The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes that throughout the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency, approved private special education school day and residential programs have predominately remained open in order to provide vital services to students with disabilities. These approved programs continue to provide essential services and supports to vulnerable populations of students, including some students who are in the care and custody of the Commonwealth through the Department of Children and Families. These programs continue to face negative economic impacts from COVID-19 such as shortages of direct care staff, increased costs, and unpredictable enrollment. Due to economic and other impacts of COVID-19, approved private special education day and residential school programs are experiencing significant challenges recruiting and retaining qualified and eligible staff necessary to provide services and supports to students that they serve. These programs are also faced with challenges in securing the materials and services necessary to maintain normal operations.
This grant opportunity is aimed at both strengthening and stabilizing the workforce in approved private special education day and residential school programs and providing these programs with the necessary materials and services required to maintain normal operations amid the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, the Commonwealth has allocated State funds for the approved private special education day and residential programs to assist them with maintaining and strengthening the workforce needed to provide essential services to Massachusetts students, and to provide other services and materials necessary to maintain normal operations. The goal of the EAASES Workforce FY23 grant is to increase recruitment, hiring, and retention of qualified and eligible staff and to provide these schools with the necessary resources to maintain normal operations, which in turn will increase the enrollment of Massachusetts students in the programs, and provide students with high quality direct care, educational services, and other services.
This memorandum provides approved special education programs with information regarding eligibility for and the allowable use of these funds.
Approximately $140M in state funding has been made available for this program based on a 14% increase in the OSD-approved price for students in each program, based on the higher of the number of students in the school's DESE-approved FY22 enrollment or the actual enrollment in the program reported to DESE as of November 23, 2021. The FY23 award allocations also accounted for programs that closed prior to the 2022-23 school year, as well as for one new program that opened. Programs may use the grant to fund any allowable expenses that have occurred since July 1, 2022.
Eligible agencies must submit the following information to receive the allocated funding:
Funding awards will be made on a rolling basis. After an approved program applies for EAASES Workforce FY23 funding, DESE will review and confirm that all eligibility criteria are met before executing a final contract with the school.
Approved programs must use at least 90% of the award for costs related to:
Approved programs may use up to 10% of the award for costs related to:
The following are not eligible under this grant: compensation, bonuses, incentives, benefits or any other types of payments for highly compensated employees or to executive management, administrators or individuals in positions that do not regularly provide direct care, educational services, or related services directly to the students in the approved programs.
Providers are encouraged to choose the most optimal use of funds to meet their workforce recruitment and retention needs, so long as such methods comply with all state requirements and related guidance.
If an approved program has questions or concerns regarding this grant, please contact DESE at ASESGrants@mass.gov .
Last Updated: September 16, 2022
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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