The Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team’s (FCMAT’s) primary mission is to help California’s local TK-14 educational agencies identify, prevent and resolve financial, operational and data management challenges by providing management assistance and professional learning opportunities. FCMAT’s services are used not just to help avert fiscal crisis, but to promote sound financial practices, support the training and development of chief business officials, and help to create efficient organizational operations. FCMAT’s data management services are used to help local educational agencies (LEAs) meet state reporting responsibilities, improve data quality, and inform instructional program decisions.

FCMAT may be asked to provide fiscal crisis or management assistance by any of the following: school district, charter school, community college, county office of education, or state superintendent of public instruction, or as assigned by the state Legislature.

When a request or assignment is received, FCMAT works closely with the requestor to define the scope of work, then it assembles a team to conduct on-site fieldwork and provide a written report with findings and recommendations to help identify and resolve issues, overcome challenges and plan for the future.

FCMAT’s support has grown and evolved based on the changing needs of TK-14 LEAs and the implementation of major educational reforms.

FCMAT continues to develop and provide numerous publications, products and tools, workshops and professional learning opportunities to help LEAs operate more effectively and fulfill their fiscal oversight and data management responsibilities. The California School Information Services (CSIS) division of FCMAT assists the California Department of Education with the development, implementation, maintenance and training of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and the Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) software system. CSIS also hosts and maintains the Ed-Data website (www.ed-data.org) and is a key contributor to the governance and planning of the new cradle-to-career data system. 

Overseeing the establishment of policies for the team is the FCMAT Board of Directors. The board is composed of one county superintendent and one district superintendent from each of the 11 service regions, the chancellor of the community college or his or her designee, and one member of a community college district governing board chosen by the chancellor. The board also includes a representative of the California Department of Education (CDE), California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), and the charter school community. The board meets quarterly to set policies and to monitor FCMAT’s progress. Each year FCMAT submits an annual report to the FCMAT Board of Directors, the Senate Budget Subcommittee, and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee. The annual report summarizes the team’s work during the previous fiscal year, as well as any new developments or activities.

How FCMAT Has Evolved

FCMAT was created by Assembly Bill (AB) 1200 in 1991 to help LEAs meet and maintain their financial obligations. AB 1200 also provided a framework for county offices of education and school districts to work together locally to improve fiscal procedures and accountability standards. 

AB 107 in 1997 charged FCMAT with responsibility of the newly formed CSIS and its statewide data management work. AB 1115 in 1999 codified CSIS’ mission.

The governor approved AB 139 in October 2001, which authorizes a county superintendent to call for a review or audit of an LEA if they have reason to believe that fraud, misappropriation of funds, or other illegal fiscal practices may have occurred that merit examination. FCMAT conducts the majority of this work.

AB 2756 (2004) added responsibilities for districts with qualified and negative certifications relative to collective bargaining disclosures and assigned FCMAT added responsibilities with regard to districts that have received emergency state appropriations.

In January 2006, Senate Bill (SB) 430 (charter schools) and AB 1366 (community colleges) became law and expanded FCMAT’s services to those types of LEAs.

On September 17, 2018 AB 1840 was signed into law. This legislation changed how fiscally insolvent districts are administered once an emergency appropriation has been made, shifting the former state-centric system to be more consistent with the principles of local control, and assigning new responsibilities to FCMAT associated with the process.

Since 1992, FCMAT has engaged in more than 1,400 reviews for LEAs, including school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and community colleges. The team is funded by appropriations in the state budget and a modest fee schedule for charges to requesting agencies.

FCMAT’s Services

FCMAT can be invited into a county office of education, school district, charter school or community college to provide management assistance related to the LEA’s fiscal health. FCMAT can also be assigned by the superintendent of public instruction (SPI), the county superintendent of schools, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors or the state Legislature to provide assistance with a fiscal crisis or management challenges. The work is guided by various statutes, history and the needs of the education field.

FCMAT generally divides its work into five distinct categories: 1) management assistance, 2) professional learning and product development, 3) fraud reviews, 4) fiscal crisis and 5) data management.

Approximately 80% of FCMAT’s work focuses on best practices and the prevention of fiscal distress. This includes management assistance and professional learning / product development which is a result of LEAs inviting FCMAT to perform proactive, preventive services, or professional learning. Approximately 20% of FCMAT’s work is a result of assignments by the state Legislature and oversight agencies to conduct fiscal crisis intervention and extraordinary audits. Under contract with the California Department of Education (CDE), CSIS partners with the CDE and LEAs to plan, develop, maintain and operate the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data Systems (CALPADS). Under a separate agreement, CSIS is the developer, maintainer and host of the state’s web-based SACS software system.

In 2023, FCMAT staff developed a series of reports on FCMAT’s work to help the FCMAT governing board, LEAs and the public better understand the scope, nature and approach of FCMAT’s work across the TK-14 educational spectrum. Each report includes a presentation highlighting the report’s major contents. Links are provided to both the report and the presentation on the right.

FCMAT’s Administrative Agent

AB 1200 specified that one county office of education would be selected to administer the team. In the spring of 1992, all county offices of education were notified of the opportunity to apply to be the administrative and fiscal agent for FCMAT. The selection, as required by law, was made by the superintendent of public instruction and the secretary of child development and education.