Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2022: SOA Rural Innovation and Efficiencies

Fund Code: 123

The purpose of this competitive grant program is to improve educational opportunities for all students by supporting increased efficiencies and educational program quality within and across rural school districts. This grant is intended to:
"Address persistent disparities in achievement among student subgroups, improve educational opportunities for all students, share best practices for improving classroom learning and support efficiencies within and across school districts." — Student Opportunity Act, 21st Century Education Program, Section 16A

Priority will be given to applications submitted by or on behalf of districts with a high percentage of low-income students and English learners and/or low or declining enrollment.

Priority will be given to partnerships across districts.

Priority will be given to applicants who articulate plans to: build coherent evidence-based programs, address achievement gaps of identified student groups, and improve equity, especially racial equity.


This grant opportunity is open to any of the 51 school districts receiving DESE Rural School Aid or any group of eligible rural districts with one district as the lead agent. An eligible lead rural district may include services from other non-eligible districts or entities that can contribute services to improve initiative success. Please see a list of eligible districts in Additional Information, Appendix A.

Any Educational Collaborative or Higher Education Institution may apply for this grant on behalf of a group of eligible rural districts. Education Collaboratives may apply on behalf of districts that are and are not those they currently serve.

Funding Type:



These funds may be used across one or two fiscal years (FY2022 and FY2023).

Applicants can apply for program planning and/or implementation funds across one or two years (FY2022 and FY2023). A second year of funding will be granted pending approval of an annual progress review. Any applicant submitting a two-year proposal will be expected to participate in the progress review.

For guidance purposes only, the anticipated grant range is approximately $100,000 per participating district. Grants involving multiple districts are anticipated to request approximately $100,000 per participating district.

All applicants funded under this grant, agree to participate in any data gathering and submission, including staff interviews, requested by DESE for the purpose of analyzing the effectiveness of this initiative.

All applicants funded under this grant agree to participate in strategies for replication of effective practices developed under this grant.

An applicant that is awarded funds under this grant may submit a written request for a waiver of one or more provisions of the education regulations of the Commonwealth to permit the applicant to initiate programs, schedules or services that shall improve student learning.

The total allocation per grant will be determined by financial needs articulated by eligible applicants and may be modified by the Department. The requested amount should be appropriate and reasonable for the size and scope of the proposed program.

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:

Applicants may spend the funds on activities intended to increase efficiencies and educational program quality, such as:

  • Course sharing
  • Culturally responsive practices
  • District level support for instructional leadership (e.g., coaches for principals)
  • Early college opportunities
  • Extended day activities
  • Mental health services
  • Professional development
  • Shared administrative services or functions
  • Shared curriculum implementation

The list above is intended to be suggestive and not exhaustive of the kinds of activities that can be funded through this grant. Applicants may select activities from the above list or propose other activities.

Fund use must be consistent with applicable state and federal requirements. Funding will only be approved after programmatic and budgetary reviews by Department staff and upon review by the Office of the Governor. All expenditures will be closely reviewed as they relate to the priorities of this grant opportunity.

Funds for these programs may not be used for capital expenses.

Funds may be used in FY2022 through June 30, 2022, and in FY2023 from July 1 – June 30, 2023, pending the annual progress review outcome.

Project Duration:

FY2022: Upon Approval – 6/30/2022
FY2023: 7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023 (pending successful participation in progress review)
Please note: FY2023 funds will need a separate application submission in EdGrants in the Spring of 2022 for an intended July 1 start date.

Program Unit:

Statewide System of Support


Abigail T. Slayton

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3517

Date Due:

Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

See Appendix A for list of eligible districts.

Submission Instructions:

Please email the required documents listed above attached to a single email, to , using the subject line FC 123 Proposal [District name]. If a lead district or entity is applying on behalf of partnering districts, please attach an email from each participating district confirming their agreement to participate in this partnership.

Please use the following file formats:

  • Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants) — Word document or PDF with original signature of authorized signatory

  • Part II — Budget Details Pages Workbook — Excel spreadsheet

  • Part III — Required Program Information — Word document

  • Email confirmations from each district participating in a partnership

Applicants will receive a confirmation when the required forms are received. Early submission is strongly encouraged in order to ensure the complete application is received and confirmed by 5pm on the due date.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

Last Updated: December 7, 2021

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