- What is the purpose of the Gulf Coast Recovery Grants (GCRG) Initiative?
- How are the funds awarded?
- How will applicants be selected?
- What is the competitive preference priority?
- The approved State application includes a list of schools with different classifications. Which schools on the list are eligible for the additional 5 competitive preference priority points?
- Who will award the competitive priority points?
- Will an applicant receive more competitive priority points if it includes more than one “persistently lowest-achieving school” in its application?
- What should an applicant consider if it wants to include a “persistently lowest-achieving school” in its application?
- Is there a matching requirement?
- Who is eligible to apply for funds?
- What happens if the LEA is located in a county that was designated by FEMA as a county eligible for individual assistance, but one or more of the schools the LEA serves is not – is the LEA eligible to apply? May it serve all the schools in its district,
- What can an LEA do if it believes it is eligible, but it doesn’t see its name on the Department’s list?
- May a public charter school apply for funds?
- May a BIE school apply for funds?
- Are Intermediate Education Units eligible to apply?
- Is there a limit on how many applications an LEA can submit?
- Is there a limit to the number of schools that can be included in an application?
- When is the application due?
- Is there a page limit?
- How do I submit my application?
- Where can I find or request a DUNS number?
- Must I notify the Department of my intent to apply?
- Do the project director and other key personnel need to be named in the initial grant application?
- May I include information in the application about the contractors we want to use?
- How much funding is available for this initiative?
- What is the expected project period of the grant awards?
- How will funds be awarded?
- What is the average range of awards?
- Is there a maximum award amount?
- What level of detail is required for the budget narrative?
- What types of activities are allowed under the program?
- Is construction allowable under the grant?
- How is construction defined for this competition?
- Is there a restricted indirect cost rate for this competition?
- Where can I find my LEA's indirect cost rate?
1. What is the purpose of the Gulf Coast Recovery Grants (GCRG) Initiative?
General Grant Questions
The purpose of the initiative is to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in improving education in areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, or Gustav.TOP
2. How are the funds awarded?
The awards will be awarded through a competitive process.TOP
3. How will applicants be selected?
Applicants will be evaluated based on their responses to the selection criteria and the competitive preference priority, described in the Federal Register notice. Applications will be evaluated by a technical review panel and scored accordingly. The Department will then select applications for funding, based on a rank ordering of the applications and other relevant information, such as the applicant's performance under previous grant awards from the Department.TOP
4. What is the competitive preference priority?
Five additional points will be awarded to LEAs that propose to serve at least one school designated by the State as a "persistently lowest-achieving school" for purposes of using school improvement funds under section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA).
A "persistently lowest-achieving school" under section 1003(g) means a school, as defined by each State, that falls into one of the following groups: 1) Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that (i) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State (or the lowest-achieving five such schools, whichever number of schools is greater) or (ii) is a Title I high school that has had a graduation rate that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; or 2) Any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that (i) is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools in the State (or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools, whichever number of schools is greater) that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds or (ii) is a high school that has had a graduation rate that is less than 60 percent over a number of years.
Each State's definition and list of "persistently lowest-achieving schools" can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/sif/summary/index.html.TOP
5. The approved State application includes a list of schools with different classifications. Which schools on the list are eligible for the additional 5 competitive preference priority points?
All schools on the list are eligible for the additional 5 competitive preference priority points except those schools identified as "Tier III" or "Newly Eligible."TOP
6. Who will award the competitive priority points?
The GCRG program staff will award the competitive preference priority points.TOP
7. Will an applicant receive more competitive priority points if it includes more than one “persistently lowest-achieving school” in its application?
No. Applicants will be awarded 5 points regardless of whether they propose to serve 1, 2, or 3 "persistently lowest-achieving schools." As long as one "persistently lowest-achieving" school is included, the full 5 points will be awarded. NOTE: In order to receive the 5 points, it is very important that applicants clearly list the school(s) that will be served by the project in the project abstract.TOP
8. What should an applicant consider if it wants to include a “persistently lowest-achieving school” in its application?
Some schools identified as "persistently lowest-achieving" will receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding and will be required to adopt one of four school intervention models (turnaround, restart, school closure, or transformation). If an applicant proposes to serve a school that it anticipates will receive SIG funds, it should ensure that the project services are consistent with the school intervention model selected. So, for example, if an applicant wishes to include a school it anticipates will receive SIG funding, it should consider the fact that the school will be required to undergo major changes that may impact staffing, administration, and possible closure. Additionally, the school will receive a large amount of funding under SIG – up to $2 million per year for three years.
The applicant should carefully consider these factors in its GCRG proposal. It should not propose services that cannot be implemented because they are inconsistent with the SIG reform models. For more information on the reform models and SIG requirements, see the SIG Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html.TOP
9. Is there a matching requirement?
No, there is no matching requirement for this program. However, if an LEA intends to provide a match, such information must be included in the budget narrative and in any future reporting documents.TOP
10. Who is eligible to apply for funds?
LEAs located in counties in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as counties eligible for individual assistance due to damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, or Gustav are eligible to apply.
An LEA is defined in Section 9101(26)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as: "a public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for such combination of school districts or counties as are recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary or secondary schools." This definition also includes U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Education-supported schools.
Lists, by State, of LEAs that qualify for the competition are posted on the Gulf Coast Recovery Web site for the convenience of the applicant at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/gulf/eligibility.html . These lists are based on the most recent information provided by each State and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to the Department.
11. What happens if the LEA is located in a county that was designated by FEMA as a county eligible for individual assistance, but one or more of the schools the LEA serves is not – is the LEA eligible to apply? May it serve all the schools in its district,
The appropriations language states that GCRG funds shall be for awards to LEAs "located in counties … eligible for individual assistance." We interpret, "located in" to mean "operating in," so that the physical location of the LEA's administrative office is secondary to the issue of where the school to be served is located. Wherever the LEA is operating a school, it is "located" there. So, if an LEA is operating schools that are located in one of the eligible counties, the LEA is eligible to receive funds to serve those schools located in the eligible counties.TOP
12. What can an LEA do if it believes it is eligible, but it doesn’t see its name on the Department’s list?
The LEA should contact the GCRG staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Although the lists attempt to identify all eligible applicants, it is possible the lists are not exhaustive. Therefore, the LEA should contact the GCRG staff as soon as it can, if it believes it is eligible to apply, but is not on the list.TOP
13. May a public charter school apply for funds?
Yes. A public charter school may apply for a grant if it is recognized by its State as an LEA. If a public charter school is not recognized as an independent LEA by its State, it cannot apply directly for a grant, but it may be included in an application that its LEA submits for funding. The eligible applicant list located on the Gulf Coast Recovery Web site includes charter schools that are recognized by their States as LEAs.TOP
14. May a BIE school apply for funds?
Yes, schools operated by, or under grant or contract with, the BIE are eligible to apply for these funds. The eligible applicant list located on the GCRG Web site includes BIE schools that are eligible to apply.TOP
15. Are Intermediate Education Units eligible to apply?
Yes. An Intermediate Education Unit may apply for a grant if it is recognized by its State as an LEA.TOP
16. Is there a limit on how many applications an LEA can submit?
No. An LEA may submit multiple applications for this competition. However, it may not submit multiple applications that include the same school.TOP
17. Is there a limit to the number of schools that can be included in an application?
Yes. An LEA must not include more than three schools in its application.
18. When is the application due?
The application will be due on July 9, 2010, as published in the Federal Register notice.TOP
19. Is there a page limit?
Yes. Applications are limited to 20 pages in the narrative. The project abstract, budget narrative, and appendices do not count towards the 20 page limit.TOP
20. How do I submit my application?
Applications must be submitted electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application), accessible through the Department’s e-Grants site at: http://e-grants.ed.gov, unless you have been approved for an exemption as described in the Notice Inviting Applications. While completing your electronic application, you will be entering data online that will be saved into a database. You may not mail or e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.TOP
21. Where can I find or request a DUNS number?
The Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character number that identifies your organization. It is a tool the federal government uses to track how federal money is distributed. Most large organizations, libraries, colleges and research universities already have DUNS numbers. Ask your grant administrator, chief financial officer, or business office to provide your organization's DUNS number.
If you do not have a DUNS number, you can request one by calling (866) 705-5711, or visiting the Internet at http://www.dnb.com/us/. If requested over the phone, DUNS is provided immediately; webform requests take 1 to 2 business days. DUNS Number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the U.S. Federal government for contracts or grants.TOP
22. Must I notify the Department of my intent to apply?
Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the Department of its intent to apply, as it assists the Department in adequately preparing for the grant review. To submit a notice of intent to apply, the applicant merely needs to send an email to email@example.com, with a brief statement that it intends to submit an application for the competition, along with the number of applications it plans to submit. However, it is not required and applicants will not be prohibited from applying if they declined to submit a notice of intent to apply.TOP
23. Do the project director and other key personnel need to be named in the initial grant application?
No, the project director and other key personnel do not have to be named at the time the application is written. However, the qualification, expectations, and responsibilities for each position should be described in the grant application.TOP
24. May I include information in the application about the contractors we want to use?
No. Because grantees must use appropriate procurement procedures to select contractors, applicants should not include information in their grant applications about specific vendors, nor the names of specific contractors, that may be used to provide services for the proposed project. Applicants may include information about the scope of work to be completed by outside contractors and contractor qualifications, however they should not pre-identify a specific contractor or enter into an agreement with any contractor(s) until after the grant has been awarded.
25. How much funding is available for this initiative?
Congress appropriated $12 million for this effort under the Fund for the Improvement of Education in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117).TOP
26. What is the expected project period of the grant awards?
Up to 24 months.TOP
27. How will funds be awarded?
Funds for the full project period will be awarded at the time of the initial award.TOP
28. What is the average range of awards?
Because the activities that are allowed under this program vary dramatically in type and cost, and the number of schools that may be included in an application range from one to three, the estimated range of awards is quite large. The Department estimates that total awards could range from $150,000 to $3,000,000.TOP
29. Is there a maximum award amount?
Yes. Given the limited amount of funding for this initiative, applicants may request up to $500,000 per year for each school it intends to serve through the grant. To ensure that sufficient funds are available to support awards to LEAs of all sizes, and not only the largest LEAs, an applicant may not include more than 3 schools in a single application for a grant.
The following chart provides the maximum award amounts for applications that propose to serve 1, 2, and 3 schools per grant with a 1-year project period and a 2-year project period:
|Number of schools served||Project Period|
|1 year||2 years|
Please note that these award amounts are maximum amounts. We anticipate that many applicants will propose projects that cost much less than these maximum amounts. The actual size of awards will be based on a number of factors, including the scope, quality, and comprehensiveness of the proposed projects. However, applications that request more funds than the maximum amounts specified for the total grant will not be read and will be excluded from the competition.TOP
30. What level of detail is required for the budget narrative?
The budget narrative should provide a detailed explanation of all proposed expenditures for the project. These expenditures should be carefully linked to the goals, objectives, and activities described in the project narrative portion of the application. ED staff will review all information related to the proposed expenditures and determine whether or not the expenditures are allowable (either permitted or not specifically prohibited); allocable (can be directly allocated to your project); and reasonable (costs that would be incurred by a "prudent person"). Any costs not fully described or justified can be deleted from your funding request during the budget review conducted by GCRG staff.
Allowable Program CostsTOP
31. What types of activities are allowed under the program?
Grant funds may be used for a variety of activities aimed at improving education, including, but not limited to, replacing instructional materials and equipment; paying teacher incentives; modernizing, renovating, or repairing school buildings; beginning or expanding Advanced Placement or other rigorous courses; supporting the expansion of charter schools; and supporting after-school or extended learning time activities.TOP
32. Is construction allowable under the grant?
No. Construction is not an allowable use of GCRG funds. However, GCRG funds may be used for modernization, renovation, and repair.TOP
33. How is construction defined for this competition?
For the purposes of this competition, construction is considered new buildings or additions to existing buildings and other structures that establish or increase the square footage, height, or building footprint of any structure. Additionally, landscaping is not an allowable use of this competition’s grant funds.TOP
34. Is there a restricted indirect cost rate for this competition?
No. You may use your LEA's approved negotiated indirect cost rate to charge indirect costs to the grant.TOP
35. Where can I find my LEA's indirect cost rate?
The LEA's indirect cost rate is negotiated with the LEA's cognizant agency, which is most often the State educational agency (SEA). The SEA should have the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement on file, and your LEA’s business office should have the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement on file.TOP