Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2021: 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). Local Education Agencies (LEAs) 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 — (IDEA4) and Massachusetts Special Education laws (M.G.L. c. 71B) and regulations (603 CMR 28.00).


Priorities of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA4) 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 old's.
  • Provide special education services and supports in accordance with the federal IDEA and Massachusetts Special Education laws and regulations.
  • Ensure young children have available to them 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 LEAs in providing eligible students with appropriate special education services and activities to address the priorities as outlined in Section 619, Part B of the federal IDEA. 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 (IDEA4) and related regulations (34 CFR Part 300).

When considering fund use, each LEA should review: results from its most recent Tiered Focused Monitoring Review (Coordinated Program Review or Mid-Cycle Review); its Special Education Report, 2019 Determination of Need for Special Education Technical Assistance or Intervention Download Word Document; and LEA 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 LEAs 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 IDEA4.

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

The federal IDEA requires each LEA receiving IDEA grant funding (either Fund Code 240 or 262 or both) to meet two standards of maintenance of effort (MOE) to ensure that each maintains at least the same amount of local or state and local funds for the education of students with disabilities from year to year. MOE is one method of ensuring that IDEA funds are supplementing rather than supplanting state and local funds that would be used for educational services to students with disabilities. LEAs are only being asked to demonstrate one of the two standards, the eligibility standard for MOE, as part of the grant application process.

Eligibility Standard: This standard is a forward-looking measure of MOE. Meeting this standard ensures that a LEA has budgeted the same amount of local or state and local funds for educational services to students with disabilities as it did in the last year it met MOE using the same method. If a LEA fails to meet the eligibility standard for MOE (after taking into any applicable exception or adjustment), the LEA will not be eligible to receive IDEA funds for that fiscal year.

Funding Type:

Federal CFDA: 84.173A


FY21 Fund Code 262 Early Childhood Special Education allocations

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

Fund Use:

General Fund Use — All LEAs
Federal special education funds are given to LEAs to assist them in providing appropriate special education services for eligible students and to address the priorities listed above. LEAs are reminded of their responsibility to maintain state/local effort in special education. See IDEA Local Educational Agency Maintenance of Effort Quick Reference Guide Download Word Document and Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2011-1: Annual Fiscal Calculations.

IDEA also requires LEAs to designate federal funds to meet proportionate share obligations and expenditures for parentally placed private school and home-schooled students. All LEAs must complete the required proportionate share form within the FY21 IDEA Part B (Fund Code 262) grant application. See the Special Education Policy and Planning webpage for information on IDEA Equitable Services for Students with Disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools.

Additional Directed Fund Use —

Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS)
Any LEA identified with significant disproportionality is required to reserve 15 percent of its IDEA Part B funds (Fund Code 240 and Fund Code 262) to provide CCEIS to address factors contributing to the significant disproportionality. See 34 CFR § 300.646. CCEIS activities:

  • May include Professional development and educational and behavioral evaluations, services, and support; and
  • Must identify and address the factors contributing to the significant disproportionality, which may include,
    • a lack of access to scientifically based instruction; economic cultural, or linguistic barriers to appropriate identification or placement in particular educational setting;
    • inappropriate use of disciplinary removals;
    • lack of access to appropriate diagnostic screenings;
    • difference in academic achievement levels; and
    • policies, practices, or procedures that contribute to the significant disproportionality.

Any questions related to CCEIS, contact Brian Coonley or 781-338-3374.

Project Duration:

Upon Approval through 6/30/2021 (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. The extended period is broken up by fiscal year, as follows: 7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022 (Year 2); 7/1/2022 – 9/30/2022 (Year 3)

Program Unit:

Resource Allocation Strategy and Planning


Federal Grant Programs at

Phone Number:

(781) 338-6230

Date Due:

Monday, October 5, 2020

Required Forms:
Download Excel Document
FY21 Consolidated IDEA Application Workbook
  • Signature Page — Standard Contract Form (Tab 1 of the IDEA Consolidated Application) with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director, one for each fund code. Note: Please sign and date your cover page and ensure the amount matches the amount budgeted. We cannot approve any grant without an uploaded, signed and properly dated signature page for each fund code. Electronic signatures cannot be accepted.

  • 262 Early Childhood Special Ed budget must be entered both on the consolidated workbook tab as well as in EdGrants in the Budget Entry formlet. The budget tab in the workbook and the EdGrants budget should match.

  • Schedule A Form (if applicable)

Download Excel Document
Schedule A Member Supplement (If applicable). Each member of a Schedule A consortium, applying for FC 262 must complete tabs calculating the proportionate share for equitable services, as applicable and a Maintenance of Effort tab if the member LEA is not submitting a FY21 IDEA Consolidated application).
Download Word Document
FY21 Federal Grant Assurances — to be uploaded with the district's FY21 FC: 305 Title I submission in EdGrants. Signature Page (Page 1 only) completed and signed by the Superintendent/Executive Director. If your district does not receive a Title I grant (Fund Code 305), contact your district's DESE grant liaison Download Excel Document or the federal grants programs office at for submission instructions. We cannot approve any federal entitlement grant without a signed, properly dated and uploaded Federal Grant Assurance signature page.

Additional Information:
Submission Instructions:

Note: Applicants may only legally claim expenses to the grant starting from the date of final DESE approval. The start date for the grant is the date on which the LEA submits substantially approvable budget and information for the grant. Therefore, to expedite approval, it is essential to have LEA staff that can be reached in July and August to respond to questions, as needed.

Submit the Application Submission and required grant materials in EdGrants. Your IDEA consolidated workbook should only be submitted with your FC 240 submission.

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

FY21 FC 262 IDEA Applicant Number
For example, Abington (0001) would name the file as FY21 FC 262 IDEA 0001

In EdGrants, LEA staff assigned the role of "control user" should enter the grant budget and attach a PDF of the FY21 Consolidated IDEA Application workbook along with a PDF of the Signature Page with an original signature of the Superintendent/Executive Director, the signed FY21 Federal Grant Assurances Signature page, and any other form applicable to your LEAs FY21 FC 262 Grants submission (e.g., Schedule A). The entire Consolidated IDEA Application Workbook must be uploaded with your FC 240 budget in EdGrants.

Note: See Required Forms above for additional forms that may be required from some applicants.

For Guidance Documents regarding EdGrants, visit EdGrants: User Guides and Information.

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

Last Updated: July 23, 2020

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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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