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February 9, 2017 ESSA Update Letter #7

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
February 9, 2017

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:


The purpose of this letter is to update you on California’s transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new federal law provides states with more flexibility to design accountability and systems of support that will align with current California reforms, such as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs).

ESSA Update #6, dated January 18, 2017, contained information regarding local planning requirements for 2017–18. On January 19, 2017, the California Department of Education (CDE) received the following new FAQ from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) regarding local educational agency (LEA) plans:

A-10. Must a State require new LEA applications or plans in order to allocate FY 2017 funds?

No. The timeline for submitting State plans outlined in the November 29, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter on ESSA State Plans is April and September 2017. Accordingly, most State plans, both consolidated and individual, will likely not be approved by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Consistent with section 4(b) of the ESSA, therefore, in order to ensure the orderly transition to the ESEA for the 2017-2018 school year, as amended by the ESSA, the Department determined that an SEA need not submit a State plan to the Department in order to receive FY 2017 funds so long as the SEA submits the required assurances in ESEA section 8304 in accordance with the submission procedures in 34 C.F.R. 299.13(d)(1). Consistent with this determination, an SEA may choose not to collect LEA plans prior to awarding FY 2017 funds for the 2017-2018 school year so long as the SEA collects the assurances included in section 8306 of the ESEA for each LEA. (Added January 18, 2017)

A-11. What options does an SEA have with respect to requiring LEA plans or applications?

Prior to Department approval of a State’s consolidated plan: before awarding FY 2017 funds to its LEAs, an SEA must, at a minimum, collect the assurances included in section 8306 of the ESEA. An SEA may also: (1) collect any other information the SEA deems necessary for proper implementation of each grant program; (2) continue to use an existing LEA application if it is consistent with the requirements of the ESEA; or (3) collect individual LEA program plans. Consistent with section 8305 of the ESEA, a SEA may not require an LEA to submit a consolidated LEA plan until the SEA has an approved consolidated State plan.

After Department approval of a State’s consolidated plan: for awarding funds for FY 2018 or FY 2017, as applicable, consistent with section 8305 of the ESEA, an SEA must allow an LEA to submit a consolidated local plan that includes the necessary descriptions, information, assurances, and other material. An SEA may require all LEAs to submit a consolidated local plan. But if the SEA has an approved consolidated State plan, the SEA may not require LEAs to submit individual LEA program plans. (Added January 18, 2017)

In light of this new information from ED, LEAs eligible for federal funds will not be required to submit new LEA plans during the 2017–18 transition year, but will be required to submit certifications of the required ESSA assurances through the Consolidated Application Reporting System (CARS) during the spring collection period. LEAs are responsible for keeping their LEA plans updated and available upon request. New applicants will be required to submit assurances via CARS and work with appropriate CDE program offices to ensure that federal resources are being used in a manner consistent with the ESSA.

The CDE will continue to work with stakeholders to refine the LCAP Addendum referenced in ESSA Update #6, and plans to make it available online for interested LEAs to pilot in 2017–18. All LEAs applying for ESSA funding in 2018–19 will be required to complete the appropriate sections of the LCAP Addendum in concert with the 2018–19 LCAP review and update.

The CDE is committed to providing schools and districts, stakeholders, and members of the public clear and timely communication regarding our state’s transition to ESSA. You can find more information and resources from the CDE and the ED on the CDE ESSA Web page available at I encourage you to join the CDE ESSA listserv to receive e-mail notifications when new information becomes available. To join, please send a blank e-mail message to

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact the CDE ESSA Office by phone at 916-319-0843 or by e-mail at



Tom Torlakson


Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 9, 2022

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