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Charter School Special Advance

This web page is designed to provide charter schools with information about obtaining special advance funding in the first year of operation or in a year of expansion.

Introduction

This web page is a primer for newly operational and expanding charter schools seeking state funding. It contains an overview of the eligibility and requirements for advance funding for newly operational and expanding charter schools, an overview of the data collection and apportionment process, instructions for subscribing to the listserv, and apportionment summaries and payment schedules for the Charter School Special Advance apportionments.

For most charter schools, the largest source of revenue is the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which are unrestricted funds received through a process known as the Principal Apportionment. Each fiscal year, the California Department of Education (CDE) certifies the Advance Principal Apportionment in July and funding is calculated based on prior year Second Principal (P-2) Apportionment data. This apportionment determines a local educational agency’s (LEA) LCFF State Aid payments for the months of July through January. New charter schools will not have prior year apportionment data and will not receive LCFF State Aid in the Advance Principal Apportionment. Expanding charter schools will receive LCFF State Aid in the Advance Principal Apportionment based upon prior year P-2 apportionment data.

To begin the flow of state funding for new charter schools and to provide funding for additional pupils in expanding charter schools, an alternative data collection system, apportionment process, and payment schedule have been established. The alternative advance apportionment, called the Charter School Special Advance, provides new and expanding charter schools with LCFF State Aid for the months covered by the Advance Principal Apportionment (July through January). New and expanding charter schools will report current year attendance data to CDE in January and again in May. Based on that data, LCFF State Aid will be recalculated and payments for the remaining fiscal year will be adjusted based on the charter school’s new LCFF entitlement through the Principal Apportionment process.

Detailed information about the alternative data collection process, apportionment and payment schedule, and web-based data collection software programs follows.

New Charter Schools

New charter schools are eligible for a Charter School Special Advance of LCFF funding in their first year of operation pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 47652 External link opens in new window or tab. provided the school begins instruction by September 30th, has been numbered by the State Board of Education (SBE), and has a County-District-School (CDS) code. This funding is not automatically generated. Charter schools must submit a Pupil Estimates for New and Significantly Expanding Charters (PENSEC) Report and a Charter 20 Day Report in order to receive this funding. The Charter School Special Advance includes a portion of the charter school’s estimated LCFF State Aid based upon preliminary attendance and enrollment data. CDE also calculates the amount of In-lieu of Property Taxes due to the charter school from its sponsoring school district(s). To determine which school district(s) are a charter school’s sponsor(s), see In-lieu of Property Taxes.

New charter schools that have both a charter number and CDS code not later than July may file the PENSEC Report. The first Charter School Special Advance apportionment represents funding for the estimated attendance in the PENSEC Report and provides for an LCFF State Aid of approximately 37 percent of the charter school’s estimated annual LCFF entitlement with the payment usually being issued by the State Controller’s Office (SCO) by the end of September.

New charters that filed the PENSEC Report must, and charters newly numbered not later than September that have both a SBE charter number and CDS code may, file the Charter 20 Day Report which represents actual attendance data for the first 20 days of instruction. The second Charter School Special Advance apportionment is based on the Charter 20 Day Report data and represents 55 percent of the charter school’s estimated annual LCFF entitlement less any monies already received in the PENSEC. Warrants are typically issued by SCO at the end of December.

New charter schools will also receive Education Protection Account (EPA) funding based upon the data collected in the PENSEC and Charter 20 Day reports. The EPA entitlement is a portion of an LEA’s state aid, but it is calculated separately and paid on a quarterly basis. For more information on the calculation and payment schedule of EPA entitlements, see the EPA Frequently Asked Questions.

The PENSEC is also used to collect apportionment data to establish a preliminary allocation of federal categorical funding. See the PENSEC Instructions for additional information.

In order for a charter school to submit a PENSEC or Charter 20 Day Report and receive funding, the following items are needed:

  • Charter School Number
    In order to receive funding for state and federal programs administered by CDE, each charter school must obtain a charter number from the SBE. The charter number must be assigned by the SBE before a County-District-School (CDS) code can be issued.

  • County-District-School (CDS) Code
    The 14-digit CDS code is the official, unique identification of a school within California. The first two digits identify the county code, the next five digits identify the authorizing LEA code, and the last seven digits identify the school code.

    In order for a charter school to apply for and obtain certain types of funding, a CDS code must be assigned to the school. While an application for a CDS code for a charter school may be submitted to the CDE up to one year from the school’s first date of instruction, a CDS code will not be assigned to a charter school until the school has obtained a charter number from the SBE and has established a location. A charter school may be operational and serving students without a CDS code, however, certain public funds will not be received without a CDS code.

  • Annual Information Survey
    The Charter Schools Division of CDE releases its Charter School Annual Information Survey each year in April or May and is due to CDE in June. The purpose of the survey is to gather current information about charter school contact information, petition renewal and expiration date, type of instruction offered, and funding type. The information is used by School Fiscal Services Division to ensure LCFF funding and payments are correctly calculated. Schools numbered by the SBE in July or after should contact CDE’s Charter School’s Division at charterdata@cde.ca.gov for guidance on how to report to CDE the necessary information to receive funding.

Following are some general guidelines and requirements charter schools should consider:

  • Charter Term
    CDE strongly recommends that charter petition effective dates align with the funding fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, to avoid any disruption with a mid-year renewal or possible mid-year closure. A mid-year closure may subject the charter school to severe instructional time penalties and adjustments to days of operation, both of which may impact funding.

  • Instruction Dates
    Pursuant to EC Section 47652 External link opens in new window or tab., instruction must begin by September 30th in order for a new charter school to be eligible for state general purpose and select state and federal categorical program funding in the current year.

  • Days of Operation
    A charter school must provide 175 days of actual instruction in order to receive its full apportionment. If a charter school operates a multitrack school calendar, it must operate 175 days for each track pursuant to EC 47612. If the charter school does not provide the required number of days of instruction, it is subject to a proportionate reduction in funding unless the closure is due to an emergency pursuant to EC sections 41422, 46200, 46391, 46392 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 428. (See Form J-13A for more information on school closure due to emergencies.)

  • Senate Bill (SB) 740 Nonclassroom-based Instruction Determination of Funding
    Charter schools that offer nonclassroom-based instruction may need to have a SB 740 Determination of Funding approved by the SBE in order to receive funding for the nonclassroom-based average daily attendance (ADA) pursuant to EC Section 47612.5. Charter schools that are solely nonclassroom-based, and schools that offer blended programs (both classroom and nonclassroom-based) must follow the timelines for funding determination.

    For new charter schools, determinations of funding should be obtained no later than the SBE May meeting during the first year of operation. Continuing charter schools must have an approved funding determination in place before the fiscal year begins. Information on the Funding Determination approval process is located on CDE’s website. If the charter school does not have a Nonclassroom-Based Determination of Funding, but could fall below the 80 percent classroom-based threshold, it should proactively seek a funding determination.
Expanding Charter Schools

Charter School Special Advance funding is also available in any year that a charter school is adding at least one new grade level. It is provided in addition to the regular Advance Apportionment funding that is based on the prior year’s P-2 apportionment data. This funding is not automatically generated. Charter schools must submit a PENSEC Report and a Charter 20 Day Report in order to receive this funding. Charter School Special Advance funding for charter schools that are adding grade levels includes a portion of the charter school’s estimated LCFF state aid based upon preliminary attendance and enrollment data for the new grade level(s). Pursuant to EC Section 47652, the ADA for additional advance funding is limited by capping the ADA in the new grade level(s) so as not to exceed the ADA of the highest grade served by the charter school as certified at P-2 in the prior year.

The PENSEC Report represents estimated attendance for the new grade levels and provides for an advance of approximately 37 percent of the charter school’s estimated annual LCFF entitlement for the additional ADA with the payment usually being issued by the SCO by the end of September.

Charter schools that filed the PENSEC Report and received funding in the Charter School Special Advance must file the Charter 20 Day Report, which represents actual attendance data for the first 20 days of instruction. An eligible charter school may submit a Charter 20 Day Report even if it did not submit a PENSEC Report. The Second Special Advance Apportionment represents 55 percent of the charter school’s estimated annual LCFF entitlement less any monies already received in the PENSEC. Warrants are typically issued by SCO at the end of December.

The PENSEC is also used to collect apportionment data to establish a preliminary allocation of federal categorical funding for expanding charter schools. See the PENSEC Instructions for additional information.

Overview of the Charter School Special Advance Data Collection and Apportionment Process

Following is a brief summary of the current data collection and payment schedule for the Charter School Special Advance:

First Special Advance Apportionment for New and Expanding Charter Schools
  • PENSEC software is released in early July.
  • Data is due to CDE by the end of July. See the instructions of current version of the software (below) for the exact due date. 
  • Data is used to calculate LCFF State Aid, EPA entitlements for newly operational charter schools only, and certain federal categorical programs, which are paid separately.
  • The first Charter School Special Advance apportionment equals 37 percent of the annualized entitlement of LCFF State Aid and covers the months of July through November.
    • Payment is typically made in late September.
    • Payment is issued electronically by the SCO to county treasurers who then pay the charter school according to whether it has elected to be direct or locally funded.
  • First Charter School Special Advance also includes an apportionment of LCFF State Aid for sponsoring school districts that are not basic aid. The apportionment is equal to 28 percent of the annualized In-lieu of Property Taxes due to the charter school from its sponsoring school district(s).
  • For expanding charter schools and sponsoring school districts, Charter School Special Advance Funding is provided in addition to funding apportioned in the regular Advance Apportionment.
  • If the charter school applies for funding in the First Charter School Special Advance, it must complete the Charter 20 Day Report.
Second Special Advance Apportionment for New and Expanding Charter Schools
  • Charter 20 Day software is released in early September.
  • Data is due to CDE by the end of October. See the instructions of current version of the software (below) for the exact due date.
  • Data is used to calculate LCFF State Aid and EPA entitlements for newly operational and significantly expanding (state) charter schools only. This data is not used for federal categorical programs.
    • The second Charter School Special Advance equals 55 percent of the annualized entitlement of LCFF State Aid recalculated using data collected in the Charter 20 Day Report less amounts received in the first Charter School Special Advance apportionment.
    • Payments are typically made in late December.
  • A charter school may apply for funding in the second Charter School Special Advance even it did not submit a PENSEC Report for funding in the first Charter School Special Advance. If the charter school received an apportionment in the first Charter School Special Advance, it must complete the Charter 20 Day Report pursuant to EC Section 47652.
Data Collection Software

There are two web-based reporting software releases, the PENSEC and Charter 20 Day reports, for the purpose of qualifying charter schools to report data and receive Charter Special Advance funding prior to reporting current year attendance data to CDE through the Principal Apportionment Data Collection Software in January.

Pupil Estimates for New or Significantly Expanding Charters

The PENSEC Report includes estimated ADA and other pupil counts for charter schools that will be newly operational or for charter schools that will be significantly expanding in the current fiscal year.

The PENSEC Report collects data for two purposes:

  • For state funding, to provide an advance of state aid for newly operational charter schools and charter schools adding one or more new grade levels.
  • For federal categorical programs (e.g., Title I, Title II, Title III), to establish preliminary estimated allocations for newly operational and significantly expanding direct-funded charter schools based on current year enrollment and pupil demographic estimates. To qualify as new or significantly expanding for federal programs, the charter school must report in PENSEC, have a funding model of “direct”, and meet federal program eligibility requirements. For payment schedule and contact information on state and federal categorical programs, see Categorical Programs.

For fiscal year 2018–19, PENSEC data is due to CDE no later than July 31, 2018.

PENSEC Instructions1

PENSEC Logon2

In addition to submitting the data online to the CDE, reports that include ADA data also require a printed hard copy certification be signed with wet signatures by all parties and be received by the CDE by the due date listed in the PENSEC Instructions.

Be sure to allow time for all levels (e.g., charter school, school district, county office of education) to review the data, sign, and submit the certification to CDE by the deadline. Data or certifications received by the CDE after the due date, may cause the charter school to wait until a later apportionment to receive state funding, or to be not eligible for some federal funding in the current year.

Charter School 20 Day Attendance

Charter School 20 Day Attendance (Charter 20 Day) Report includes actual ADA and other pupil counts for charter schools that are newly operational or expanding to add one or more grade levels in the current fiscal year.

Unlike the PENSEC Report, data collected through the 20 Day Report is not used for purposes of federal funding programs.

For fiscal year 2018–19, Charter 20 Day data will be due to CDE no later than October 31, 2018.

Charter 20 Day Instructions1 (2018–19 Instructions will be posted with the 2018–19 Charter 20 Day Software)

Charter 20 Day Logon2

In addition to submitting the data online to the CDE, a printed hard copy certification must be signed with wet signatures by all parties and be received by the due date listed in the Charter 20 Day Instructions.

Be sure to allow time for all levels (e.g., charter school, school district, county office of education) to review the data, sign, and submit the certification to CDE by the deadline. Data or certifications received by the CDE after the due date may cause the charter school to wait until a later apportionment to receive state funding, or to be not eligible for some federal funding in the current year.

1Instructions for reporting ADA and pupils counts, including information on the criteria that must be met to be considered a new or significantly expanding charter school for funding purposes.

2The six digit personal identification number (PIN) necessary for logon to the PENSEC and Charter 20 Day reports is the same PIN provided by the California Department of Education for the Charter School Annual Information Survey (see PENSEC or Charter 20 Day Instructions1 for further information).

PASE Listserv

To receive information such as notifications regarding software releases, key deadlines, reminders of due dates for submission of data, and any other pertinent topics related to the Principal Apportionment, subscribe to the PASE listserv.

Charter Special Advance Apportionments by Fiscal Year

 

Questions: Charter School Special Advance | csspecialadvance@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 12, 2018
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