Increased Flexibility for Federal Grant Funds

Word Version 

June 2, 2014 

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED: 

SUBJECT:      Increased Flexibility for Federal Grant Funds

One of Commissioner Williams’ top priorities for Texas education is to close the gaps in student achievement. In support of this priority, TEA has launched a new initiative that provides increased flexibility for subrecipients of federal education grants. We are developing new policies related to how we administer, manage, and monitor federal grants. These changes will allow subrecipients to close student achievement gaps by operating effective programs that are based upon locally identified needs.

Policy Changes

In order to provide increased flexibility to federal grant subrecipients, TEA will implement policy changes that focus on:

·        Allowing more discretion at the local level.

·        Providing clear guidance with examples and models.

·        Removing barriers that are unnecessary and burdensome.

·        Improving performance and program outcomes.

·        Ensuring that grant funds are spent in accordance with program statute and regulations.

·        Strengthening accountability for federal dollars; minimizing waste, fraud, and abuse; and providing more transparency.

Over the next few months, we will share more details about specific policy changes through conferences, meetings, and published guidance. Additionally, TEA will hold a number of focus group meetings to gather feedback about proposed policy changes. A new, user-friendly web page dedicated to the flexibility initiative will be available in June of 2014.

Schoolwide Programs

The largest part of this initiative will be the promotion of Title I, Part A schoolwide programs. TEA will encourage schools to take advantage of the flexibility offered by the schoolwide program model, which allows campuses to use Title I, Part A funds to improve the academic achievement of all of their students, not just certain eligible students. The program also eases several statutory and regulatory requirements, and allows campuses to consolidate their funds into a single budget “pool.” TEA is developing a web page that will help campuses adopt the schoolwide program model, with specific guidance about accounting requirements. This page will also be available in June of 2014.

For More Information

TEA will release new information about the flexibility initiative as it becomes available.

For more information about the topics covered in this letter, contact Thomas Howe in the Office for Grants and Federal Fiscal Compliance at (512) 463-8992 or thomas.howe@tea.state.tx.us.

Sincerely,

Lizzette C. González Reynolds

Chief Deputy Commissioner

LCGR/tr