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Categorical Programs

Categorical programs are a major component of district and site services. Federal and state categorical programs were created by legislatures to serve the special needs of students that are not covered by general fund education programs. Each categorical program comes with its own program intent, rules, regulations, and exemplary practices. School agencies receive varying amounts of categorical funds depending on district characteristics, the programs they choose to operate, and the proportion of the state's students they serve.

 
Contacts:
Manager, Categorical Programs and Assessment

714-730-7301 X 436

Secretary, Educational Services
714-730-7301 X 368

Funding Descriptions

Unrestricted versus Restricted Funds
Public school districts receive funding from a variety of local, state, and federal sources. Some of the funds are for general purposes and are called unrestricted funds. Other funds are earmarked for specific purposes and are called restricted or categorical funds. The Educational Services Department supports the appropriate expenditure of categorical funds.
Unrestricted funds are generated through Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Each day a student is in school, his/her presence contributes to how much our school district receives. The amount of unrestricted funding a school district receives per student is called its "revenue limit." It is based upon a combination of local property taxes and state taxes. Each of the nearly 1,000 school districts in California has its own revenue limit determined by its type (elementary, high school, or unified), size (small or large), historical spending patterns, and many other variables.

Restricted or categorical funds are calculated based upon student enrollment and demographic data. Categorical funds are applied for through the completion of the Consolidated Application. Through this application process, data is submitted regarding students requiring additional support, such as the disadvantaged, english learners, migrants, and/or immigrants. Specific categorical programs are received by the Tustin Unified School District to improve student achievement, provide professional development to staff, and to increase parental involvement.

Federal Program Descriptions