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CARS Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the Consolidated Application and Reporting System (CARS).

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User Access

Q. Why does the system time out in the middle of my data entry?
A. The system is set to time out after an hour of inactivity. The system resets the timer each time data is saved. If you are working in a data collection, then periodically save the data collection, even if it is incomplete or not all business rules have been met. This will reset the timer. If you are entering school level data for a large district and periodically saving data is not practical, then we recommend downloading the Schools Template, entering the school data using Excel, and then uploading the Schools File. (Note: you will need to perform a “Save As” to .xls format when saving the School Template.) Also, if you have multiple browser sessions of CARS open, if one session times out, then all sessions will automatically time out.

Q. I forgot my password. How do I reset it?
A. If the username and/or password entered is incorrect, the system will give an “Invalid logon” message in red lettering. If you are sure that the username entered is correct, then it is the entered password that is causing the error message. To reset a forgotten password, from the CARS logon screen, follow these steps:

  • Select the “Forgot Password” link from the CAS User Links options. The link redirects you to the Centralized Authentication System (CAS).
  • Enter your user name.
  • Enter your email address.
  • Select one of the two security questions that you chose when you created your user account, then enter the answer you previously chose. Note: If you do not remember either of your security questions, then we recommend attempting to answer all of the security questions until you answer one correctly as the system will not lock you out for answering a question incorrectly.
  • Select Submit.
  • A message stating that an email has been sent will display. If you don’t receive the email in your inbox, then please check your junk email folder.
  • The email will contain a long alphanumeric Temporary User ID; highlight it up to the period, do a Ctrl c (to copy it), then select the "go to" link in the email. If the link in the email is not a live link, then the link will need to be copied and pasted into a browser before the Temporary User ID is copied.
  • After the link has opened, make sure the cursor is in the Temporary User ID field, then do a Ctrl v (to paste it).
  • Enter a new password into the second field. Passwords must meet the following criteria: at least eight characters; at least one uppercase letter; at least one lowercase letter; at least one number; and at least one special character, such as !@#$%^&*.
  • Enter the new password, again, into the third field.
  • Select the Enter key or Submit option.

If everything was done correctly, then the system will indicate in black lettering that your password reset was successful.

Q. Do passwords expire?
A. Yes. After an attempt to logon, if your password has expired, then the CARS screen will display a password expired statement in red lettering. To reset an expired password, from the CARS logon screen, follow these steps:

  • Select the "Update" link from the CAS User Links options. The link redirects you to the Centralized Authentication System (CAS).
  • Enter your username.
  • Enter your Current Password.
  • From the Menu, select Update Password.
  • Enter your current password.
  • Enter a new password.
  • Then enter the new password, again, in the Confirm Password field.
  • Select Update.

A message stating that you successfully updated your password should display. It is important to remember that CAS does not take you back to CARS. So, once you have successfully updated your password, you must log out of CAS. Close any browser windows that were open to CAS and/or CARS, wait one to five minutes, then log into CARS with your username and new password.

Note: Please do not let your system save your password. If the password field on the CARS logon screen displays dots or asterisks, then it is likely your old password that is still saved there. You may have to clear the cache from your computer in order to delete the old saved password. You can consult with your own technology office for assistance in clearing your cache from your particular system.

Q. I get the message “CARS access is not available to this user” when I try to logon. Why don’t I have access?
A. Access to CARS is granted by each LEA’s User Administrator. This message means that you have not been granted access to any LEAs. For each LEA you need to access, contact the LEA User Administrator and provide them with your username. If you do not know who the User Administrator is, then contact the ConApp Support Desk at conappsupport@cde.ca.gov. If you have been designated by the LEA Superintendent or Charter Administrator as the new LEA User Administrator, then have the LEA Superintendent or Charter Administrator send an email to the ConApp Support Desk that includes the County-District-School (CDS) code for your LEA; your username; and your email account so that a support team member can set you up as the LEA User Administrator.

Q. I am a service provider for charter schools. How do I get access to all the charters I support?
A. First, register a user account in the Centralized Authentication System (CAS) if you have not already done so. Next, contact the LEA User Administrator for each charter you support. Each LEA User Administrator needs to add you to their CARS and assign the appropriate roles. If the Charter Administrators have designated you as their new LEA User Administrator, then have them contact the ConApp Support Desk to authorize us to grant you access.

Q. Our LEA User Administrator needs to be changed. What is the process we should follow?
A. If the current LEA User Administrator is still available, they can add the new LEA User Administrator. Otherwise CDE will need an email from the Superintendent or Charter Administrator designating the new LEA User Administrator.

Q. I no longer receive emails with information about CARS. How can I receive those emails again?
A. There are several possibilities:

  • If you previously subscribed to our listserv and your email address has changed, you will need to re-subscribe by sending a blank message from your current email address, to join-consolidated-application@mlist.cde.ca.gov.
  • Your email system may be directing the messages to your “Junk” folder.
  • Your email security may be blocking the messages as spam.
  • You were, but are no longer, an LEA User Administrator in CARS (the role was removed from your username) and therefore you are no longer receiving messages that we send solely to User Administrators. However, if you subscribe to our listserv then you will receive messages that we send to that distribution list. To subscribe to our listserv send a blank message to join-consolidated-application@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

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Data Collection Status

Q. One of the data collections has a status of “Certified Obsolete”. What should we do?
A. A data collection becomes Certified-Obsolete when data that the data collection is dependent on changes in such a way that a calculation or business rule is broken. To clear the Certified-Obsolete status the data collection must be opened, resaved as draft, and (after resolving all issues) certified. If the data collection remains as Certified-Obsolete, the data collection is considered unsubmitted and the data will not be used.


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School Allocations

Q. We are not able to allocate all of the Title I funding to schools, due to the limit of two decimal places. This is causing an error message. How do we resolve this?
A. When you have allocated as much as possible and have a positive unallocated amount of $1.00 or more, you will need to reopen the Title I, Part A LEA Allocation and Reservations form, add the unallocated amount (in $1.00 increments) to one of your reservations and then return to the Title I, Part A School Allocations form to verify the unallocated amount is under $1.00. Note: Be sure to resave the form for the update to apply.

If too much funding has been allocated making the unallocated amount negative (indicated by a parenthesis surrounding the unallocated amount), then it will be necessary to make further adjustments until the unallocated amount is between zero and $1.00.


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Data Dependency

Q. Sometimes, when I open a data collection displayed on my Home tab, the data entry form says: No schools need data entered at this time (data collection is not relevant to the LEA). Why is the data collection displayed on my Home tab?
A. In some cases, relevancy (i.e., whether a data collection is applicable to the LEA) is easy for the system to determine. For example, it is relatively easy to determine relevancy based on whether the LEA received an entitlement for a particular program so that CARS will or will not display any data collections associated with that particular program. In other cases, there may be a number of complex criteria that have to be considered to determine relevancy, and those criteria cannot be determined until the data entry form is opened. In these cases, the note displayed at the top of the form reflects the criteria taken into consideration.


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Printing the ConApp

Q. How do we print the ConApp?
A. Select the Reports tab. Select the appropriate fiscal year. District-level forms can be selected as a group or individually. School-level forms must be selected individually. Selected reports will open in PDF format, from which you may print.

Q. How do we print the School Student Counts data entry form?
A. The School Student Counts form does not have a report. The data from that form is used to pre-populate information that is needed in the Title I, Part A School Allocation form and so all student counts are displayed there.

Q. When printing the data entry form, how do we make the font larger?
A. The font sizes in the data entry forms are standard and cannot be changed – the data entry forms are not designed to be printed. A report of each form is available under the Reports tab and can be printed from there. Most browsers allow the user to adjust the view of the screen by Zooming in or out.


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Revisions

Q. We certified our data. Can we make a revision?
A. You can change and recertify data as long as the data collection is still open. Under the Data Entry Forms tab, if you can see the link to a data collection, then it is still open. Be advised that if the change you make would cause data in another dependent data collection to no longer pass a validation rule, then the system will change the dependent data collection to Certified-Obsolete status. If this happens, you will need to open the dependent data collection, correct the data so that it will pass the validation check, and then re-certify the dependent data collection.

Q. We need to make a change to a data collection that is now closed.  How do we make the change?
A. If an LEA is required to change the data reported on a closed form in the CARS, or has been told to complete a closed prior year data collection, then the LEA must send an email to the ConApp Support Desk at conappsupport@cde.ca.gov containing:

  • Subject Line – Requesting re-opening of CARS Data Collection;
  • LEA name;
  • LEA County-District-School (CDS) code;
  • Full name of person requesting re-opening;
  • Contact information of person requesting re-opening (email and phone);
  • The specific data collection(s) that need(s) to be re-opened;
  • A detailed explanation of why the form(s) needs to be re-opened and what changes will be made;
  • If applicable, the name of the CDE program staff person who has directed the LEA to revise or complete the data collection.

The ConApp Support Desk will obtain authorization to re-open the form(s) from CDE program staff. When the data collection is reopened, it will be open only for a very short time. The timing of when the data collection is re-opened will depend on the ConApp Support team’s workload, data collection cycles, and the availability of program staff.

CDE staff may follow up as needed with LEA staff to ensure the corrections are satisfactorily completed.

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Questions:   ConApp Support Desk | conappsupport@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0297
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
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