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Help Desk

Welcome to the FCMAT Help Desk. This resource is designed to provide guidance related to school business and operations in California. Responses are intended to share FCMAT’s opinions and expertise and are not intended as legal advice. If your matter involves interpretation of laws, regulations or court precedent or otherwise calls for legal advice, you should consult legal counsel before acting on the resulting guidance.

The following section includes a list of frequently asked questions by subject. Select the tab below to view the subject. Each question can be clicked on to view the corresponding answer.

Archive of FAQs

FCMAT has an archive of questions and responses that have been submitted to its Help Desk over the years.

Please search the Knowledge Base prior to asking your specific question because the same question, or a similar one, may have already been submitted to FCMAT in the past. Please note that your question and the response may be posted to the Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions for others to learn from in the future. In doing so, FCMAT will not use your name or LEA reference.

FCMAT encourages users to access the Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions or the resources directly below before submitting a help desk request.

Submit a Help Desk Request

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact the Help Desk. FCMAT will respond to your help desk request within 48 hours. You will be notified if additional time is necessary to research your question. 

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Get into contact with us by sending us your messages or any questions you may have about FCMAT.

This manual is a concise guide to successful student body business management in a complex environment for K-14 LEAs. It focuses on the wide range of decision-making authority of student councils, suggests useful tools and procedures, provides practical advice, and indicates legal constraints in specific areas.
The Charter School Accounting and Best Practices Manual contains information on recommended, required and best practices for charter school administrators and operators as well as charter authorizers. The manual also contains links to online forms and other resources for those involved in charter school operations.
The Fiscal Oversight Guide provides local educational agencies and state policy makers with an informative and useful document clarifying the roles and responsibilities of fiscal oversight agencies
The COE Fiscal Procedure Manual outlines procedures and adopted standards that are required by California Education and Government Codes and can assist COEs in developing consistency and common practices in reviewing and responding to school district fiscal requirements. This manual is intended as a guide, not a mandate, and can be used by every COE in California as an external document to assist in the monitoring of activities required by AB 1200 and subsequent related legislation.
EdSource is an independent, impartial, statewide not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling informed decision making on behalf of California’s public schools. As an Ed-Data partner, EdSource offers analyses and explanations of complex education issues, prepares graphic displays for the site, sets the context for the various reports and profiles, and monitors information on users and suggestions for future improvements.
Ed-Data’s state, county, district and school reports contain a wealth of data about student demographics and performance, plus information about staffing, including teacher salaries. Financial reports for all districts display data in ways that permit extensive analysis and comparisons.
The California Department of Education oversees funding and testing, and holds local educational agencies accountable for student achievement. This site includes education statistics on demographic data about students, schools, districts, and education staff in the K-12 public school system.
The CSAM provides guidance for accounting and financial reporting by local educational agencies.
The State Board of Education (SBE) is the governing and policy-making body of the California Department of Education. The SBE sets K-12 education policy in the areas of standards, instructional materials, assessment, and accountability. The SBE adopts textbooks for grades K-8, adopts regulations to implement legislation, has authority to grant waivers of the Education Code, and is responsible for adopting changes to the Local Control and Accountability Plan template and the California School Dashboard.
The Department of Finance interacts with other state departments daily in terms of preparing, enacting, and administering the budget; reviewing fiscal proposals; analyzing legislation; establishing accounting systems; auditing department expenditures; and communicating the Governor’s fiscal policy. The Director of Finance is appointed by the Governor and serves as the chief fiscal policy advisor.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office provides fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature. It is known for its fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analyses of the state budget. The office serves the Legislature by helping ensure that the executive branch implements legislative policy in a cost efficient and effective manner.
The State Controller is the chief fiscal officer of California and is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The agency performs independent fiscal audits of government agencies that spend state funds.
As the state’s independent external auditor, the California State Auditor’s Office provides nonpartisan, accurate, and timely assessments of California government’s financial and operational activities in compliance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
The Education Audit Appeals Panel reviews and adopts an audit guide for the required annual financial and compliance audits of school districts, county offices of education, and other local educational agencies.
This website provides all new California laws that become effective on January 1 of that calendar year. The California Law database is also updated as bills are passed and become effective during the legislative session.
The Board of Equalization collects California state sales and use tax, as well as fuel, alcohol, and tobacco taxes and fees that provide revenue for state government and essential funding for counties, cities, and special districts.
The Department of General Services serves as business manager for the state of California by providing a variety of services to state agencies.
The OPSC is under the authority of the state of California’s Department of General Services. As staff to the State Allocation Board (SAB), the OPSC implements and administers the voter-approved school facilities construction program. OPSC processes school facility construction grant applications, assists school districts throughout the cycle of school facilities construction projects, audits school facility projects and prepares regulations, policies and procedures to carry out the mandates of the SAB. The OPSC prepares agendas for the SAB meetings to keep record of all past and present SAB actions. Stakeholders use the agenda to track the progress of specific projects and/or availability of funds. The State Controller’s Office uses the agenda for the appropriate release of funds.
The Division of the State Architect provides design and construction oversight for K-12 schools, community colleges, and various other state-owned and leased facilities. The Division also develops accessibility, structural safety, fire and life safety, and historical building codes and standards utilized in various public and private buildings throughout California.
The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers, and coordinates most federal assistance to education.
The United States Department of Agriculture is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal policy on farming, agriculture, and food, including child nutrition programs.
The IRS is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and is the United States’ tax administrator. The IRS carries out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code.