Dear County and District Superintendents:
Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program
Applicable to the 2020-21 School Year and Thereafter
The 2019–20 budget package signed into law in June 2019, provides $36 million in funding for the Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program (CSESAP). The California Department of Education (CDE) will apportion funds to participating local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide up to a dollar for dollar match on amounts withheld from the LEA's participating classified school employees’ monthly pay checks during the 2020–21 school year in August 2021. For any fiscal year thereafter, the operation of CSESAP shall be contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute. For purposes of this program, a participating LEA may include a school district or county office of education.
California Education Code (EC) Section 45500 added by Section 27 of Senate Bill (SB) 75 (Chapter 51, Statutes of 2019), and amended by Section 5 of Assembly Bill (AB) 114 (Chapter 413, Statutes of 2019), establishes the CSESAP that became effective for funds appropriated in the 2019–20 fiscal year, and thereafter if funds are made available. It is important to note that statutes governing the CSESAP including certain eligibility criteria as enacted in the 2019–20 budget package differs from requirements in the 2018–19 budget package for the CSESAP as implemented by Section 133 of AB 1808 (Chapter 32, Statutes of 2018), as amended by Section 37 of AB 1840 (Chapter 426, Statutes of 2018).
Pursuant to EC Section 45500, LEAs have the option to elect to participate in the CSESAP. The following is a summary of key dates and requirements that LEAs need to be aware of in implementing the program if the LEA decides to participate in any year in which funds are made available:
- By January 1 of the fiscal year in which funds are appropriated, a participating LEA shall notify classified employees that the LEA has elected to participate in the program for the next school year (applicable school year). Once an LEA elects to participate in the program and notifies classified employees, the LEA is prohibited from reversing the decision.
- By March 1 of the fiscal year in which funds are appropriated, a classified employee that elects to participate in the program shall notify the LEA in writing, on a form prescribed by the CDE. To participate, the classified employee must meet certain eligibility criteria, specify amounts to be withheld up to 10 percent from their monthly paychecks for the applicable school year, and choose whether to receive one or two payments during the summer recess period. Detailed eligibility requirements are described further below.
- By April 1 of the fiscal year in which funds are appropriated, a participating LEA shall notify the CDE that it elected to participate in the program, specify the number of classified employees that have elected to participate, and estimate the total amount to be withheld from participating classified employee paychecks for the applicable school year.
- By June 1 of the fiscal year in which funds are appropriated, a participating LEA shall notify participating classified employees of the estimated amount of state match funding the employee can expect to receive as a result of participating in the program.
- During the applicable school year, a participating LEA shall withhold specified amounts from their participating classified employees' monthly paychecks. Participating employees are allowed to withdraw their election to participate in the CSESAP or reduce the amount of the withholding, by notifying the LEA no later than 30 days after the start of school instruction for the applicable school year. In addition, a classified employee that separates from employment with the LEA or has economic or personal hardship during the applicable school year of the withholding, may request from the LEA any pay withheld for the CSESAP from their paycheck. A classified employee who requests any pay withheld is not entitled to receive any state match funds under this program.
- On or before July 31 following the end of the applicable school year, a participating LEA shall request payment from the CDE on a form developed by the CDE for the amount of classified employee pay withheld. If the total amount requested by LEAs exceeds the appropriated amount available for the CSESAP, the CDE will apply a proration accordingly.
- During summer recess of the applicable school year, LEAs must pay their classified employees the amounts withheld from their monthly paychecks plus the CSESAP match funds expected from the state, in one or two payments in accordance with the employee's selected payment option. The summer recess period may vary for each LEA, and is the period that regular class sessions are not being held by the LEA during the months of June, July, and August.
If an LEA makes an election to participate in the CSESAP, it is important to note that a classified employee must meet certain eligibility criteria as a condition of participation in the CSESAP. Classified employees must meet the below criteria applicable to the 2020–21 school year and thereafter:
- The employee must have been employed with the LEA for at least one year at the time the employee elects to participate.
- The employee is employed by the LEA in their regular assignment for 11 months or less, out of a 12-month period. For purposes of determining total months employed, the employing LEA shall exclude any hours worked outside of the regular assignment.
- The regular annual pay the classified employee receives directly from the LEA is $62,400 or less for an entire school year, at the time of enrollment. For purposes of determining regular annual pay, exclude any pay received by the classified employee during the previous summer recess period. Pay earned by a classified employee with limited employment during the months of June, July, or August that is not for the summer session shall not be excluded.
Participating LEAs are also required to deposit amounts withheld from their participating classified employees' monthly paychecks in a separate account. It is important for LEAs to consider the above requirements for the CSESAP to ensure effective implementation of the program. In addition, LEAs should also be aware that strict adherence to the CDE reporting timeframes is critical to ensure state match funds can be apportioned to the LEA for their participating classified employees.
The CDE will notify participating LEAs of the estimated state match funds the LEA can expect to receive by May 1, each fiscal year in which funds are appropriated. The CDE will make the required apportionment for the state match funds in August following the applicable school year withholdings were made. The CDE prescribed forms described above and additional program guidance will be forthcoming and made available on CDE’s CSESAP web page at: https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ca/csesap.asp.
If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact Derrick Andrade, Fiscal Consultant, School Fiscal Services Division, by phone at 916-327-5922, or by email at email@example.com.
Elizabeth Dearstyne, Interim Director
School Fiscal Services Division