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Small, Rural School Achievement Program

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  1. Purpose
  2. What is the purpose of the SRSA Program?
  3. What school districts are eligible to participate in the SRSA program?
  4. How do I find out if my school district is eligible for the SRSA program?
  5. Does an eligible school district have to apply for an SRSA grant in order to receive funding under the program?
  6. How and when do I apply for an SRSA grant?
  7. Does an eligible school district have to apply to use REAP-Flex?
  8. How do I find out the amount of funds my school district will receive from an SRSA grant?
  9. When will my school district receive the funds from an SRSA grant?
  10. How may SRSA funds be used to support the programs in my school district?
  11. How long do I have to obligate the SRSA funds for my school district?
  12. What does “obligation” of funds mean? When does it occur?
  13. I won’t be able to draw down in time, or I forgot to draw down on time. Can my district get an extension?
  14. What are the reporting requirements? Do I have to file a report?
  15. The contact information listed on the GAN is incorrect or out of date. Can it be updated?
  16. How do I access my school district’s SRSA funds?
  17. Why can’t I log into www.G5.gov to access my school district’s funds?
  18. When I try to log into G5.gov, I get an error message saying that I need to register my DUNS number and TIN with the SAM. What is a DUNS number? What is a TIN? What is the SAM? And how do I register?
  19. The SAM says my DUNS number is invalid. How do I fix it?
  20. Who is the SRSA contact person for my school district? How do I contact the U.S. Department of Education about SRSA?

1. Purpose

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) ABOUT THE SMALL RURAL SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM (SRSA)

Purpose: At the U.S. Department of Education, we’re reaching out to you, the educators of our Nation’s children, to help you with our programs and to make the requirements of our programs easier to understand. For that reason, this document provides responses to the most frequently asked questions from rural school districts concerning the Small, Rural School Achievement program. The questions and answers below do not cover all aspects of SRSA. Nonetheless, they do highlight:

For more complete guidance on these and other requirements for SRSA, click here.

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2. What is the purpose of the SRSA Program?

The SRSA program is designed to address the unique needs of small, rural school districts that frequently lack the personnel and resources needed to compete effectively for Federal competitive grants and that receive formula grant allocations under other programs in amounts too small to be effective in meeting their intended purposes. The SRSA program may help rural local educational agencies (LEAs or school districts) use Federal resources more effectively to improve the quality of instruction in order to increase student academic achievement. SRSA-eligible LEAs may receive an SRSA grant and may use a unique flexibility authority—

  1. The Department awards SRSA grants directly to eligible school districts on a formula basis. (See Section 6212 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).)

  2. REAP-Flex authority is available to SRSA-eligible LEAs. REAP-Flex is not a grant program—it does not provide school districts with funding. Rather, it is a flexibility authority that provides school districts that are SRSA-eligible with greater latitude in spending the funds they receive under other Federal education programs so that they can better address their particular needs. (See the “Alternative Uses of Funds Authority” in Section 6212 of the ESEA, or part II-B of the official guidance.)

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3. What school districts are eligible to participate in the SRSA program?

To be eligible for REAP-Flex and for an SRSA grant, a school district must—

  1. Have fewer than 600 students in average daily attendance during the prior school year, or serve only schools that are in counties with a population density of less than 10 persons per square mile; and
  2. Serve only schools that have a Federal NCES locale code of 7 or 8, or that are located in an area that meets the definition of “rural” of a governmental agency of the State.
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4. How do I find out if my school district is eligible for the SRSA program?

The U.S. Department of Education posts the names of school districts that are eligible for SRSA on its Web site in May and June each year. You can find out if your school district is eligible by checking the “eligibility spreadsheet” for your State.

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5. Does an eligible school district have to apply for an SRSA grant in order to receive funding under the program?

Yes. Under the regulations in 34 C.F.R. 75.104(a), the Department makes grants only to those school districts that have a valid application on file. An eligible school district must submit an application to receive an SRSA grant if the school district never submitted an application for SRSA funds in any prior year. Given the limited purpose served by the application under SRSA, the application requirement is considered to be met if a school district submitted an SRSA application for any prior year. If an eligible school district has never submitted an application for SRSA funds in any prior year, it must submit an application to receive an SRSA grant.

Again, be sure to look at the eligibility data on the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site before the end of June each year. You can find out if your school district is eligible by checking the “eligibility spreadsheet” for your State. Only HIGHLIGHTED LEAs need to apply for SRSA funds—LEAs that are listed but not highlighted already have an application on file.

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6. How and when do I apply for an SRSA grant?

You can apply for funds through our grants website called “G5,” at www.G5.gov. The application period will close by May 31. (Applications received after May 31 cannot be guaranteed funding.) The Department publishes an official notice in the Federal Register to give notice to the public that the application period is opening. The Federal Register notice includes the opening and closing dates for the application and details about the school districts that are eligible or need to apply for SRSA funds. The public notice regarding SRSA is posted at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/reapsrsa/applicant.html

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7. Does an eligible school district have to apply to use REAP-Flex?

No. Any school district that is eligible for an SRSA award may exercise REAP-Flex authority without applying to the U.S. Department of Education. However, before exercising REAP-Flex authority, an eligible school district must notify its State educational agency (SEA) of its intent to do so by the deadline established by the SEA.

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8. How do I find out the amount of funds my school district will receive from an SRSA grant?

The Department posts grant award amounts for each eligible school district at the end of August each year. Award amounts are posted to the eligibility spreadsheetsfor each State. You can estimate the amount of the grant for your school district by using the following formula:

  • Start with the number of students in average daily attendance in your district. Subtract 50 from that number (if negative, stop at zero).
  • Multiply the remainder by $100.
  • Add $20,000.
  • If the total is above $60,000, this amount is capped at $60,000.
  • From the amount above, subtract the sum of the allocations (if any) received by the school district during the prior fiscal year by formula under ESEA Title II-A (Improving Teacher Quality Grants); Title II-D (Educational Technology Grants); Title IV-A (Safe and Drug-Free Schools Grants); and Title V-A (Innovative Programs Grants).
  • This amount may be ratably reduced or increased depending upon the amount appropriated for the program and the amounts calculated for other eligible school districts.

Please note:(1) This calculation provides an estimate only; there are other variables such as the total program appropriation and formula amounts for other eligible school districts that could affect your final award amount; (2) Not all eligible school districts receive grant funds; the formula calculation may result in an award of $0 (e.g., a school district that received a particularly large amount of Title II-A funds, such as $60,000 or more, would receive $0 under the formula); (3) The school district must have a valid application on file in order to receive grant funds.

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9. When will my school district receive the funds from an SRSA grant?

The Department generally mails the SRSA Grant Award Notifications (GANs) in September of each year. If you have not received a GAN by October 1 and you believe that you should receive an award, please contact the program officer for your State.

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10. How may SRSA funds be used to support the programs in my school district?

Generally, your school district may use its funds for any activity authorized under the following ESEA programs:

Note: There are specific restrictions on a school district’s use of SRSA funds if it fails to make AYP after three years of participation in the program. For further information, see the REAP guidance at part II-E.

For specific questions about the allowable uses of funds you should consult the program officer for your State.

Reminder: Your SRSA funds must supplement and not supplant any other Federal, State, or local education funding. See ESEA section 6232.

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11. How long do I have to obligate the SRSA funds for my school district?

The obligation period for SRSA grant funds is generally 27 months. It lasts through the end of the second succeeding Federal fiscal year for which the funds are appropriated. Fiscal year 2012 SRSA funds must be obligated by September 30, 2014. Fiscal year 2013 SRSA funds must be obligated by September 30, 2015. Grantees have up to 90 days after the end of the obligation period to liquidate their remaining grant funds (i.e., pay outstanding invoices for obligations made during the period of obligation).

For questions about the grant obligation period, you can contact the program officer for your State.

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12. What does “obligation” of funds mean? When does it occur?

An obligation is a binding written agreement for goods and/or services that will require payment by the grantee during the same or a future period and obligates the grantee to pay to a source a specified amount to deliver goods and/or services within a defined timeframe.

The timing of an obligation depends on the nature of the specific activity. The chart below details when an obligation occurs for various types of activities:

If the Obligation is for --The Obligation is made --
(a) Acquistion of real or personal property On the date on which the SRA grantee makes a binding written commitment to acquire the property
(b) Personal services performed by an employee of an SRSA school district When the services are performed.
(c) Personal services by a contractor who is not an employee of an SRSA school district On the date on which the SRSA grantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the services.
(d) Performance of work other than personal services On the date on which the SRSA grantee makes a binding written commitment to obtain the work.
(e) Public utility services When the SRSA grantee receives the services.
(f) Travel When the travel is taken.
(g) Rental of real or personal property When the SRSA grantee uses the property.
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13. I won’t be able to draw down in time, or I forgot to draw down on time. Can my district get an extension?

If you have funds remaining from an old grant after the liquidation period has ended, you may contact the program officer for your State about the possibility of a late liquidation. Please note that liquidation extensions are generally approved only in situations involving extreme hardship for schools. Please note that the Department does not have the authority to extend the obligation period.

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14. What are the reporting requirements? Do I have to file a report?

There are no Federal reporting requirements for school districts receiving SRSA funds, although school districts must report certain information to their States (such as average daily attendance, progress toward making AYP, and uses of funds under REAP-Flex). Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Education conducts monitoring calls and may examine records or conduct an audit, so it is important to maintain good records, complete with dates, account codes, etc.

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15. The contact information listed on the GAN is incorrect or out of date. Can it be updated?

Yes. Please send an e-mail to the program officer for your State with the following information pertaining to your school:

  • PR Award Number (it looks like S358A _ _ _ _ _ _)
  • LEA Name
  • Contact Person
  • Address Line 1
  • Address Line 2
  • City
  • State
  • Zipcode
  • Phone
  • Fax
  • Email

Your program officer will verify the information and provide you with a corrected GAN.

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16. How do I access my school district’s SRSA funds?

You can access your school district’s SRSA funds through our grants website called “G5,” available at www.G5.gov. You will need a username and password, and to register a bank account. If you need help with G5, call the G5 technical hotline at 888-336-8930 (Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM EST to 6:00 PM EST, Monday - Friday).

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17. Why can’t I log into www.G5.gov to access my school district’s funds?

There can be a few possible reasons:

First, passwords expire. To reset your password, call the G5 technical hotline at 888-336-8930. (Please note that the program office does not have the ability to reset G5 passwords.)

Second, when a large number of grantees logs into G5 at the same time (especially at the end of the calendar year) there are sometimes technical difficulties. We encourage you to draw down the funds as you use them throughout the year. That way you are less likely to encounter difficulties logging in.

Third, www.G5.gov usually shuts down for maintenance after each September 30. Therefore, we again strongly encourage you to draw down the funds throughout the year as you use them, rather than trying to draw down the funds all at once.

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18. When I try to log into G5.gov, I get an error message saying that I need to register my DUNS number and TIN with the SAM. What is a DUNS number? What is a TIN? What is the SAM? And how do I register?

The U.S. Department of Education disburses funds to grantees via the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To access your grant funds, you must register your Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and tax identification number (TIN) with the System for Award Management (SAM) database.

The DUNS number is a tracking number issued by Dun & Bradstreet, a private company, to all U.S. Department of Education grantees. You can obtain a DUNS number for free and get other related information about DUNS numbers by going to the Dun & Bradstreet website.

The TIN is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration or by the IRS.

If your DUNS and TIN numbers are not already registered with the SAM, you can easily register them by going to www.sam.gov. Please allow 3-5 business days to complete the registration process. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active. If you need assistance during the registration process, you may contact the SAM's Service Desk at 866-606-8220.

Please note that if the payee DUNS number for your SRSA grant is different from your grantee DUNS number, both numbers must be registered with the SAM.

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19. The SAM says my DUNS number is invalid. How do I fix it?

First, check your DUNS number and that you entered it correctly.

If your DUNS number still does not work, contact Dun & Bradstreet to get a new DUNS number (it is free).

Next, you will need to change the DUNS number on file at the Department of Education. Please follow the instructions below to make your formal request:

Send a signed letter from an authorized official (usually the superintendent) on your school district’s letterhead to:

      Steve Cooper
      U.S. Department of Education
      Office of the Chief Information Officer
      Potomac Center Plaza, Room 9135
      550 12th Street, SW
      Washington, D.C. 20202

You can mail the letter, fax it to (202) 245-8219, or e-mail a scanned copy to steve.cooper@ed.gov

In the letter, please state:

  • The correct DUNS number that you have verified with Dun & Bradstreet to use for your school district;
  • That you are registering (or have already registered) that same correct DUNS number with the SAM; and
  • The old, incorrect DUNS number and whether you would like to have any other Department of Education grant awards associated with the old, incorrect DUNS Number (as either the grantee or payee) reassigned to the new, correct DUNS Number.
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20. Who is the SRSA contact person for my school district? How do I contact the U.S. Department of Education about SRSA?

You can find your State’s program officer and contact information using the table below:

State Program Officer
Alabama Eric Schulz
Alaska Eric Schulz
Arizona Eric Schulz
Arkansas David Chin
California Robert Hitchcock
Colorado Eric Schulz
Connecticut Eric Schulz
Delaware Lynette Kee
District of Columbia N/A
Florida Lynette Kee
Georgia Eric Schulz
Hawaii N/A
Idaho Eric Schulz
Illinois Eric Schulz
Indiana Eric Schulz
Iowa Eric Schulz
Kansas Eric Schulz
Kentucky Eric Schulz
Louisiana Lynette Kee
Maine David Chin
Maryland Eric Schulz
Massachusetts Eric Schulz
Michigan David Chin
Minnesota David Chin
Mississippi Nicole Harris
Missouri David Chin
Montana Eric Schulz
Nebraska Michael Holloman
Nevada David Chin
New Hampshire Nicole Harris
New Jersey Michael Holloman
New Mexico David Chin
New York Michael Holloman
North Carolina Michael Holloman
North Dakota Anita Brewer
Ohio Michael Holloman
Oklahoma Eric Schulz
Oregon Anita Brewer
Pennsylvania Michael Holloman
Rhode Island Eric Schulz
South Carolina Eric Schulz
South Dakota Anita Brewer
Tennessee Eric Schulz
Texas Lynette Kee
Utah Eric Schulz
Vermont Eric Schulz
Virginia Michael Holloman
Washington Anita Brewer
West Virginia David Chin
Wisconsin Anita Brewer
Wyoming Lynette Kee

Anita Brewer, 202.260.2519

David Chin, 202.260.2538

Robert Hitchcock, 202.260.1472

Michael Holloman, 202.260.2067

Lynette Kee, 202.260.2540

Eric Schulz, 202.260.7349

You can also contact the Team by fax at (202) 205-5870. Please include the following information in any fax:

The Grant PR AWARD NUMBER that is in question (it looks like S358A _ _ _ _ _ _),
The NAME OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT (as it appears on the eligibility spreadsheet above or on your GAN),
The NAME, PHONE NUMBER, and EMAIL of a contact at your school district, and
the official school district ADDRESS, including the CITY, STATE and ZIP CODE.

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Last Modified: 01/27/2014