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TEA News Releases Online July 18, 2014

 

AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has launched a federal grant flexibility initiative aimed at providing increased flexibility to grantees, including school districts, charter schools, education service centers, colleges and universities and non-profit entities that receive certain federal education grants administered through TEA.

The flexibility initiative is made up of new policies related to how TEA administers, manages and monitors federal grants. The policies are designed to give grantees greater flexibility in how they administer federal grant funds so that they can close student achievement gaps by operating effective programs that are based upon locally identified needs. Closing the student achievement gaps in Texas has been designated an agency and state priority by Commissioner of Education Michael Williams and is a component of the state’s accountability system for school districts, campuses and charters.

“Closing the achievement gaps among our student groups is a challenge faced not only in Texas, but also every state across the country,” said Commissioner Williams. “By providing greater flexibility on the use of certain federal funds, our state provides an avenue for greater student achievement in every classroom.”

The TEA Office for Grants and Federal Fiscal Compliance is primarily responsible for the initiative, but is working closely with other TEA departments, as well as local educational agencies, education service centers and other community stakeholders to develop and implement policies that are as beneficial to federal grant sub-recipients as possible. Specific policy changes 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; and
  • Strengthening accountability for federal dollars and providing more transparency.

In addition, a major component of this initiative is the promotion of Title I, Part A schoolwide programs. TEA is encouraging school districts and charter schools to take advantage of the flexibility offered by this program model, which allows campuses to use Title I, Part A funds to improve the academic achievement of all students on a campus. The program also eases several statutory and regulatory requirements, and allows a campus to consolidate its funds into a single budget pool to give options that work best for them based upon their local needs.

To learn more about the federal flexibility initiative, visit the TEA website at:http://www.tea.state.tx.us/grants/federalflexibility/.