The district must obtain state new approval when it changes SIS systems.
CDE does not approve specific SIS systems. CDE does require all school districts to obtain new approvals of their attendance procedures whenever the controls, setup, forms, reports, and/or procedures of how the district uses the system changes from what the state approved with the prior system.
FYI- It generally takes most districts one yeare to obtain state approval for their process in the new SIS as the reports must be submitted with actual data. Many districts have found it beneficial to work with an experienced attendance consultant. Illuminate's recommended consultant is:
Jeri Wenger, Chief Executive Officer
WENGER & ASSOCIATES, LLC
Jeri has successfully helped districts using Illuminate as well as many other SIS systems implement compliant procedures to facilitate the audit and obtain timely state approval to prevent loss of apportionment.
Below you will find a recent communication we received from CDE.
Per the CDE as of March 16, 2015:
Approval of Attendance Accounting Systems Guidelines for Documentation Submission
The following guidelines are intended solely as a tool to provide districts with information on which specific documentation should be submitted to the Department of Education (CDE) for review and approval of attendance accounting systems. Approval of any attendance accounting system is the quality of the audit trail it provides.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Each school district is required to have their own forms and procedures approved by CDE.
The forms and procedures should contain the necessary elements to clearly illustrate and document the attendance information as it is reported starting from the classroom to the data submitted to the CDE.
A. REQUEST: The request for approval of the attendance accounting system should include the following information:
A cover letter requesting approval of the attendance accounting system.
The district‟s current attendance accounting software (Aeries, Synergy, PowerSchool, etc)
The type of approval paper, on-line or electronic signature system.
The school district‟s CSD code and school(s) requesting approval.
Identify the specific program(s) - regular school, high school, summer school, home and hospital, and/or continuation (by program).
Contact person and phone number.
B. PROCEDURES AND FORMS: The following guidelines outline recommendations for documenting the attendance accounting process:
The procedures must provide a detailed step-by-step description of the attendance accounting starting from the classroom to how pupil attendance is recorded to submission to the CDE (following one class/teacher through the entire process.)
Reference and include all source documents.
The source document (scantron sheet, weekly attendance register, etc) must include the signature and date of the district employee responsible for taking student attendance. A statement certifying accuracy and completeness to the best of the person‟s knowledge must also be included on the form.
If the district will be using an on-line feature where teachers enter attendance directly into a computer, CDE will only approve on-line systems that include a certification (hard-copy signed and dated) on at least a weekly basis.
Include a legend containing all the attendance codes used in the accounting system.
The attendance accounting system components - Gain and Loss Report should include the following entries at a minimum:
Days taught (excluding weekend classes)
Total possible days (enrollment times days taught)
Days not enrolled (days not enrolled for students enrolled less than one month)
Days of absences
Days of actual attendance
ADA (days of apportionment (actual attendance) divided by days taught)
Signature and date of employee verifying student‟s presence or absence
Procedure to verify that all teachers have entered their attendance in each period.
Approval of Attendance Accounting Systems Guidelines for Documentation Submission March 16, 2015
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Procedure to require all teachers to enter the initial attendance by the end of the calendar day of the school day.
Procedures to verify the attendance of a student is marked “present” in only one class period during a school day. Include copy of verification document.
Procedures on how absences are reconciled and information is provided to the classroom teacher.
Include and reference all forms used in the attendance accounting system such as the attendance class roster, weekly attendance report by class/individual student, and monthly attendance reports (20 day).
C. ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM(S): All requests for alternative program(s) should include a copy of the following data:
Separate requests should be made for all alternative programs, including continuation and home and hospital programs. All requests submitted to CDE should include detailed procedures and an example of the documents that follows one class/grade through the entire process.
If the district offers independent study (IS), include detailed information of the attendance accounting forms and procedures used for recording short and/or long term attendance including 1) a description of the coding and 2) an example of a separate attendance register. Please note, the approval process does not include the review of the master agreement nor the board policy which is outside the scope of the attendance accounting system approvals.
In general, an approvable IS attendance system must include two or three unique symbols. A unique symbol should initially be used to indicate when a student is placed on IS and should be „coded‟ in the system for each day of IS. This symbol should then be changed to a second unique symbol that totals as a „day of attendance‟ after the assignment is completed and approved. If the work is not completed, the original symbol can be left unchanged or a third unique symbol can be used to indicate no credit was earned. A student is not “unexcused” since the district excused the student from compulsory school attendance once the district placed the student in IS.
Submit your request to:
California Department of Education
School Fiscal Services Division, Attention Stel Cordano
1430 N Street, Suite 3800
Sacramento, CA 95814
Information on the approval process for electronic signatures can be found through the following link: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/sf/aa/electronicattendltr.asp . Provide a copy of the approval letter.
For further questions and information: contact Stel Cordano, Consultant at 916-327-0378 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Clarification Provided by CDE
Q. What is the timeline to receiving approval from the CDE?
A. There is no timeline per se, however, the district should request approval of the attendance accounting system they are using to take attendance. As Kim stated, the approval is a review and analysis of the district’s procedures and forms and not the approval of the software system the district is using.
Q. How long does a district have get approval from the CDE
A. Education Code does require districts to have approval of their forms and procedures. However, there is nothing in statute or in the annual audit that requires a district to have it approved by a specific time. But again, the district should seek approval to ensure the district is reporting attendance correctly.
Q. Are there any sanctions applied for being out of compliance? If so when do these happen and what are the stages?
A. Currently, there are no financial penalties if a district does not have their attendance accounting system approved. However, if the district is using electronic signatures it cannot do so unless their forms and procedures have first been approved. If the independent auditors request a copy of the approval and the district does not have a current approval it will result in an audit finding.
Q. Are charter organizations required to have their processes approved by the state?
A. Currently charter schools do not have to have their attendance accounting procedures and forms approved. CDE highly recommends that charter schools have their independent auditors review their attendance system to ensure attendance is properly being reported.