California Fires Affecting Education Compliance Requirements

Does Your LEA Need an Emergency Day for Instructional Time?

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In light of the recent emergencies that have come to pass for local schools, we wanted to proactively share some guidance on evaluating your LEA’s instructional time compliance requirements.

What are the compliance requirements?

To comply with California Education Code, a school district must offer 180 days of school, and a required number of minutes by grade as follows:

Grade Annual Minutes Requirement
K 36,000
1-3 50,400
4-8 54,000
9-12 64,800

Charter schools are subject to these same Annual Minutes Requirements, but are only required to hold 175 days of schools.

What is a school day?

School districts (not charter schools) must take this one step further, and meet minimum time for each school day. The minimum number of instructional minutes must be offered by grade as follows:

Grade Minimum minutes/day Absolute minimum minutes/day
Kindergarten 180 60
1-3 230 170
4-8 240 180
9-12 240 180

In the case of the absolute minimum day, for grades K-8, as long as the school day meets the absolute minimum, and meets the minimum minutes when averaged over ten consecutive school days, the day qualifies as a school day. For example, a fifth grade class has a school day of 190 minutes. This is below 240 minutes, however, the day in question is surrounded by nine regular school days of 250 minutes. When the ten school days are averaged, the result is 244 minutes, which meets the minimum requirement of 240 minutes. Therefore, the 190 minute day qualifies as a school day.  Grades 9-12 are subject to the same averaging, however, only two consecutive days may be averaged, rather than ten.

Our LEA had a late start or early closure day due to an emergency. What should we do?  

The LEA should evaluate the specific circumstances. Per CDE, “In order for a day to count as a day of instruction towards meeting the annual instructional day requirement school must be scheduled for at least the minimum instructional day. If reducing the scheduled instructional day results in less than the minimum day being offered, the day would not be considered a day of instruction, and the district would need to submit a J-13A closure request to avoid a fiscal penalty to the local educational agency’s Local Control Funding Formula funding for offering fewer than the required instructional days.”

Because each grade’s requirements vary, each grade must be evaluated individually to determine if the minimum minutes were met.

My LEA met the minimum minutes, but we had a large number of students that didn’t attend. What should we do?

If the LEA offered a day of instruction (met the minimum minutes), but attendance was at least 10% below normal, the school can submit a request for a credit for material decrease on Form J-13A.

Should I submit a Form J13-A?

We’ve put together a flowchart to help you make this decision. The template provided along with the 2017-18 audit may be used to evaluate your LEA’s compliance for each bell schedule. (Click here to see the flowchart fullscreen.)



What is the deadline to file a Form J13-A?

There is no specific deadline, however, we recommend filing the form as soon as possible after an event as it can take several months to receive approval.

When there is a school closure, should the LEA adjust the divisor immediately, or wait until the CDE approves the Form J-13A?

If the closure day does not meet the minimum minutes compliance requirements, the day should be marked as a closure day in the attendance software, whether or not the form is approved, as it was not considered a day of instruction. If some grades meet the minimum minutes, while others do not, each grade’s answer may be different; grades that meet the minimum will have no changes, while grades that do not meet the minimum will be marked as an emergency day. This determination could also vary by site, depending on the bell schedules.

In the case of a material decrease, the LEA should not amend the P-2 and Annual Attendance Reports until approval is received. No changes are to be made in the attendance system. The additional apportionment days approved are converted to Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which is then added to the existing ADA for amendment of the P-2 and Annual Attendance Reports, as applicable. ADA is allocated across grade spans based on the percentages of ADA in each grade span per the attendance system.

What if my LEA doesn’t comply with the instructional time requirements?

If the minimum instructional time requirements are not met, the LEA will be subject to an audit finding, which would result in a loss of a portion of LCFF funding. We recommend evaluating instructional time requirements before each school year begins, and continuing to reevaluate as changes occur. Continual monitoring, and proactively filing any Form J-13A requests will ensure your LEA stays compliant and receives full funding.

Concluding Thoughts

Instructional time compliance requirements are complex and there are many different contingent situations. If you’d like to consult regarding your specific situation, please feel free to reach out to us.

Further Information

Form J13-A Information

Minimum instructional time requirements

Form J13-A


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