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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
June 5, 2024

Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices, Special Education Program Directors, Nonpublic School Directors, and Workability Program Coordinators:

WorkAbility I 2023–24 Program Guidance

Local educational agencies (LEAs) have reported to the California Department of Education (CDE) that the amendment to California Education Code (EC) Section 45125.1(b)(2) impacts LEAs that participate in the WorkAbility I (WAI) state-funded grant program managed by the CDE, Special Education Division. In response to this potential impact, the CDE will provide WAI grantees in fiscal year (FY) 2023–24 the flexibility needed to meet the requirements of the WAI grant program to serve and place students with disabilities in work experience.

This letter addresses the temporary waiver of three of the grant conditions for FY 2023–24 and provides information regarding the different minimum wages throughout the state. Any WAI grantee seeking clarification of the interpretation of EC Section 45125.1 or the applicable minimum wage should consult their local counsel.

Education Code Section 45125.1

California EC Section 45125.1 requires any entity that has a contract with a LEA to ensure that any employee of that contractor who interacts with students outside the immediate supervision and control of the student’s parent or guardian or a school employee, to have a criminal records summary as described in EC Section 44237.

On October 8, 2023, Senate Bill (SB) 531 amended EC Section 45125.1, no longer requiring an employee of any entity that has a contract with an LEA, and that offers work experience opportunities or workplace placements as a part of a pupil’s individualized education program (IEP), including the WAI grant, to have a valid criminal records summary pursuant to subdivision (a) of EC Section 45125.1, if all of the following requirements are met:

At least one adult employee in the workplace during the pupil’s work hours who has direct contact with the pupil and has been designated by the employer as the employee of record who is responsible for the safety of the pupil, has a valid criminal records summary as described in EC Section 44237. A staff representative of the LEA makes at least one visitation every three weeks to consult with the pupil’s workplace liaison, observe the pupil at the workplace, and check in with the pupil to ensure the pupil’s health, safety, and welfare, including by addressing any concerns the pupil has raised. The parent or guardian of the pupil has signed a consent form regarding the pupil’s work placement, attesting that the parent or guardian understands the duties assigned to the pupil and the nature of the workplace environment.

Fiscal Year 2023–24 Waivers to Grant Conditions

To alleviate impact on community-based work experience placements due to the change in EC Section 45125.1, the CDE will waive three grant conditions. The option of paid community-based work experience is an integral component of the WAI grant, and grantees receive funding specifically allocated for student wages per EC Section 56471(e)(6). The employment portion of transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act helps facilitate movement towards competitive integrated employment and should be provided in the least restrictive environment.

The CDE will temporarily waive three of the grant conditions:

  • All approved project funds must be expended within the designated award period.
    • The WAI FY 2023–24 Budget Revision period opens April 1, 2024, and will remain open for 45 days. Grantees who do not anticipate utilizing all funding should submit a Budget Revision during this period of time.
  • Serving all students for which funding was received.
    • If grantees are unable to serve students for which funding was received, they will submit expenditures for the actual amount of funding used.
  • Placement into employment at least 15 percent of the students funded to serve.
    • Grantees will not be penalized if they are unable to place at least 15 percent of the students funded to serve in WAI-funded paid work experience opportunities.

Although the three grant conditions are being waived for FY 2023–24, WAI grantees need to adhere to the remaining Conditions of the Grant Award as set out in the FY 2023–24 WAI Grant Award Notification.

California State Minimum Wage

The California State minimum wage raised to $16.00 on January 1, 2024. California Assembly Bill 1228 requires a $20.00 minimum wage for workers in the fast-food industry, effective April 1, 2024. Any WAI grantee seeking clarification regarding student wages pertaining to the California State minimum wage, local city and county minimum wages, and the fast-food industry minimum wage should consult their local counsel.

California School Accounting Manual

The CDE reminds WAI grantees receiving state grant funds that they are required per EC Section 41010 to follow the definitions, instructions, and procedures in the California School Accounting Manual (CSAM). Operating agencies and districts are mandated to follow CSAM guidelines for conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, which are essential for consistency and comparability in financial reporting. The CSAM is to be used for classifying, developing, and recording all revenues and expenditures for the WAI program.

The CSAM may be viewed and downloaded at the CDE’s Definitions, Instructions, & Procedures web page. Please refer to the CSAM website to view the object classification codes. It is the responsibility of WAI grantees to review the complete listing of object classification codes in the CSAM and to check for updates to this document.

If you have additional questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the WAI inbox at Workability1@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rachel Heenan, Director
Special Education Division

RH:nw

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 5, 2024
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