Comprehensive School Reform Program

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Guidance on the Comprehensive School Reform Program
Updated August 2002
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C. Federal Awards to States

C-1. On what basis will the Department award CSR funds to SEAs?

The Department will award CSR grants on a formula basis to SEAs that submit an application containing the statutorily required information. The statute requires the Secretary to distribute Title I, Part F funds to SEAs according to each State's proportion of funds received the previous fiscal year under section 1124 of Title I. The Secretary must distribute the FIE portion on the basis of each State's relative share of the school-aged population, ages 5-17 inclusive.

C-2. Are the outlying areas and the Bureau of Indian Affairs eligible to receive CSR funds?

Yes. The Secretary is authorized to reserve up to one percent of the CSR funds appropriated for each fiscal year to provide assistance for schools in the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for schools supported by the BIA.

C-3. When do CSR funds become available to the States?

In general, States can access CSR funds beginning on July 1 of each year in which funds are appropriated, as long as the Secretary has approved their initial application.

C-4. What happens to a State's allocation if it does not apply for CSR funds?

The Department anticipates that all States will participate in this program. However, if an SEA does not apply for CSR funds, the Secretary will reallocate those funds among other States that do apply. A State's failure to participate in the CSR program will not affect its receipt of other Federal resources.

C-5. Why do CSR allocations to States sometimes vary from year to year, even if the total amount appropriated for CSR stays the same?

Even if appropriations levels remain the same, it is possible for allocations to SEAs to vary from year to year. Title I, Part F funds are allocated on the basis of each State's proportion of funds received under Title I, Part A (section 1124) for the preceding school year, and FIE funds are allocated on the basis of a State's relative share of the school-aged population. Therefore, even if the total amount appropriated for CSR State grants remains constant from one year to the next, changes in a State's relative share of funds received under section 1124 of Title I or changes in a State's school-aged population will affect the State's CSR allocation.

C-6. If a State's CSR allocation increases from one fiscal year to another, how may the State use the additional CSR resources?

A State must provide each CSR school or consortium of small schools with a subgrant that is of sufficient size and scope to support the initial cost of implementing its comprehensive school reform program. This funding shall be provided annually for a three-year grant period, as long as the school or schools are making sufficient implementation progress. (See F-7.) States may not fund any site below the $50,000 annual threshold. If a State has more than $50,000 of CSR funds available after making required continuation awards, the Department encourages the State to fund additional sites.

A State may also use remaining funds to supplement CSR activities at current sites and is not required to hold a formal competition in order to distribute these additional funds to existing grantees. For example, a State could supplement continuation awards to existing CSR sites for activities that further strengthen their comprehensive program, such as increased professional development or the implementation of programs that strengthen instruction. States could also use the funds for enhanced State-level activities, so long as the State does not retain more than five percent of a given year's CSR allotment. (See E-1.)

C-7. If a State's CSR allocation decreases from one fiscal year to another, how can the State adjust its distribution of CSR funds?

There are various ways that an SEA can address this problem. For example, where possible, a State could decrease the amount that it retains for administration, evaluation, and technical assistance. Alternately, the SEA could reduce the amount of continuation awards to its CSR grantees, either on a pro-rata basis or by analyzing school needs and proposed budgets and adjusting awards accordingly. If necessary, a State could also accommodate the decrease by accessing funds from the following fiscal year's appropriation. In any case, a State cannot choose to fund sites below the required minimum of $50,000 per year.

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Last Modified: 12/03/2004