Request for Application # 701-13-104 2013-2014 Public Charter School Start-Up Grant

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Competitive Grant Funding Available

December 21, 2012

TO THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANT ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT: Request for Application # 701-13-104 2013-2014 Public Charter School Start-Up Grant

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under request for application (RFA) # 701-13-104, 2013-2014 Public Charter School Start-Up Grant.

Eligible Applicants
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under RFA # 701-13-104 from eligible charter schools to provide initial start-up funding for planning and/or implementing charter school activities. This competitive grant opportunity is available for charter schools that meet the federal definition of a charter school, have never received Public Charter Schools Program start-up funds, and are one of the following: (1) a campus charter school approved by its local board of trustees pursuant to the Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 12, Subchapter C, on or before January 31, 2013, that submits all required documentation as required by the RFA and previously described in the "To the Independent School District Administrator Addressed" letter dated August 24, 2012; (2) an open-enrollment charter school approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) under the Generation 17 charter application pursuant to the TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter D; (3) a college, university, or junior college charter school approved by the SBOE pursuant to the TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter E; or (4) an open-enrollment charter school designated by the commissioner of education on or before February 15, 2013, as a new school under an existing charter. For a charter awarded by the SBOE under the Generation 17 application, all contingencies pertaining to the charter application and approval must be cleared and a contract issued to the charter holder prior to applying for grant funding. Charter schools that have been notified of contingencies to be cleared prior to receiving a charter contract should be diligent in working with TEA to complete this process so that a grant application may be completed and submitted by the deadline date.

Purpose of Program
This purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools and expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to students.

Project Funding
Approximately $9 million is available for funding the 2013-2014 Public Charter School Start-Up Grant. It is anticipated that approximately 20 grants of no more than $600,000 each will be awarded. Applicants that are in their first or second year of eligibility may apply for grant funding if they meet the eligibility criteria. However, if selected for funding, the award amount will be prorated based on the remaining months of eligibility. This project is funded 100 percent with federal funds.

Project Period
The 2013-2014 Public Charter School Start-Up Grant will be implemented primarily during the 2013-2014 school year and partially during the 2014-2015 school year. Applicants should plan for a starting date of no earlier than July 1, 2013, and an ending date of no later than September 30, 2014.

Selection Criteria
Applications will be selected based on the independent reviewers' assessment of each applicant's ability to carry out all requirements contained in the RFA. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on the overall quality and validity of the proposed grant programs and the extent to which the applications address the primary objectives and intent of the project. Applications must address each requirement as specified in the RFA to be considered for funding. TEA reserves the right to select from the highest-ranking applications those that address all requirements in the RFA and that are most advantageous to the project.

TEA is not obligated to approve an application, provide funds, or endorse any application submitted in response to this RFA. This RFA does not commit TEA to pay any costs before an application is approved. The issuance of this RFA does not obligate TEA to award a grant or pay any costs incurred in preparing a response.

How to Apply
This RFA is in paper format. It must be downloaded, completed on the applicant’s computer desktop, printed, and submitted by mail or hand delivery. The complete RFA is posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities page at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms/GrantProgramSearch.aspx for viewing and downloading. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” section to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Applicants’ Conference
An applicants’ conference will be held by webinar on January 23, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To reserve a webinar seat, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/649238818.

The system requirements for PC-based attendees are Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, or Vista. The requirements for Macintosh-based attendees are Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. Each person attending will be required to sign a register setting out the representative’s name and the name, address, and telephone number of the applicant organization.

The entire applicants’ conference will be digitally recorded. Prospective applicants who are not able to attend the applicants’ conference may download the presentation to their computer desktop.

Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Arnoldo Alaniz at CharterSchools@tea.texas.gov or faxed to (512) 463-9732 prior to Friday, January 11, 2013. These questions along with other information will be addressed in the presentation. The conference will be open to all potential applicants and will provide prospective applicants an opportunity to receive general and clarifying information about the program and RFA.

Reporting Requirements
LEAs that are awarded grants are responsible for meeting all required deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines may result in loss of funds and could cause the LEA to be identified as “high risk.”

The reporting requirements for this grant are posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities website at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms/GrantProgramSearch.aspx. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to “Critical Events” to view all reporting deadlines that pertain to this grant.

For Further Information
In order to assure that no prospective applicant may obtain a competitive advantage because of acquisition of information unknown to other prospective applicants, any and all questions pertaining to the RFA must be submitted in writing to the TEA contact person listed on the TEA Grant Opportunities website. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to “Contact Information.”

Copies of the questions and the written answers thereto will be posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities website in the format of frequently asked questions (FAQs) at http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms by Tuesday, February 26, 2013. In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list. Scroll down to “Application and Support Information” to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Deadline for Receipt of Applications
Four copies of the application, with an original signature on Schedule #1—General Information on three of the copies (blue ink preferred), must be received 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, to be eligible to be considered for funding. Send the application to the following address:

Document Control Center

Division of Grants Administration
Texas Education Agency, William B. Travis Building
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin TX 78701-1494

Sincerely,


Laura Taylor
Associate Commissioner
Accreditation and School Improvement