Guidance for Issuing School CodesThe following guidance will be used by California Department of Education (CDE) staff to determine if and when a school code shall be issued to a new or changing public school.
This guidance will be applied uniformly and without regard to fiscal circumstances or funding eligibility. For further guidance on the fiscal impact of CDS code changes as they relate to charter schools, please visit the CDE Charter School Funding web page.
Conditions Under Which a New School Code Shall Be Issued
Establishment of a New School
Newly established schools that are approved by the local governing board shall be issued a new school code upon applying for a county-district-school (CDS) code, provided the school meets the definition of a school as defined on the Definition of a School web page.
Change in Educational Options Type
Schools that change their Educational Options type, or close and reopen under a different Educational Options type shall be issued a new school code. In cases where a school’s program has not changed, yet their Educational Options type was originally identified incorrectly, the CDE will correct the Educational Options type without issuing a new school code.
The Educational Options type identifies the type of educational program being administered by the school based on authorizing sections of the California Education Code (EC).
Educational Options types are categorized and defined as:
- Alternative School of Choice: A school or separate class group within a school which is operated as provided in EC Section 58500.
- Community Day School: A school that serves expelled students who are referred by a School Attendance Review Board (SARB), and other high-risk youths as provided in EC Section 48660.
- Continuation School: A high school diploma program designed to meet the needs of students sixteen through eighteen years of age who have not graduated from high school, are not exempt from compulsory school attendance, and are deemed at risk of not completing their education as provided in EC sections 48400 and 48430 through 48454.
- County Community School: A school that provides an educational placement for students who are expelled from their regular schools, referred by a SARB or at the request of the student’s parent or guardian, referred by probation (pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code sections 300, 601, 602 and 654), on probation or parole and are not in attendance in any school as provided in EC Section 1981.
- District Special Education Consortia School: A school that is established by a group of districts that agree to appoint one of the districts as a lead to administer special education instruction for students throughout the districts in the consortium.
- Home and Hospital: A school that serves students who incur a temporary disability, which makes attendance in the regular day classes or alternative education program impossible or inadvisable, as provided in EC Section 48206.3.
- Juvenile Court School: A school that provides an educational program that meets the needs of students who have been incarcerated in juvenile halls or placed in group homes, ranches, camps, day centers, or regional youth facilities, as well as students who have been expelled from their home district schools because of a status offense or other infraction or behavior governed by the Welfare and Institutions Code or EC, as provided in EC Section 48645.
- Opportunity School: A school that serves students who are habitually truant, irregular in attendance, insubordinate, disorderly, or failing academically by providing a supportive environment with specialized curriculum, instruction, guidance and counseling, psychological services, and tutorial assistance to help students overcome barriers to learning.
- Regional Occupational Program: A program that provides career and workforce preparation for high school students and adults, preparation for advanced training, and the upgrading of existing skills.
- Special Education School: A school that serves the unique needs of students with disabilities so that each student shall meet or exceed high standards of achievement in academic and nonacademic skills.
- State Special School: A school that provides a variety of direct services to students with special needs, their parents, and local educational agencies (LEAs) through programs it operates.
- State Special Schools Diagnostic Center: A center that helps LEAs with their most difficult-to-serve special education students ages two years and nine months through twenty-two years.
- Youth Authority School: A school that provides compulsory public education services for juvenile offenders who have been committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice as described in Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 1120 – 1125.5.
- Traditional: A school that does not fall under any of the above specific Educational Options types. Charter schools, unless operating a specific Educational Options type as described above, shall be classified as “traditional.”
Conditions Under Which a New School Code Shall Not Be Issued
Change in Grade-Level Type
Schools that change their Grade-Level type, or close and reopen with a different Grade-Level type, shall not be issued a new school code.
Grade-Level types are categorized and defined as:
- Adult: A school established pursuant to EC sections 52501 and 52503 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Chapter 10.2, Subchapter 1, Article 5, Section 10560, for persons eighteen years of age or older or persons who are not simultaneously enrolled in an adult school and a high school. This does not include charter schools that provide instruction exclusively in partnership with programs pursuant to EC Section 47612.1.
- Elementary: A school offering services to, or serving students in, any of grade levels kindergarten including transitional kindergarten through grade eight, unless the school meets the grade level conditions for intermediate. Elementary may also include the preschool grade level, but may not be comprised of only preschool.
- Elementary Secondary Combination: A school offering services, or serving students in, any of grade levels kindergarten (including transitional kindergarten) through grade twelve, unless the school meets only the grade level conditions for elementary, intermediate, or high.
- High School: A school offering services to, or serving students in, any of grade levels seven through twelve, unless the school meets the grade level conditions for intermediate.
- Intermediate (Includes Middle and Junior High): A school offering services to, or serving students in, any of grade levels five through nine.
- Preschool: A school offering programs for, or serving students thirty-six to sixty months of age that are not enrolled in transitional kindergarten or kindergarten.
Change in Grade Span
Schools that change the grade span offered shall not be issued a new school code.
Merger Resulting in a Consolidation of Grades Offered
When a school assumes the student population and grade(s) of another school(s), the assuming school will not receive a new school code. The grade span, and potentially the grade-level type, of the assuming school will be updated, if applicable, to reflect the new grades offered. The other school(s) will be closed.
For further guidance on mergers, splits, and other significant grade level type changes for charter schools, please contact the Charter Schools Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reopening a School
Closed schools that elect to reopen under the same Grade Level type and Educational Options type within two years of closure shall not be issued a new school code. Closed schools that elect to reopen after two or more years of closure shall be reviewed by CDS Administration for a determination to reuse the old CDS code or issue a new CDS code.
Change in Location
Schools that relocate and change their physical address shall not be issued a new school code.
Change in Charter Status
Non-charter schools that convert to a charter school, and vice versa, shall not be issued a new school code.
Change in Authorizer
Schools that undergo a change in authorizing agencies, or that are involved in a district reorganization (merger or split), shall not be issued a new school code. In these cases the district portion of the school’s CDS code will change to reflect the district code of their new authorizer, however, their school code will remain the same.
Conditions Which Require Further Consideration to Determine Whether or Not a New School Code Shall Be Issued
In cases where a merger, or consolidation, of two or more schools results in more than just a consolidation of grades, such as a significant change to the school’s governance structure, program(s), or the student population being served, LEAs shall consult with CDE staff for guidance on whether or not the schools involved in the merger shall be closed and a new school shall be established. The school’s accountability performance will be considered when determining which school code shall be retained, or if the establishment of a new school is necessary.
When a school undergoes a division of grades offered to form one or more new schools, a new school code will be issued to the newly established school(s). LEAs shall consult with CDE staff for guidance on whether or not the original school shall be modified to reflect a change in grades offered, and potentially grade-level type, or if the original school shall be closed and new schools shall be established. Factors that will be considered when determining if the original school shall remain open include whether or not the school will just be undergoing a grade span change, or if the result of the split is more significant and involves a change to the school’s governance structure, program(s), or the student population being served. The school’s accountability performance will also be considered when determining whether or not the original school shall remain open.
In the event that a school undergoes a change involving extraordinary circumstances, or a change not currently covered in these guidelines, the CDE will work with the LEA to evaluate the change and will make a determination as to whether or not a new school code is necessary. The CDE’s evaluation will include an assessment of whether or not a significant change has occurred in the school’s population, governance structure, program(s), or in the case of a charter school, charter petition. The CDE will also consider the impact the change will have on the school’s accountability performance level.
Effective: December 3, 2018
Updated: March 15, 2021