English Language Learners

Title III Funds and Consortia Applicant Information - School Year 2017-18

To:Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, and Collaborative Leaders
From:Paul Aguiar, Director, Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement
Date:May 19, 2017

As you know, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is a recipient of a federal Title III grant, and the Department awards subgrants under Title III to eligible entities. Applications for Title III subgrants are generally available to local education agencies (LEAs) that enroll more than 100 English learners (ELs). However, districts may also apply for Title III funds as part of a consortium of LEAs for the purpose of receiving a Title III subgrant if the number of ELs in the LEAs that comprise the consortium total more than 100. In order to enter into a consortium, participating LEAs must develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or alternative arrangement that outlines how the consortium and its member districts will meet all Title III requirements such as ACCESS and MCAS participation and completing documents and providing evidence required for the grant application. Memoranda of understanding must be signed by the superintendents of all consortium member districts as well as the fiscal lead for the consortium. Additional guidance concerning the designation of fiscal agents, agreements, and Title III requirements for LEAs that wish to enter into consortia is found on the Title III webpage.

Subgrantees must agree to expend Title III funds to improve the education of ELs, by assisting them to learn English and meet challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards. Required and permissible activities for the use of Title III funds are listed in Section 3115 of Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). State requirements will be included in a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will be published on the Department's website closer to the grant application period, which is expected to open in July 2017. The RFP for Title III funds during the 2016-17 school year can be found at FY2017 Grant 180/186. Title III funds must be used to supplement the level of federal, state, and local public funds that, in the absence of such availability, would have been expended for programs for English learners and immigrant children and youth and in no case to supplant such federal, state, and local public funds. Information about the ESEA, reauthorized as ESSA, may be found on the federal Department of Education's website, at Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

For districts that intend to apply for Title III funds as part of a consortium of districts, the following apply:

  • A letter of intent must be submitted to and received by the Department no later than June 16, 2017, so that the Department may assign appropriate allocations of Title III funds to eligible districts and consortia. Letters of intent must be signed by the superintendents of all districts participating in the consortium, and must indicate which LEA shall be the lead agent for the consortium. Letters should be sent to the attention of Melanie Manares, Title III Coordinator, in the Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148, or e-mailed to mmanares@doe.mass.edu.
  • A consortium must designate one of the LEAs as its lead agent in a separate memorandum of understanding or contractual agreement that must be submitted to the Department before any grant application can be approved.
  • The lead agent is responsible for ensuring that consortium members fulfill all of their fiscal and programmatic responsibilities as subgrantees under Title III.
  • The lead agent is responsible for taking steps, either on its own or through its LEA partners, that result in all participating LEAs meeting their responsibilities under Title III to the ELs they serve. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, ensuring all ELs participate in ACCESS and content assessments when applicable, and completing improvement plans when necessary. Information about most recent targets for improvement, formerly known as Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) and how these targets and other measures will be used in the future will be forthcoming.
  • An LEA that has been designated as the lead agent for a consortium has the same role and responsibilities as any other LEA that has been designated as a lead agent.
  • The Department strongly recommends that LEAs that serve as lead agents appoint an individual who is familiar with state and federal grant applications and requirements to act as the liaison to the member districts.

For further information, please contact:

Melanie Manares
Title III Coordinator

Beth O'Connell
Title III Specialist

Last Updated: May 31, 2017

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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