The Staggering Cost of Parent Communication Requirements Under ESSA


There is a financial burden related to creating parent notice communications in-house, especially since there are several components to a successful, ESEA- compliant communications plan, including:

  • Writing the content in accordance with federal laws and guidance
  • Having the content legally reviewed
  • Translating the content for English Learners (EL) and their families
  • Distributing the content throughout the district or state
  • Managing ongoing updates and maintanence

Obtaining the human capital in-house to perform these aspects of communication can become unexpectedly expensive. In fact, let’s break it down by the numbers. Below, we discuss sample costs based on realistic communications requirements and consultation costs in a hypothetical school district scenario.


In a typical school district, the amount of required documents and forms may look like this:

  • 212 general education letters and forms 
  • 100 ESSA-based compliance forms and letters (40 required for English Learner compliance)

How are some districts managing the production of so many notifications? Read an overview in our free eBook

The total number of documents required is upwards of 312 — and that doesn’t include individual district communications that fall outside the realm of legally mandated documents.


The actual cost of ESSA Parent Notifications can be broken up into 3 main categories:

  1. Cost of Document Creation (researching, writing, and editing the documents)
  2. Cost of Legal Review
  3. Cost of Translation

These costs are rarely looked at side-by-side to realize the true cost of creating and translating documents that are required by the government. However, the truth is that indpendently re-creating the wheel is costing districts an extraordinary amount of money:

  1. Document Creation
    • 3 hours x 312 documents= 936 hours
    • 936 hours x $50/hour=$46,800
  2. Legal Review
    • 100 documents x 1.5hrs/doc= 150hrs
    • 150 hours x $400/hr= $60,000
  3. Translation
    • 312 documents x $200/language x 3-6 languages = $187,200 - $374,400

Total Initial Cost= $481,200

Curious how your district-size compares to our calculation? Learn more in our eBook

This sample cost break down demonstrates how the true total cost of handling ESSA communications and general parent notices in-house can result in an unjustifiable amount for most school districts. From the cost of internal staff or experienced consultants to write the content, to the cost of legal review, to hiring a trained translator, the financial burden continues to build as the content and process is maintained annually. Finally, the prospect of developing a distribution system and training all parties on where to find it and how to access it – in addition to the task of annually updating with regulatory guidance or legislation changes – can be daunting, to say the least.

TransACT Parent Notices

TransACT is a leading organization in delivering ESEA and civil rights communication solutions to states and school districts nationwide. Education leaders always have the students’ and families’ best interests at heart, and organizations like TransACT can help them realize their legal requirements while ensuring that their time is not wasted on re-creating the wheel by handling:

  • Parent notice creation and updating
  • Legal review of federally mandated communications where necessary
  • Access to all notices in priority languages
  • Access to translators for all necessary languages
  • Easy-to-access online document library for state-wide or district-wide access

As the Every Student Succeeds Act implementation date of July 1,2017 approaches, contact us to find out how much your district can save with one district-wide subscription to parent notifications in your priority languages.

Creating a compliant parent communication strategy in multiple languages

Alyssa Thornley

About The Author

Alyssa Thornley has spent her career working to support schools and communities in providing opportunity to all students. In positions as a teacher, professional development coordinator, and as a volunteer, she has focused on the community’s role in education, and in designing efficient programs that work for diverse needs. Alyssa leads TransACT’s customer engagement and market strategy efforts, and works to ensure innovative programs, guidance, and thought leadership from across the country’s districts are being shared and spread.