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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2019: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program Federal Entitlement Grant

Fund Code: 262


The purpose of this federal special education entitlement grant program is to provide funds to ensure that eligible 3, 4, and 5 year-old children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education that includes special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). School Districts are required to ensure that children, aged 3 through 5, who need special education and related services, receive these services through free and appropriate public education (FAPE), in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - 2004 (IDEA-2004) and Massachusetts Special Education laws (M.G.L. c. 71B) and regulations (603 CMR 28.00).


Priorities of the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-2004) are to:

  • Serve eligible children, aged 3 to 5 years old, with disabilities through the provision of special education and related services deemed essential for student success
  • Ensure services and supports are available for eligible children with disabilities, aged 3 to 5 years old, that are developmentally appropriate and specifically designed for 3 to 5 year olds.
  • Provide special education services and supports in accordance with the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-2004) and Massachusetts Special Education laws and regulations.
  • Ensure young children have available to them a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special educational and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for future education.
  • Support young children with disabilities, aged 3 to 5, in inclusive and natural environments.
  • Ensure the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected.
  • Assist localities and educational service agencies to educate all children with disabilities.
  • Assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

Funds available under this federal early childhood special education entitlement program are intended for use by districts in providing eligible students with appropriate special education services and activities to address the priorities as outlined in Section 619, Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004. Services and activities supported by this grant for students ages 3 through 5 must ensure compliance with state special education laws (M.G.L. c. 71B) and regulations (603 CMR 28.00), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - 2004 (IDEA-2004) and related regulations (34 CFR Part 300).

When considering fund use, each school district should review: results from its most recent Tiered Focused Monitoring Review (Coordinated Program Review or Mid-Cycle Review); its Determination of Need for Special Education Technical Assistance or Intervention Download Word Document; and district performance in relation to the indicators specified in the Massachusetts State Performance Plan specific to early childhood special education and family engagement. Specifically, consider the ECSE Strategic Areas:

  1. Improving systems to engage effectively with families
  2. Improving systems to assist transition from early intervention to prekindergarten and from prekindergarten to kindergarten
  3. Improving instruction to increase educational outcomes in:
    1. Social/Emotional Skills and Social Relationships;
    2. Acquiring and Using Knowledge and Skills; and
    3. Taking Appropriate Action to Meet Needs


These early childhood special education entitlement funds are allocated to public school districts with a Special Education Program Plan approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education based on a federal formula as required by Part B of Section 619 of the IDEA-2004.

Please note that the DESE reserves the right to require that these funds be used to correct areas of identified noncompliance.

Funding Type:

Federal CFDA: 84.173A

Download Excel Document
FY 2019 Fund Code 262 allocations

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are approximate and are subject to change. If more funding becomes available, it will be distributed under the same guidelines as listed in the initial RFP document.

Fund Use:

General Fund Use — All Districts

Federal special education funds are given to school districts to assist them in providing appropriate special education services for eligible students and to address the priorities listed above. Districts are reminded of their responsibility to maintain state/local effort in special education. See Special Education Administrative Advisory SPED 2016-2: Requirements related to Maintenance of Effort and Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2011-1: Annual Fiscal Calculations.

IDEA also requires districts to designate federal funds to meet proportionate share obligations and expenditures for parentally placed private school students and home schooled students. Beginning with the FY19 grant application, all districts must submit the required proportionate share forms with the FY19 Fund Code 262 grant application. Child count and related information used to calculate the required proportionate share expenditures for eligible private school students ages 3 through 5 may be obtained from the proportionate share activities reported in the district's Fund Code 240 grant application. See the DESE web page for more information about Proportionate Share Services for Students with Disabilities Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools. Review the Proportionate Share Calculation for School Year Expenditures memo from Russell Johnson, State Director of Special Education.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval through 6/30/2019 (Year 1)*

*The period of availability for this grant award can be extended 15 months beyond Year 1 by utilizing the multi-year feature for this Funding Opportunity in EdGrants. Extended period is broken up by fiscal year, as follows: 7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020 (Year 2); 7/1/2020 – 9/30/2020 (Year 3)

Program Unit:

Resource Allocation Strategy and Planning


Federal Grant Programs

Phone Number:

(781) 338-6230

Date Due:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Required Forms:

The budget is required to be filled out in EdGrants, complete with line item descriptions.

Required for all LEAs:

Download Excel Document
Cover Sheet with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director
Note: Please sign and date your cover page and ensure the amount matches the amount budgeted
Download Excel Document
Proportionate Share Calculation Form (must be completed on a PC, not a Mac)

Required if applicable:

Download Excel Document
Schedule "A" Attachment

Additional Information:
Download Word Document
FC 262 Quick Reference Guide on allowable and unallowable costs
Download Word Document
Checklist and Instructions for Completing FY19 SPED 262 Grant Application
Download Word Document
FY19 Proportionate Share — Calculation Form Instructions

Instructions for Completing an Application Submission in EdGrants

The start date for each grant is the date on which the district submits substantially approvable information and budget for that grant.


Submit all required grant materials through EdGrants

In EdGrants, districts are required to create and name the project. Please use the following naming convention for your "Applicant Project Name" in EdGrants:

FY19 262 SPED [LEA Code - District Name]

All items listed under the required forms section of this RFP should be uploaded /attached in the Attachments List formlet of the Application Submission in EdGrants. This includes a signed / scanned PDF of Part I / Coversheet with an original signature of the Superintendent or Executive Director, 262 Proportionate Share Calculation Form as well as all other applicable forms.

The final budget the applicant is requesting will be entered directly into EdGrants as part of the application submission process. For Guidance Documents regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides and Information.

Please note: It is up to the district to determine who they want to add as EdGrants Front Office users in order to submit the grant application as well as payment request information. Please review the EdGrants: User Security Controls to make informed decisions regarding assigning your district level users.

Contact Us

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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