Report 2015-112 Recommendation 20 Responses

Report 2015-112: Student Mental Health Services: Some Students' Services Were Affected by a New State Law, and the State Needs to Analyze Student Outcomes and Track Service Costs (Release Date: January 2016)

Recommendation #20 To: Education, Department of

To ensure that the State knows the amount LEAs spend to provide mental health services for student IEPs, before the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year, Education should develop, and require all LEAs to follow, an accounting methodology to track and report expenditures related to special education mental health services.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation and no further updates will be provided.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


1-Year Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation. Although Education does not plan to implement the recommendation, Education will continue to require LEAs to track and report how they spend federal and state funds they receive specifically for mental health services using the resource code field in the standardized account code structure. Mental health services costs are currently coded to various other categories, such as "psychological services" or "counseling services." However, as previously explained, Education is concerned that, (1) establishing new codes to track mental health costs could result in Education losing other information that it currently collects; and (2) the additional burden or costs that LEAs may incur to track expenditures to this level of specificity could outweigh the perceived benefits of having this information.

  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Will Not Implement

As we discussed in our report, school districts we visited spent funds other than those specifically appropriated for mental health services to provide these services to students through IEPs. Therefore, until Education requires districts to track their total spending on IEP-related mental health services, the State cannot know the true cost of providing these services. We continue to stand by our position that Education should implement this recommendation to be able to provide the Legislature and the public with information about whether LEAs have cost-effective approaches to provide mental health services to students who receive special education.


6-Month Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation. Although Education does not plan to implement the recommendation, Education will continue to require LEAs to track and report how they spend federal and state funds they receive specifically for mental health services using the resource code field in the standardized account code structure. Mental health services costs are currently coded to various other categories, such as "psychological services" or "counseling services." However, as previously explained, Education is concerned that, (1) establishing new codes to track mental health costs could result in Education losing other information that it currently collects; and (2) the additional burden or costs that LEAs may incur to track expenditures to this level of specificity could outweigh the perceived benefits of having this information.

  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Will Not Implement

Education repeats objections to our recommendation that it raised in its 60-day response. We continue to stand by our position that Education should implement this recommendation to be able to provide the Legislature and the public with information about whether LEAs have cost-effective approaches to provide mental health services to students who receive special education.


60-Day Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation. Mental health services costs are currently coded to various other categories, such as "psychological services" or "counseling services." As explained in our initial response, Education is concerned that, (1) establishing new codes to track mental health costs could result in Education losing other information that it currently collects; and (2) additional burden or costs that LEAs may incur to track expenditures to this level of specificity could outweigh the perceived benefits of having this information. Nonetheless, in March 2016, Education commenced discussions with LEAs to obtain their assessments of the advantages or disadvantages of adding additional codes to the standardized chart of accounts. These discussions with LEAs will provide Education additional information on the categories LEAs currently use to account for mental health services costs so that analyses may be performed as necessary.

  • Response Date: April 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Will Not Implement

We stand by our position that Education should implement this recommendation to be able to provide the Legislature and the public with information about whether LEAs have cost-effective approaches to provide mental health services to students who receive special education.


All Recommendations in 2015-112

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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