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Adults in Corrections Education Program

Information on jail education funding, education objectives (course approval system), program compliance, and assessment.


The Adults in Corrections Education (Jail Education) Program, California Department of Education (CDE), is funded by Budget Act Item 6110-158-0001 (also referred to as Budget Act Item 158). The California Education Code (EC) Section 1909 et seq. provides for the education of incarcerated adults at county jails in basic education, high school diploma, and English as a Second Language (ESL). Jail education classes are designed to help inmates improve competence in reading, language arts, mathematics, vocational (job skills) education, and self-esteem. The benefits and outcomes are an opportunity for lifelong learning and literacy skill development. These services help the individual and community by providing inmates with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively as workers, family members, and consumers of goods and services.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is the authority for funding jail education?

Fiscal authority is found in Budget Act Item 6110-158-0001 (also referred to as Budget Act Item 158) and EC sections 1900 through 1909.5, 41840 through 41841.8, 46190, 46191, and 52610 through 52616.24.

  1. What is the role of the General Fund in funding the jail education program?

Budget Act Item 158 provides that the General Fund (Proposition 98) may allocate spending for adult education programs in jails. The following chart lists the dollar amount and year of reimbursement to county local education agencies (LEAs) for jail education.

Year of Reimbursement
(For expenses incurred in the previous year)
Authorized by Budget Act
Item 6110-158-0001
Fiscal Year 2002-03 $14,000,000
Fiscal Year 2003-04 $14,000,000
Fiscal Year 2004-05 $14,596,000
Fiscal Year 2005-06 $15,322,000
Fiscal Year 2006-07 $16,369,000
Fiscal Year 2007-08 $17,771,000
Fiscal Year 2008-09 $18,215,000
Fiscal Year 2009-10 $18,670,000
Fiscal Year 2010-11 $18,670,000
Fiscal Year 2011-12 $18,670,000


  1. How is the apportionment determined for each LEA that operates a jail education program?

The apportionment for each LEA is based on a reimbursement for services provided in the previous year and paid in the current year. For example, reimbursements to LEAs for jail education services provided in fiscal year (FY) 2003-04 are based on the amount received in FY 2002-03 and comparisons of the average daily attendance (a.d.a.) for the past two years. Funding is also determined by a multiplication factor of .80 percent of the adult education base revenue limit plus growth (if allowed) and cost of living adjustment (COLA).

  1. Is the a.d.a. capped?

The allowable growth in the a.d.a. is capped at 2.5 percent for a.d.a. that exceeds 20.

Growth and Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

  1. Are growth and COLA allowed on an annual basis?

Growth funding will be allocated to LEAs with an a.d.a. of 20 or less, up to an additional 20 a.d.a. In other words, new programs are allocated growth funding annually if funds are available. Growth and COLA for existing programs are determined by Budget Act Item 158 and may or may not be allocated per annum. For example, the 2003-04 Budget Act language disallowed growth for adult education programs in jails; however, the 2004-05 Budget Act allows both growth and COLA.

  1. What happens if there is a budget shortfall for the Adults in Correctional Education Program?

Section 12.60 of the 2004 Budget Act provides control language that permits the State Controller, with approval of the Director of Finance, to transfer "unobligated" funds between specified programs to cover "any shortfalls" and "fully fund" eligible participation in the jail education program.

Program Information

  1. How do I start a jail education program?

First, the administrator should discuss the idea with the county superintendent of schools (or designee). The support of the county sheriffs is required to establish adult education classes for inmates in jails and camps, pursuant to EC sections 1900-1907. The second step is to contact the county sheriffs, who may offer support (funding, staffing, space). Third, the approval for operating jail programs must be in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that is an agreement between the district providing services and jails (sheriff's office) that receive services. The county superintendent must sign the MOU Finally, contact the CDE, Principal Apportionment and Special Education Office, at 916-324-4541 for information on how to report the Adults in Correctional Facilities a.d.a. using the Principal Apportionment Revenue Limit software. The software can be downloaded at CDE Software & Forms. Make sure you send a copy of the new jail program to the CDE, Adult Education Office, 1430 N Street, Suite 6408, Sacramento, California, 95814, for tracking and compliance monitoring.

  1. How many jail education programs are there in California, and what governs program operation?

Pursuant to EC sections 1900 through 1905, the county board of supervisors and county superintendent of schools may establish classes for adults in correctional facilities (jails) for the purpose of providing instruction in civics, vocational training, literacy (adult basic education, General Educational Development diploma, ESL, health, homemaking, and technical and general education). Currently, there are 33 jail education programs funded by Budget Act Item 158, which allows for the collection of adult a.d.a. apportionments to maintain classes. Funds are also appropriated to maintain classes for adults in corrections (halfway houses and jails) pursuant to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II), Section 225 (Title 20, U.S. Codes). In 2004-05, there are 28 Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II, Section 225 programs in California.

  1. What state agency allocates the funding, and what factors are considered?

Participating LEAs need to know that the CDE will apportion the funds. The CDE begins its calculation for reimbursement of funds during January through March. For example, calculations for reimbursement for services provided in FY 2003-04 begin in January 2005. Also, funding for the jail education program is based on amounts received in prior years, prior year a.d.a., and a multiplication factor of .80 percent of the adult revenue limit plus growth and COLA (if allowed).

  1. Is this a block grant program?

This program is not included in the general-purpose block grant or categorical block grant program for charter schools.

  1. When can LEAs expect to receive reimbursement once the CDE has completed the calculations and determined the amount of reimbursement to each LEA?

The calculations are submitted to the CDE Fiscal Services Unit for certification. Then, the list of Budget Act Item 158 programs and reimbursable dollar amounts is submitted to the CDE Adult Education Office for confirmation that the listed programs have not been discontinued and are in good standing (e.g., no Categorical Program Monitoring [CPM] findings, have updated contact information, etc.). The confirmed list of participating LEAs is returned to the CDE Fiscal Services Unit; and a packet is prepared for the signature of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI). Upon receipt of signatures authorizing payment, the State Controller’s Office is sent a claim schedule identifying the amount of the pay warrants. Pay warrants are sent to the county treasurer within three weeks. The county treasurer is responsible for disbursement of funds to the county office of education and each participating LEA. The "Notice of Apportionment for the Education of Adults in Correctional Facilities for Fiscal Year XXXX" letter is signed by the SSPI and sent to participating superintendents of schools, auditors, and treasurers by June or July. This letter explains the apportionment amount and approximately when pay warrants will be mailed to the county treasurer.

  1. Why does it take up to 24 months for participating LEAs to receive reimbursement?

During the last few years, LEAs have experienced a delay of up to 24 months to receive the reimbursement for jail education services offered in the "previous" year. The major reason for delay is getting Budget Act confirmation to allow or disallow growth and COLA. In 2004-05, the online revenue system known as Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) software was implemented to expedite the calculation and certification process.

Program Monitoring and Technical Assistance

  1. Are the jail education programs and classes required to have a compliance monitoring review?

Yes. The funding for the state apportionment programs (Budget Act Item 158) is based on the actual expenses incurred by the program and cannot exceed the statewide adult education base revenue limit per a.d.a. for classes at up to 80 percent (EC section 41841.5, Budget Act Item 158) and may include allowances for growth and COLA. The eligibility requirement for apportionment classes and courses that are offered in the jails requires that all classes and courses meet the CDE Adult Education Course Approval (A-22) criteria, as well as comply with state statutes for the operation of adult education courses (EC sections 1903, 46191, 51224.2, 52302, 52509, and 60851). Inmates enrolled in a high school diploma completion program must meet the state and district graduation requirements, including one year of Algebra I (EC section 51224.5). Finally, adult education programs, including jail education programs and classes, are required by state law to participate in Federal Program Monitoring. The WIOA, Title II, Section 225 (Title 20, U.S. Codes) programs serving the inmate population also receive a monitoring for compliance review.

  1. How do I locate my regional education consultant for adult education if I have questions about classes and programs?

Please contact the Adult Education Office at by phone at 916-322-2175 or by email at The regional education consultant is a resource to answer questions about adult education programs and classes and to provide technical assistance.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 5, 2022