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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2012

Adult and Community Learning Services

April 19, 2011

Dear Grant Applicant:

Enclosed for your review and response is the FY2012 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Adult Basic Education (ABE) Continuation Grants. This RFP is intended for applicants funded currently by the Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) unit of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE). The grant programs and fund codes included in this RFP are listed on the Executive Summary page.

To be considered for refunding, programs must meet the requirements and intent of the authorizing state and federal legislation and regulations governing the program and must have conducted a successful program based on the ABE Performance Standards in FY2011.

Applications for state-funded projects are due by Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Applications for federally-funded projects are due by Tuesday, August 2, 2011.

This continuation application package is for use by the following grant programs:

  1. Community Adult Learning Centers Basic Proposal and Program Service Options - Fund Codes: 340 (Federal) and 345 (State)

    1. Program Service Option 1 - ABE for the Homeless
    2. Program Service Option 2 - Participatory Health Education
    3. Program Service Option 3 - Family Literacy
    4. Program Service Option 4 - Volunteer Tutoring Component
  2. English Literacy and Civics Education - Fund Code: 359 (Federal)
  3. ABE Instructional Program for Incarcerated Adults - Fund Codes: 285 (Federal) and 563 (State)
  4. Primary Instruction by Volunteers - Fund Code: 287 (State)
  5. Workplace Education - Fund Code: 538 (State)
  6. Career Centers - Fund Code: 342 (Federal)
  7. Transition to Community Colleges - Fund Code: 668 (State)
  8. ABE Distance Learning - Instructional Hub - Fund Code 669-A (Federal)
  9. ABE Integrated Distance Learning Option - Fund Code 669-B (Federal)

Applicants should refer to Table 1 - Funding Allocations for funding amounts. It is important to note that funding levels are subject to the approval of state and federal appropriations and programs will be notified of any additional changes in funding levels. Please note that no expense may be charged to the grant before Adult and Community Learning Services submits an approved budget to Grants Management. State and federal regulations require that separate and auditable records be maintained for each project that you conduct.

It is important to note that there are two (2) significant policy changes that will be implemented in FY2012. These policy changes are explained below and also reflected in the FY2012 Statement of Assurances.

Fee-based Services
Recipients of ESE adult education grants must provide assurance that adults enrolled in the adult basic education program funded by the ESE grant shall not be charged tuition, non-refundable fees or any other charges, nor shall they be required to purchase any books or materials that are needed for participation in programs (state requirement).
A refundable deposit, for borrowed books and re-usable materials only, may be charged. Any grant recipient that elects to charge a book deposit must have documented policies for accepting and refunding deposits, and must provide the policy in writing to both the student and to ESE. Financial records must be kept that clearly indicate the name of the student making the deposit, the deposit amount, the materials borrowed, the dates the deposit was made, the date it was refunded to the student, and the amount refunded. The refund must be fully documented and auditable (e.g., with a check register or a cash receipt signed by the student). The grant recipient is responsible for maintaining documentation of all deposits and refunds, and must include in its annual report to ESE what percent of deposits are not refunded (state requirement).

Any agency that accepts an ESE adult education grant and also operates a fee-based program that provides similar services (i.e., services or instruction in Adult Basic Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, or Family Literacy services), must provide assurance to the Department that:

  1. enrollment will be non-discriminatory, specifically, students will not be directed to either the grant-funded or fee-based program on the basis of skill level or anticipated time to reach goals; and,
  2. the resources charged to the ESE grant-funded program, both personnel and non-personnel, will support only the students enrolled in the grant program, and that any services provided to fee-paying students will not be charged to the ESE grant. (Assurances (a) and (b) above state policies to support federal requirements.)

Fee income from an ABE, ESOL, or Family Literacy program may not be used as match for the ESE grant-funded program (state requirement).

Guidance for agencies operating both grant-funded and fee-based adult education programs:
The list below is intended to highlight a few important elements of appropriate fiscal management, and is not comprehensive. Agencies are advised to readGrants for Schools: Getting Them and Using Them, A Procedural Manual, and to seek counsel from their own auditors to ensure that multiple funding sources are handled appropriately.

Personnel funded by the ABE grant must dedicate all grant-funded time to work under the ABE grant, and to providing services to clients funded by the ABE grant. Administrators must inform program staff what portion of their time is funded by the ABE grant, and for how many hours per week they must provide services to grant-funded clients.

For any non-personnel resources charged to the ESE grant, the agency must provide a rationale and methodology for how costs are charged to the grant, and for how costs are allocated across programs that use the resources.

When space is shared between the ABE grant-funded program and programs supported through fees, foundation grants, or other funding sources, only the percent of space and percent of time that the space is used by the ABE grant-funded program may be charged to the ABE grant.

The agency must maintain separate auditable financial records that adequately identify the source and the application of individual grant funds, and which include source documentation (i.e., time and attendance records, payrolls, contracts, purchase orders, checks, and paid bills).

Support for Staff Development
Grant recipients must ensure that each staff person has an individual professional development plan and that each staff person participates in at least 12 paid hours of professional development annually. Beginning in FY2012, any professional development hours provided in the grant over and above the individual minimum of 12 hours will be distributed to program staff as the ABE program director determines they are most needed to improve student outcomes and support program improvement goals. The total professional development hours generated by the ABE Rates System must be used to compensate staff for time spent participating in professional development and reported in SMARTT (i.e., the ABE Rates System provides funds equal to 2.5% of each staff person's total paid hours to support staff participation in professional development on paid time).

We look forward to reviewing your grant application and continuing our work together in providing highly effective Adult Basic Education services to the undereducated and limited English proficient adults in the Commonwealth.

With Literacy in Mind,

Anne Serino
ABE State Director

Last Updated: April 19, 2011
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