer in all required capacity for the SARC program on the myCDEconnect. The Alternate Authorizer will have all the same system responsibilities and capabilities as the Main Authorizer, including but not limited to, the approval/decline of registration requests.

    Designating an Alternate Authorizer is an available option for the convenience of a Main Authorizer, with a limit of 1 Alternate Authorizer per program in the myCDEconnect system.

  6. Who are Registrants in the myCDEconnect system?

    Registrants are all persons who register on the myCDEconnect system to obtain a user account (i.e., username and password) (i.e., Coordinators and Alternate Authorizers).

  7. How does a Main Authorizer obtain a SARC user account (i.e., username and password) to access the online SARC Web Application located in the myCDEconnect system?

    Upon the open date of the annual SARC Registration (sometime during Fall), the myCDEconnect system will automatically generate a SARC username and password for all Main Authorizers as listed on the California School Directory; and the system will email this information to each Main Authorizer using the email address listed on the California School Directory.

    Note: The new myCDEconnect system has been developed for the convenience of the LEAs: provides immediate SARC user accounts (i.e., usernames and passwords) to all Main Authorizers (as listed on the California School Directory) without the need to register; enables and empowers the Main Authorizers to establish SARC user accounts for their designated Coordinators upon approval of the Coordinator's registration request; and provides the option of an Alternate Authorizer for the convenience of the Main Authorizer upon approval of the designated Alternate Authorizer’s registration request. Therefore, the SARC Team no longer prepares SARC user accounts for the LEAs.

  8. If a new Main Authorizer started AFTER the open Registration date and AFTER the initial SARC user account (i.e., username and password) was sent to the previous Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory, how does the new Main Authorizer obtain a SARC user account?

    Step 1: Update the California School Directory with the correct name and/or email address of the Main Authorizer. The California School Directory is updated by the LEA on the Online Public Update for Schools (OPUS) web page.  If you have questions or need assistance, you may contact the CDS Administration by email at cdsadmin@cde.ca.gov. Note, this process may take up to two weeks for the updated information to reflect on the California School Directory.

    Step 2: Each night the myCDEconnect system connects to the current (updated) California School Directory. Upon any change in the email address of a Main Authorizer (i.e., Superintendent, Direct Funded Charter School Administrator, and Nonpublic Nonsectarian School Administrator), the system will automatically generate a username and password, and send an email (from noreply@mycdeconnect.org) with this information to this new/updated email address for this Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory.

    The username and password that was sent to the previous Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory (removed from the updated California School Directory by the LEA) will be made invalid/inactive.

    Note: The new myCDEconnect system has been developed for the convenience of the LEAs: provides immediate SARC user accounts (i.e., usernames and passwords) to all Main Authorizers (as listed on the California School Directory) without the need to register; enables and empowers the Main Authorizers to establish SARC user accounts for their designated Coordinators upon approval of the Coordinator's registration request; and provides the option of an Alternate Authorizer for the convenience of the Main Authorizer upon approval of the designated Alternate Authorizer’s registration request. Therefore, the SARC Team no longer prepares SARC user accounts for the LEAs.

  9. What if the name and email address of the Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory is old/incorrect information? How does the actual Main Authorizer obtain a SARC user account (i.e., username and password)?

    Step 1: Update the California School Directory with the correct name and/or email address of the Main Authorizer. The California School Directory is updated by the LEA on the Online Public Update for Schools (OPUS) web page.  If you have questions or need assistance, you may contact the CDS Administration by email at cdsadmin@cde.ca.gov. Note, this process may take up to two weeks for the updated information to reflect on the California School Directory.

    Step 2: Each night the myCDEconnect system connects to the current (updated) California School Directory. Upon any change in the email address of a Main Authorizer (i.e., Superintendent, Direct Funded Charter School Administrator, and Nonpublic Nonsectarian School Administrator), the system will automatically generate a username and password, and send an email (from noreply@mycdeconnect.org) with this information to this new/updated email address for this Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory.

    The username and password that was sent to the previous Main Authorizer listed on the California School Directory (removed from the updated California School Directory by the LEA) will be made invalid/inactive.

    Note: The new myCDEconnect system has been developed for the convenience of the LEAs: provides immediate SARC user accounts (i.e., usernames and passwords) to all Main Authorizers (as listed on the California School Directory) without the need to register; enables and empowers the Main Authorizers to establish SARC user accounts for their designated Coordinators upon approval of the Coordinator's registration request; and provides the option of an Alternate Authorizer for the convenience of the Main Authorizer upon approval of the designated Alternate Authorizer’s registration request. Therefore, the SARC Team no longer prepares SARC user accounts for the LEAs.

  10. How does a SARC Coordinator obtain a SARC user account (i.e., username and password) to access the SARC Web Application located in the myCDEconnect system?

    Step 1: Go to the myCDEconnect External link opens in new window or tab.. In the top right menu select “Registration”.

    Step 2: Select the button “I am registering to be a Coordinator”.

    Use the “Search for individual schools” if selecting one or more schools (including charter schools and NPS schools); type the name of the school, select the school; repeat until you have completed your list of schools; and/or

    Use the “Search for districts” if selecting a district; type the name of the district; select the district, this will provide you with the full list of schools within that district (traditional schools and locally funded charter schools, appropriately).

    Once you have your completed list of school(s), scroll to the bottom of the web page, select “Continue”.

    Step 3: Either check the box “Designation for SARC” for each school individually or select the button “Select All Schools for SARC Program” to check all the boxes at one time. All boxes must be checked in order to proceed.

    Scroll to the bottom of the web page, select “Continue”.

    Step 4: Populate the requested information. All mandatory fields identified with an asterisk (*) must be completed in order to submit this form.

    Scroll to the bottom of the web page, select “Submit”.
    Step 5: You have completed the registration process. You are advised to print this confirmation web page for your records.

    Your registration request has been emailed to your Main Authorizer (and to the Alternate Authorizer, if designated). The registration request is valid/active for 72 hours. If you have not received a response after 72 hours, you should contact your Main Authorizer (and your Alternate Authorizer, if designated). If your registration request has been made invalid/inactive, you will need to re-register to allow the Main Authorizer (and Alternate Authorizer, if designated) an additional 72 hours for response.

    If approved, you will receive an email from noreply@mycdeconnect.org with username and password information. If denied, you will receive an email from noreply@mycdeconnect.org with denial notification.

    Note: It is the responsibility of the Main Authorizers and the registrants to check their junk mail or have the SPAM email filter reviewed to check for any messages from noreply@mycdeconnect.org. They may need to communicate with their technology person to ensure that their system will allow receipt of emails from noreply@mycdeconnect.org.

  11. How does an Alternate Authorizer obtain a SARC user account (i.e., username and password) to access the SARC Web Application located in the myCDEconnect system?

    Step 1: Go to the myCDEconnect External link opens in new window or tab.. In the top right menu select “Registration”.

    Step 2: Select the button “I am registering to be an Alternate Authorizer”.

    Step 3: Type the name of the district or DFC school or NPS school; select the district or DFC school or NPS school, appropriately.

    Scroll to the bottom of the web page, select “Continue”.

    Step 4: Populate the requested information. All mandatory fields identified with an asterisk (*) must be completed in order to submit this form.

    Scroll to the bottom of the web page and select “Submit”.

    Step 5: You have completed the registration process. Print this confirmation web page for your records.

    Your registration request has been emailed to your Main Authorizer. The registration request is valid/active for 72 hours. If you have not received a response after 72 hours, you should contact your Main Authorizer. If your registration request has been made invalid/inactive, you will need to re-register to allow the Main Authorizer an additional 72 hours for response.

    If approved, you will receive an email from noreply@mycdeconnect.org with username and password information. If denied, you will receive an email from noreply@mycdeconnect.org with denial notification.

    Note: It is the responsibility of the Main Authorizers and the registrants to check their junk mail or have the SPAM email filter reviewed to check for any messages from noreply@mycdeconnect.org. They may need to communicate with their technology person to ensure that their system will allow receipt of emails from noreply@mycdeconnect.org.

  12. I have a SARC user account, but forgot my username and/or password. What do I do?

    Your username is the email address you used to register. If you forgot your password, go to the myCDEconnect login web page External link opens in new window or tab., select the Forgot Password link, type your email address that you used to register, select Request Reset Password.

    If you have an email address registered in the myCDEconnect system, you will receive an email containing a temporary password and a link to reset your password.

    If your name and/or email address has changed from the one you used to register, then you will need to request your Main Authorizer (and/or Alternate Authorizer, if designated) to delete your previous user account, so you can re-register with your new name and/or new email address.

    If you do not have an email address registered in the myCDEconnect system External link opens in new window or tab., you will need to register.

  13. Is there is specific date by which the SARCs are to be published and submitted to the CDE?

    Yes. SARCs must be published and submitted to the CDE no later than February 1 of each year.

    According to state and federal laws (EC sections 35256 and 35258, and ESEA Section 1111[h]), schools/LEAs must annually update and disseminate SARCs to provide current information to parents and other members of the public. The CDE interprets "annually" to mean "once in each school year." In most years, some of the required data may not be available until the end of October or later. Therefore, the preparation of report cards that comply with State Board of Education (SBE)-adopted requirements governing content and definitions may not be completed until November.

    Since SARCs must be prepared and disseminated before the end of each school year to comply with the law, schools/LEAs must prepare and make available their new SARCs no later than February 1 of each year.

  14. Who prepares the SARC - the schools or LEAs?

    This is a local decision made by the LEA. Each LEA may complete SARC reporting requirements differently, based on local resources and areas of expertise. The LEA is responsible for ensuring all SARCs are made available to the public by the required date.

  15. Are the schools/LEAs required to populate the tables/cells that have the letters DPC (data provided by the CDE) in the blank SARC template?

    Yes. The tables/cells that CDE indicated they would pre-populate is a courtesy not a legal mandate. The CDE is only legally mandated to provide a blank SARC template approved by the State Board of Education. However, as a courtesy, the CDE pre-populates a portion of the public school electronic SARC templates using the data the public schools/LEAs provided to the CDE during the school year.

    However, if for any reason, data was not uploaded into a table/cells of the electronic SARC template that have the letters DPC shown in the blank SARC template, the school/LEA is still requried to populate the table/cells.

    The public schools/nonpublic nonsectarian schools/LEAs are ultimately responsible for the completion of their entire SARCs, as well as for the accuracy of all data in their SARCs. Therefore, if any CDE pre-populated data do not accurately reflect district and/or school data, the LEAs/schools should correct the data as part of preparing and publishing their SARCs. There are a few tables/cells in the electronic SARC template where the pre-populated data are not editable: the teacher data, and the state data.

  16. Are the schools/LEAs required to validate the data that the CDE pre-populates into the electronic SARC template and related downloadable data files?

    Yes. The CDE pre-populates a portion of the SARC using the data that the public schools/LEAs provided to the CDE during the school year. However, when the school/LEA provided the data to the CDE, there is the possibility there could have been a typo. It is the responsibility of the school/LEA to validate the data prior to posting. The schools/LEAs are ultimately responsible for the completion of their entire SARC and for the accuracy of all data in their SARC.

  17. If I disagree with any of the data that CDE pre-populates into the electronic SARC template, can I edit it?

    Yes. The system is set up for the user to be able to edit data elements, including some the data that the CDE pre-populated into the SARC, except for the teacher data and state data. The CDE pre-populates portions of the SARC using the data that the public schools/LEAs provided to the CDE during the school year. However, when the school/LEA provided the data to the CDE, there is the possibility there could have been a typo. It is the responsibility of the school/LEA to validate the data prior to posting. Therefore, the school/LEA may edit data elements that they feel does not accurately reflect their school/LEA. The schools/LEAs are ultimately responsible for the completion of their entire SARCs and the accuracy of all data in their SARCs.

  18. Are newly opened schools required to prepare and disseminate a SARC in their first year of operation?

    Yes. The law (EC Section 35256) states that each local governing board shall develop and issue a SARC for each school in the school district. All available information and data must be published by the publication deadline. However, if a school had zero enrollment during the SARC year and zero enrollment during the current school year, then a SARC will not be required.

    The SBE-approved template provides the years that correspond to each table of requested data. Newly opened schools are to provide data in the SARC template tables/cells of those which years correspond with their new/first school year.

  19. If a school was open during the SARC year but is now closed, is a SARC required for this school?

    If there is no intention for this school to become active/open any time within the following two school years from the date of closure, then no, a SARC is not required.

    If there is intention for this school to become active/open any time within the following two school years from the date of closure, then yes, a SARC is required.

  20. Where are the SARCs located that are submitted to the CDE?

    The current SARCs and one prior year SARCs that have been submitted to the CDE are located on the Find a SARC web page External link opens in new window or tab. and available for public view/access/download.

    If a school's SARC report or web link to their SARC report is not available on the Find a SARC web page, please contact the school or district.

    School and district contact information is available on the California School Directory.

  21. Why does the CDE pre-populate a portion of the electronic SARC templates for public schools but not for nonpublic, nonsectarian schools?

    As a courtesy for public schools and districts, the CDE makes some SARC data available. Where the CDE maintains data previously reported by public LEAs, the data have been pre-populated into a portion of the electronic SARC templates for public schools' use. Nonpublic, nonsectarian schools do not provide the CDE with data, and therefore the CDE does not have data available to pre-populate these same data elements in their electronic SARC templates, with the exception of some district data and the state data.

  22. Are LEAs required to provide the CDE with a copy of the SARC for each of the LEA's schools?

    Yes. EC Section 33126.1 requires LEAs to provide the CDE with an accurate link to the website address where the LEA has posted its SARCs. EC Section 33126.1 also requires the CDE to maintain a centralized location of the submitted links to these LEA websites to facilitate public access to SARCs. In order to ensure uniformity and access by the public, the CDE has made available two methods for the schools/LEAs to submit their SARCs to the CDE: (1) use the online electronic SARC template on the SARC Web Application located in the myCDEconnect system to complete and post the SARC, or (2) upload an accurate uniform resource locator (URL) to the website address where the SARC has been posted on the school/LEA website.

    To be in compliance with the law, in addition to submitting their SARCs to the CDE, each school/LEA that is connected to the Internet shall also post their SARCs on their school/LEA website.

  23. What are the methods available for LEAs to submit their SARCs to the CDE?

    The SARC Web Application serves as the mechanism for each LEA to provide the CDE with its completed SARC. There are two methods available for LEAs to submit their SARCs to the CDE: (1) use the online partially pre-populated electronic SARC template on the SARC Web Application located in the myCDEconnect system to complete and post the SARC, or (2) upload an accurate URL to the website address where the SARC has been posted on the school/LEA website.

    If your LEA uses method 1 above, once you have finalized/posted the SARC on the SARC Web Application (if posted successfully there will be a checkmark in the "Finalized" column on the SARC Dashboard), a successfully posted SARC will simultaneously post on the CDE Find a SARC web page External link opens in new window or tab.. When using method 1, the Google Translate feature allows the user to view your SARC in over 70 languages. While in Google Translate, the user can save the translated SARC report as a PDF to their own computer to post on the school and/or district website. There will be no need to send any additional information to the CDE. Remember to post your SARC on your school/LEA website (English and all required translations). If you place a link to the CDE Find a SARC web page on your school/LEA website along with an informational and instructional notation (in English and in all the required translations), this will satisfy your legal requirements for posting your required translations.

    If your LEA uses method 2 above, once you have posted your SARC on your school/LEA website (English and all required translations), proceed to upload the active link to your completed SARC onto the SARC Web Application. If posted successfully, you will see a checkmark in the “Finalized” column on the SARC Dashboard web page and this link will simultaneously post on the CDE Find a SARC web page. There will be no need to send any additional information to the CDE.

  1. Are SARCs required to be prepared and disseminated in languages other than English?

    Yes. According to EC Section 48985, if 15 percent or more of the pupils enrolled in the school speak a single primary language other than English, all notices, reports, statements, or records sent by the school or district to the parent/guardian of any such pupil must, in addition to being written in English, be written in the primary language, and may be responded to by the parent or guardian in English or in the primary language. These translation requirements apply to the SARC just as they apply to any other written communication that a district or school prepares for the purpose of informing a student’s parent or guardian. In addition, federal law requires that schools and districts effectively communicate with all parents and guardians, regardless of the percentage of students who speak a language other than English (Title III, Section 3122[c]).

  2. Can edits be made to a SARC after it has been finalized and posted with the CDE?

    Yes, after a SARC has been finalized (made public), you can later go back and take it offline, revise, and republish it.

    To remove a published SARC, while on the SARC Dashboard, simply click on the red "stop" symbol located in the column Action Items, follow the prompts, revise your SARC, and republish it using the same steps when initially posting it.

    Note, after clicking on the red “stop” symbol, all the previous icons in the Action Items column will reappear for use.

    If posted the electronic SARC template, clicking the “stop” symbol does not delete the SARC, it merely removes it from public view.

    If uploaded a URL, clicking the “stop” symbol removes the URL.

  3. Where do I upload the translated SARCs?

    For posting SARCs translated to other languages, CDE recommends that you upload the translated SARCs onto your school/LEA website.

    For those SARCs (in English) that were completed and posted using the electronic SARC template available on the online SARC Web Application, Google Translate is available on the system to allow the user to view the SARCs in over 70 languages. While in Google translate, the user can save a translated SARC report as a PDF to their own computer.

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Content Requirements

  1. Are there specific items that must be included in the SARC?

    Yes. State and federal laws require specific items to be reported in the following categories: demographic information, school safety and climate for learning, academic data, school completion, class size, teacher and staff information, curriculum and instruction, postsecondary preparation, and fiscal and expenditure data, pursuant to EC sections 33126, 33126.1, 35256, and 52052, and ESEA Section 1111(h)(2).

  2. What are the reporting requirements related to facility inspections?

    Schools are required to have facility inspections. State law requires that information from the facility inspection report be reflected on the SARC in accordance with EC sections 33126 and 33126.1. The Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) Facility Inspection Tool (FIT) or a locally developed instrument that meets the same legal requirements must be utilized during these inspections to determine if a school facility is in "good repair" and to rate the facility accordingly.

    LEAs are to use the data collected in the school's most recent FIT report to populate the SARC regarding the school's facility conditions and the "good repair status" of the facility. The year and month of the most recent FIT report are also required to be provided on the SARC.

  3. How are school site expenditures per pupil calculated?

    Expenditures per pupil must be calculated to complete the SARC School Finances tables.

    Expenditure Categories:

    1. Total expenditures per pupil (includes both unrestricted and restricted sources)

      In calculating per pupil expenditures, you must calculate the current expense (cost) of education per average daily attendance (ADA) pursuant to EC Section 41372. The methodology is: cost of education divided by ADA equals per pupil expenditure. This same methodology is used to calculate total expenditures, basic expenditures, or supplemental expenditures. For additional guidance see the CDE Current Expense of Education and Per-pupil Spending web page.

      The calculation for total expenditures per pupil includes funds from both unrestricted and restricted sources. Funds from unrestricted sources are identified by resource codes in the 0000–1999 range and funds from restricted sources are identified by resource codes in the 2000–9999 range.

    2. Expenditure categories for current expense of education

      The following are the expenditure categories for the current expense of education:

      Account Code Description
      1000 Certificated Salaries
      2000 Classified Salaries
      3000 Employee Benefits (beginning in 2014–15, state payments to retirement systems on behalf of districts are included)
      4000 Books and Supplies
      6500 Equipment Replacement
      5000 & 7300 Services and Indirect Costs

      Note: From the total expenditures reported in the above accounts, costs for the following categories are deducted: (1) Non-agency activities; (2) Community Services; (3) Food Services; (4) Fringe Benefits for Retired Persons; and (5) Facilities Acquisition and Construction. For additional guidance see the CDE Current Expense of Education and Per-pupil Spending and the Certificated Salaries and Benefits web pages.

      Questions about the calculation should be directed to the CDE Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services at 916-322-1770 or by email to sacsinfo@cde.ca.gov.

    3. Expenditures per pupil (unrestricted sources)

      Funds or activities that are not legally restricted or restricted by the donor for specific purposes, but rather by the LEA's governing board, will be accounted for and reported as unrestricted. LEAs will need to review other local revenue received from external sources to determine whether legal or donor restrictions apply for purposes of restricted or unrestricted designations. Revenues that have restrictions on how the funds are spent are referred to as restricted revenues. They are accounted for in Resource codes in the 2000–9999 range. Revenues whose use is unrestricted in nature but which still have reporting requirements are accounted for in unrestricted Resource codes in the 1000–1999 range. Those activities using unrestricted revenues that do not have financial reporting or special accounting requirements are accounted for in Resource 0000, Unrestricted. For more information about classifying revenues and expenditures, see Procedure 310 in the California School Accounting Manual (CSAM) on the CDE Definitions, Instructions, & Procedures web page.

      Note: The calculation for expenditures per pupil funds from unrestricted sources are identified by Resource codes in the 0000–1999 range.

    4. Expenditures per pupil (restricted sources)

      Restricted programs or activities relating to the operation of kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) educational programs are considered a part of ordinary operations and are accounted for in the general fund. Within the general fund, restricted programs or activities must be identified, accounted for, and reported separately. This requirement means that general fund activities will be divided into restricted and unrestricted segments. This is achieved through the use of the resource field of the standardized account code structure. (The resource field is discussed in CSAM Procedure 310.)

      Restricted programs or activities are those funded from external revenue sources legally restricted or restricted by the donor to specific purposes. Examples include, but are not limited it, instructional materials, special education funds, and teacher and principal training funds. Unrestricted revenues are those funds whose uses are not subject to specific legal or donor constraints and may be used for any purposes not prohibited by law. Examples include, but are not limited to, Education Protection Account, state lottery (not the instructional materials portion), and undesignated local parcel tax funds. Programs funded by a combination of restricted and unrestricted sources will be accounted for and reported as restricted.

      Note: The calculation for expenditures per pupil funds from restricted sources are identified by Resource codes in the 2000–9999 range.

    5. The formula to calculate the Percent Difference is:


      image formula: (V1-V2/(V1+V2/2))x100=Percent Difference.


      V1 = School Site Value
      V2 = District Value or State Value

      Additional resources

  4. How should data on the graduation rate be reported?

    EC Section 33126 requires the reporting of the graduation rate as defined by the SBE when available pursuant to EC Section 52052. In addition, the ESEA requires the reporting of a graduation rate as a condition of federal funding.

    The high school graduation rate is calculated using the following cohort graduation rate formula:

    Number of cohort members who earned a regular high school diploma by the end of year 4 in the cohort

    - divided by -

    Number of first-time grade 9 students in year 1 (starting cohort) plus students who transfer in,
    minus students who transfer out, emigrate, or die during school years 1, 2, 3, and 4

  5. Are county offices of education, when preparing SARCs on behalf of schools operated by the county office, required to report average salaries and expenditures in the Fiscal and Expenditure Data section of the SARC?

    County offices of education that operate schools are not required to report the statewide average salary and expenditure information specified in EC Section 41409. However, EC sections 33126 and 33126.15 (as amended and added by Senate Bill 687 of 2005) require all school report cards -- including those prepared for schools operated by county offices -- to report specified school-level salary and expenditure information.

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SARC Templates

  1. Where is the blank SARC template?

    The blank SARC template is located on the CDE SARC web page under the subsection SARC Preparation Resources.

  2. Where are the partially pre-populated electronic SARC templates located?

    The partially pre-populated electronic SARC templates are available in the online SARC Web Application External link opens in new window or tab. located in the myCDEconnect system. A hyperlink to the online SARC Web Application is available on the CDE SARC web page.

  3. Are LEAs required to use the template approved by the SBE?

    No. However, EC Section 33126.1(j) states:

    A school or school district that chooses not to utilize the standardized template adopted pursuant to this section shall report the data for its school accountability report card in a manner that is consistent with the definitions adopted pursuant to subdivision (c).

    EC Section 33126.1(c) states:

    When the template for a school is completed, it should enable parents and guardians to compare the manner in which local schools compare to other schools within that district as well as other schools in the state.

    Furthermore, EC Section 35256(a) states:

    The School Accountability Report Card shall include, but is not limited to, the conditions listed in Section 33126.

  4. Can LEAs modify the model SARC template?

    Yes. The CDE has designed the model SARC template in a Word version and electronically in the online SARC Web Application, both can be modified. A SARC template may be modified if a table is not applicable to the school based on grade levels (see example below).

    Tables in the blank SARC template in Word can be modified or deleted if not applicable based on grade levels. Whole tables in the electronic SARC template can be restricted from public view by selecting the checkbox "Do not display this table to the public" located at the top of each electronic table, then selecting the "Save" button.

    For example, an elementary school with grades kindergarten through grade six are not required to complete the Dropout Rate and Graduation Rate (Four-Year Cohort Rate) table as it pertains to high school grades nine through twelve. Therefore, the Dropout Rate and Graduation Rate (Four-Year Cohort Rate) table may be deleted or restricted from the public view, appropriately.

  5. Where can I access prior year SARC Reports?

    California law only references the publication and posting of current SARCs. The CDE, LEAs, and schools are not required to maintain or post prior year SARCs.

    However, as a courtesy, many LEAs and schools continue to maintain and post their prior year SARCs on their websites, and make hard copies available upon request.

    The CDE posts the current SARCs and one prior year SARCs that have been submitted to the CDE on the CDE Find a SARC web page External link opens in new window or tab..

    Additionally, the CDE maintains the blank SARC templates and downloadable SARC data files of the current SARC and one prior year SARC on the CDE SARC web page.

Questions: SARC TEAM | sarc@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0406 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 07, 2022