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Management Bulletin 24-01

Guidance on California State Preschool Program Neighborhood School Eligibility

Early Education Division

Subject: California State Preschool Program Neighborhood School Eligibility Criteria to Enroll Three- and Four-Year-Old Children

Number: 24-01

Date: January 2024

Expires: Until Rescinded or Superseded by Regulations

Authority: Assembly Bill 116 (Chapter 41, Statutes of 2023); Assembly Bill 185 (Chapter 571, Statutes of 2022); California Education Code (EC) sections 8208, 8210, 8211 and 8217

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors of all California State Preschool Programs


Purpose

The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify and provide guidance to California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contractors regarding new options for enrolling three-year-old children in CSPP based on neighborhood characteristics related to the percentage of students at local elementary schools eligible for free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM), as specified in the MB below.

This MB rescinds and replaces MB 21-04. All directives and guidance found in this MB supersede the guidance found in MB 21-04 and regulations found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 17729.

This MB also includes the link to the updated list contractors must use when determining if their program is legally allowed to enroll three- and four-year-old children using the provisions of CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 8217.

Note: MB 21-04 used the term “FRPM eligibility.” This MB uses the term "California State Preschool Program (CSPP) Neighborhood School Eligibility” to more accurately reflect the eligibility provision and to reduce confusion. (For example, CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility is not the same as being eligible for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility is also different from, and does not meet the school site area eligibility requirements for, the federal Child Nutrition Programs.)

Policy

Effective September 27, 2022, per EC Section 8217, the CSPP neighborhood school eligibility provision for a CSPP contractor operating within the attendance boundary of a public elementary school, except a charter or magnet school, where at least 80 percent of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals (FRPM), has changed to apply to three-year-old children as well as four-year-old children.

Under the revised provision, in accordance with the priorities for enrollment in EC 8210 and 8211, contractors operating within the attendance boundary of a qualified FRPM elementary school may enroll any three- and four-year-old children whose families reside within the attendance boundary of the same qualified FRPM elementary school. These children shall, to the extent possible, be enrolled by lowest to highest income.

This MB includes a link to the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page, which can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp, and includes the following:

  • Site Verification Form for CSPP contractors
  • Most recent List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools
  • Annual Reverification Survey

Directives for Implementation

All CSPP contractors must follow the eligibility and priority requirements for part-day and full-day CSPP programs pursuant to EC sections 8208, 8210, and 8211 and the CDE’s guidance on eligibility and priority when enrolling children. As of the date of the release of this MB, that guidance is found in MB 23-01, Changes in Eligibility, Priority, and Non-Countable Income for the California State Preschool Program. (Note that the CDE will soon release a new MB that will rescind and supersede MB 23-01 and include new guidance based on changes in law implemented through 2023–24 budget legislation.)

CSPP Neighborhood School Age Eligibility Enrollment Requirements

Contractors may only enroll three- and four-year-old children (as defined in EC Section 8205) under the CSPP neighborhood school eligibility provision. When enrolling children under the neighborhood school eligibility provision, contractors must, to the extent possible, enroll children in income ranking order.

Children enrolled in kindergarten may be enrolled in part-day CSPP for extended learning and care pursuant to EC 48000; however, pursuant to EC 8217, contractors are prohibited from enrolling kindergarten-age children under the CSPP neighborhood school eligibility provision because they do not meet the statutory definition of a three- or four-year-old. 

CSPP Neighborhood School Site Verification

Prior to enrolling any children under the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision for the first time or following a lapse in approval as a neighborhood school site, all CSPP contractors must complete the initial verification process as specified below and receive written approval from the California Department of Education (CDE) prior to enrolling three- and four-year-old children under this eligibility provision.  

The contractor may request initial approval at any time during the program year; however, the CSPP neighborhood school written approval is only valid for the program year for which the contractor applies. For each subsequent program year in which the contractor seeks to utilize the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision to enroll children, the contractor must follow the process for annual reverification as specified below.

Note: Due to the timing of the release of this MB, for program year 2023–24 only, contractors who have received site approval prior to the release of this MB and have been enrolling children under the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision must complete the annual reverification process no later than 30 calendar days from the release date of this MB.

If the CSPP site does not qualify as a Neighborhood School Site for one year or longer, it must complete the process described in the Initial Verification section below again.

Initial Verification

For initial verification, contractors must obtain written approval from CDE to operate as a Neighborhood School Site before enrolling children under this provision by following the steps below and completing the Site Verification Form available at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp.

Once approved by the CDE in writing, the site is eligible to enroll children under the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision for the full program year (July 1 through June 30). To complete the initial verification process, contractors must complete the following steps:

Step One: To determine whether a site sits within the boundary area of a qualified FRPM school, CSPP contractors will need to use the address of the CSPP site to identify the neighborhood school boundaries in which their program is located. Contractors must identify and document their neighborhood school in one of the following three ways:

  • Option 1: Utilize a local school district or county office of education website tool to verify that the CSPP site is located within the school’s attendance boundaries and save a copy of the results, noting the expiration date if applicable, and select Option 1 on the Site Verification Form; or
  • Option 2: Utilize a printed or online map of the school district’s attendance boundaries, and ensure it is the map for the current school year. Indicate the location of the CSPP site on the school boundary map, and select Option 2 on the Site Verification Form; or
  • Option 3: Contact the elementary school for attendance boundary information and have the principal or authorized representative sign the statement on the Site Verification Form certifying that the CSPP site falls within the attendance boundaries of that school.

Step Two: Once the neighborhood elementary school has been identified, contractors must verify the neighborhood elementary school is a qualified FRPM school (5 CCR 17700[ay]), defined as a public elementary school that is not a charter or magnet school, where at least 80 percent of the enrolled students are eligible for FRPM. To determine whether a neighborhood elementary school qualifies, CSPP contractors must consult the most recent List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools posted, accessible on the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp, which identifies non-charter, non-magnet schools, by county, that meet the 80 percent FRPM enrollment threshold.

The Site Verification Form includes a place for contractors to document that the neighborhood elementary school is a qualified FRPM school.

Note: The CDE has posted the List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools for 2023–24 with the release of this MB. That list, which can be accessed on the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp, must be used for verifications, effective immediately and for the remainder of the 2023–24 program year.

In future years, the list will be updated annually by June 1 and posted to the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page, for use in determining eligibility for the next program year. So, for example, the CDE will update the list by June 1, 2024, and that list must be used to verify CSPP neighborhood school eligibility for program year 2024–25, and so on.

Step Three: Submit the Site Verification Form and relevant documentation to the CDE at FRPMSiteApproval@cde.ca.gov. The CDE will respond via email and provide either written approval or denial if the site does not meet eligibility requirements.

If the site is approved, a copy of the Site Verification Form and supporting documentation must be kept in the program records for five years.

Annual Reverification

For each subsequent program year after the CSPP site receives initial approval, the contractor must reverify their status as a CSPP Neighborhood School Site by confirming that the site remains within the boundaries of the same elementary school and that the elementary school is still a qualified FRPM school.

The List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools for a given year will be updated annually and posted to the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page,which can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp, by June 1 for use in determining eligibility for the next program year.

Contractors seeking to reverify their site as a CSPP Neighborhood School Site must use the most recent list to confirm and document the continued eligibility of their CSPP site through an annual reverification survey, available on the CSPP Neighborhood School Site web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/neighborhoodschoolelig.asp, no sooner than June 1 of each year. The contractor must keep a copy of their annual reverification in their program records for five years for the purpose of monitoring review.

If, after conducting the annual reverification, a CSPP site’s status changes and it no longer qualifies as a CSPP Neighborhood School Site, the contractor cannot certify and enroll any new children under the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision after June 30. However, any children enrolled under this provision while the CSPP site was a Neighborhood School Eligibility site will remain enrolled for their entire certification period and cannot be disenrolled. The contractor will continue to report them as a CSPP neighborhood school eligible three- or four-year-old until the end of the certification period; see the CDE Reporting Updates section below for more information.

If a CSPP site does not qualify as a CSPP Neighborhood School Site for one program year or longer, it must complete the initial verification process again before enrolling children under this eligibility category.

Timing Considerations

As specified above, the CDE will update the List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools by June 1 of each year, at which point, contractors can request initial verification or annual reverification for the upcoming program year. Contractors must use the most updated List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools available when requesting initial verification or annual reverification.

Sites which are approved by CDE for Neighborhood School Eligibility may certify and enroll families through the Neighborhood School Eligibility provision through June 30 of the program year. For example, if a CSPP is certifying and enrolling a child in Spring 2024 for the 2024–25 year, and the site at which the child would be attending has been verified as a CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility site for 2023–24, the child could be enrolled for 2024–25 under that provision.

However, programs seeking to continue to enroll children through the Neighborhood School Eligibility provision in the next program year must reverify their site’s eligibility using the updated list (and receive written approval from the CDE) by July 1, or before certifying or enrolling any new children under the Neighborhood School Eligibility provision.  

CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility Residency

Families enrolling using the CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility provision must reside within the same attendance boundary of the qualified FRPM school, pursuant to 5 CCR 17774(a). A list of acceptable documentation for proof of residency can be found in 5 CCR 17774(b).

CDE Reporting Updates

The CDE Child Development Management Information System (CDMIS) includes the option in the “Reason for Receiving Child Care” field, Reason Code S - Neighborhood School Eligibility to indicate that a child is a CSPP neighborhood school eligible three- or four-year-old. The CDE “Child Care Reporting--Service Reason” web page, which can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/ReasonforReceiving.asp, includes information on how to report CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility. If additional technical assistance is needed, please email CDMIS support staff at CDMIS@cde.ca.gov.

Background and Authority

Part-day and full-day CSPPs are governed by the Early Education Act in EC sections 8200–8490 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Chapter 18.5, commencing with Section 17700.

Eligibility criteria for part-day CSPP are set forth in EC Section 8208. This section provides that families must be “eligible” for services pursuant to EC Section 8208(a) but there are no “need” criteria as there are with full-day CSPP. The EC Section 8208 further permits contractors to enroll children from families not otherwise eligible for part-day services after all otherwise eligible children have been enrolled. These children include the following:

  • Children whose families have adjusted monthly incomes that are no more than 15 percent above the state median income threshold as described in EC Section 8213, limited to 10 percent of total contract enrollment.

  • Children whose families reside within the attendance boundary of a public school where at least 80 percent of enrolled pupils are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Eligibility criteria for full-day CSPP are also set forth in EC Section 8208 and generally require a family to meet both “eligibility” and “need” criteria pursuant to EC sections 8208(d)(1)(A) and (B). The EC Section 8208 allows full day CSPP contractors to enroll children whose families are eligible for services but do not meet a “need” criterion pursuant to EC Section 8208(d)(1)(B) after all other CSPP-eligible families have been enrolled. The EC Section 8208 further permits contractors to enroll children from families not otherwise eligible for part-day services after all otherwise eligible children have been enrolled. These children include the following:

  • Children whose families have adjusted monthly incomes that are no more than 15 percent above the state median income threshold as described in EC Section 8213, limited to 10 percent of total contract enrollment.

  • Children whose families reside within the attendance boundary of a public school where at least 80 percent of enrolled pupils are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Senate Bill 75, The Budget Act of 2019, added EC Section 8217 and allowed CSPP contractors to enroll four-year-old children through Neighborhood School Eligibility. Assembly Bill 185, effective July 1, 2022, modified this section to include three-year old children in Neighborhood School Eligibility as well. EC Section 8217 details the provisions for CSPP programs using Neighborhood School Eligibility as follows:

  • Allows for the CSPP contracted sites operating within the attendance boundary of a public elementary school, except charter and magnet schools, where at least 80 percent of enrolled students are eligible for FRPM to enroll three and four-year-old children whose families reside within the school boundaries of a qualified FRPM school in CSPP.

  • Prioritizes families in order from the lowest income to the highest income, to the extent possible.

Assembly Bill (AB) 185 (Chapter 571, Statutes of 2022), as amended by AB 116 (Chapter 41, Statutes of 2023), authorizes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to provide guidance and instruction to implement this provision through an MB on or before December 1, 2023, notwithstanding the Administrative Procedures Act to implement guidance through the regulatory process. Thus, the directives in this MB have the force and effect of law. In addition, pursuant to AB 185, as amended by AB 116, the SSPI must initiate a regulatory process to implement the changes to EC 8217 no later than December 31, 2024.

Resources

If you have additional questions related to this MB, please refer to “CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility Based on Neighboring Elementary School FRPM Status” section of the Eligibility and Priority Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, which can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/eligandpriofaq.asp#frpmstat.

If you have additional questions related to eligibility and priority for enrolling children in CSPP, see MB 23-01, Changes in Eligibility, Priority, and Non-Countable Income for the California State Preschool Program, which can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb2301.asp.

If you have programmatic questions related to this MB, please contact your assigned Early Education Division (EED), Program Quality Implementation (PQI) office regional consultant. The EED PQI regional consultant directory web page can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp.

If you have fiscal questions about the information in this email, please contact your assigned CDE Early Education Nutrition and Fiscal Services (EENFS) fiscal analyst. The fiscal analyst directory can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/faad.asp.

Pursuant to authority provided in AB 185, as amended by AB 116, this Management Bulletin constitutes official guidance notwithstanding the Administrative Procedures Act, and thus the directives in this Management Bulletin are mandatory.

Questions:   Early Education Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 29, 2024
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