2014–2015 Public Charter School Program Start-UpGrant

 Word Version

 October 31, 2013

TO THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANT ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT:              Request for Application # 701-14-103

                              2014-2015 Public Charter School Program Start-UpGrant

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under request for application (RFA) # 701-14-103, 2014-2015 Public Charter School Program Start-Up Grant.

Eligible Applicants

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under Request for Applications (RFA) #701-14-103 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 November 30, 2013, that submits all required documentation as required by the RFA and previously described in the "To the Administrator Addressed" letter dated August 16, 2013; (2) an open-enrollment charter school approved by the commissioner of education under the Generation 18 charter application pursuant to the TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter D; (3) a college, university, or junior college charter school approved by the commissioner pursuant to the TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter E; or (4) an open-enrollment charter school designated by the commissioner of education for the 2014-2015 school year, as a new school under an existing charter. Charters awarded by the commissioner under the Generation 18 application that have been notified of contingencies to be cleared prior to receiving a charter contract are considered eligible to apply for the grant. However, these charters should be diligent in working with TEA to complete the contingency process as all contingencies pertaining to the charter application and approval must be cleared and a contract issued to the charter holder prior to receiving grant funding, if awarded. Charters submitting an application for a New School Designation for the 2014-2015 school year are considered eligible to apply for the grant. However, the commissioner must designate the campus as a new school under an existing charter prior to the charter receiving grant funding, if awarded.

Purpose of Program

The 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 $8.2 million is available for funding the 2014-2015 Public Charter School Program Start-Up Grant. It is anticipated that approximately 10 to 15 grants of no more than $800,000 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 2014-2015 Public Charter School Program Start-Up Grant will be implemented primarily during the 2014-2015 school year. Applicants should plan for a starting date of no earlier than May 1, 2014, and an ending date of no later than July 31, 2015.

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 November 25, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.. To reserve a webinar seat, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/301917602. 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 no later than Tuesday, November 12, 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

Local education agencies (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. 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 at least three of the copies (blue ink preferred), must be received 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, December 17, 2013, to be eligible to be considered for funding. Applicants delivering a grant application in person should take their materials to the TEA visitors' reception area on the second floor of the William B. Travis Building, 1701 North Congress Avenue (at 17th Street and North Congress, two blocks north of the Capitol), Austin, Texas, 78701. For applicants shipping or mailing the application, 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,

Sally Partridge

Associate Commissioner
Accreditation and School Improvement