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Notice

Grant Guideline, Notice

Action

Grant Guideline For Fy 2013.

Summary

This Guideline sets forth the administrative, programmatic, and financial requirements attendant to Fiscal Year 2013 State Justice Institute grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

October 11, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Jonathan Mattiello, Executive Director, State Justice Institute, 11951 Freedom Drive, Suite 1020, Reston, VA 20190, 571-313-8843, jonathan.mattiello@sji.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Pursuant to the State Justice Institute Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10701, et seq.), SJI is authorized to award grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to state and local courts, nonprofit organizations, and others for the purpose of improving the quality of justice in the state courts of the United States.

The following Grant Guideline is adopted by the State Justice Institute for FY 2013.

Table of Contents Back to Top

I. The Mission of the State Justice Institute

II. Eligibility for Award

III. Scope of the Program

IV. Grant Applications

V. Grant Application Review Procedures

VI. Compliance Requirements

VII. Financial Requirements

VIII. Grant Adjustments

  • Appendix A Grant Application Forms

○ Form A—Application and Application Instructions

○ Form B—Certificate of State Approval and Instructions

○ Form C—Project Budget and Instructions

○ Form D—Assurances

○ Form E—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

  • Appendix B Education Support Program (ESP) Application Forms (Forms ESP-1 and ESP-2)

I. The Mission of the State Justice Institute Back to Top

SJI was established by State Justice Institute Authorization Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10701 et seq.) to improve the administration of justice in the state courts of the United States. Incorporated in the State of Virginia as a private, nonprofit corporation, SJI is charged, by statute, with the responsibility to:

  • Direct a national program of financial assistance designed to assure that each citizen of the United States is provided ready access to a fair and effective system of justice;
  • Foster coordination and cooperation with the federal judiciary;
  • Promote recognition of the importance of the separation of powers doctrine to an independent judiciary; and
  • Encourage education for judges and support personnel of state court systems through national and state organizations.

To accomplish these broad objectives, SJI is authorized to provide funding to state courts, national organizations which support and are supported by state courts, national judicial education organizations, and other organizations that can assist in improving the quality of justice in the state courts. SJI is supervised by a Board of Directors appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Board is statutorily composed of six judges; a state court administrator; and four members of the public, no more than two can be of the same political party.

Through the award of grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, SJI is authorized to perform the following activities:

A. Support technical assistance, demonstrations, special projects, research and training to improve the administration of justice in the state courts;

B. Provide for the preparation, publication, and dissemination of information regarding state judicial systems;

C. Participate in joint projects with federal agencies and other private grantors;

D. Evaluate or provide for the evaluation of programs and projects to determine their impact upon the quality of criminal, civil, and juvenile justice and the extent to which they have contributed to improving the quality of justice in the state courts;

E. Encourage and assist in furthering judicial education; and,

F. Encourage, assist, and serve in a consulting capacity to state and local justice system agencies in the development, maintenance, and coordination of criminal, civil, and juvenile justice programs and services.

II. Eligibility for Award Back to Top

SJI is authorized by Congress to award grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to the following entities and types of organizations:

A. State and local courts and their agencies (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(1)(A)).

B. National nonprofit organizations controlled by, operating in conjunction with, and serving the judicial branches of state governments (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(1)(B)).

C. National nonprofit organizations for the education and training of judges and support personnel of the judicial branch of state governments (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(1)(C)). An applicant is considered a national education and training applicant under section 10705(b)(1)(C) if:

1. The principal purpose or activity of the applicant is to provide education and training to state and local judges and court personnel; and

2. The applicant demonstrates a record of substantial experience in the field of judicial education and training.

D. Other eligible grant recipients (42 U.S.C. 10705 (b)(2)(A)-(D)).

1. Provided that the objectives of the project can be served better, the Institute is also authorized to make awards to:

a. Nonprofit organizations with expertise in judicial administration;

b. Institutions of higher education;

c. Individuals, partnerships, firms, corporations (for-profit organizations must waive their fees); and

d. Private agencies with expertise in judicial administration.

2. SJI may also make awards to state or local agencies and institutions other than courts for services that cannot be adequately provided through nongovernmental arrangements (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(3)).

E. Inter-agency Agreements. SJI may enter into inter-agency agreements with federal agencies (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(4)) and private funders to support projects consistent with the purposes of the State Justice Institute Act.

SJI is prohibited from awarding grants to federal, tribal, and international courts.

III. Scope of the Program Back to Top

SJI is offering six types of grants in FY 2013: Project Grants, Technical Assistance (TA) Grants, Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grants, Partner Grants, Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIG) Program, and the Education Support Program (ESP).

The SJI Board of Directors has established Priority Investment Areas for grant funding. SJI will allocate significant financial resources through grant-making for these Priority Investment Areas (in no ranking order):

  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP)—e.g., interpretation service plans, remove interpretation (outside the courtroom), interpreter certification, courtroom services (plain language forms, Web sites, etc.).
  • Self-Represented Litigation—e.g., court-operated self-help centers, online services, training.
  • Reengineering in Response to Budget Reductions—e.g., the process of court reengineering, regionalization or centralization of services, structural changes, the electronic record.
  • Human Trafficking and the State Courts—e.g., technical assistance/training, trafficking victim identification and assistance.
  • Immigration Issues in the State Courts—e.g., impact of federal and state immigration law and policies, juvenile and family issues, technical assistance/training.
  • Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Elder Issues—e.g., court visitor programs, electronic reporting, reports, technical assistance/training.

The Priority Investment Areas replace the former Special Interest Categories for Project Grants in many ways—most importantly in that they apply to ALL grant types (with the exception of the Education Support Program). SJI strongly encourages potential grant applicants to consider projects addressing one or more of these Priority Investment Areas.

A. Project Grants

Project Grants are intended to support innovative education and training, research and evaluation, demonstration, and technical assistance projects that can improve the administration of justice in state courts locally or nationwide. Project Grants may ordinarily not exceed $300,000. Examples of expenses not covered by Project Grants include the salaries, benefits, or travel of full-or part-time court employees. Grant periods for Project Grants ordinarily may not exceed 36 months.

Applicants for Project Grants will be required to contribute a cash match of not less than 50 percent of the total cost of the proposed project. In other words, grant awards by SJI must be matched at least dollar for dollar by grant applicants. Applicants may contribute the required cash match directly or in cooperation with third parties. Prospective applicants should carefully review Section VI.8. (matching requirements) and Section VI.16.a. (non-supplantation) of the Guideline prior to beginning the application process. If questions arise, applicants are strongly encouraged to consult SJI.

A temporary reduced cash match process is available for state courts submitting Project Grant applications. The use of this cash match reduction authority is intended to help the state courts in this climate of severe budget reductions. The process requires the state court to formally request a reduced cash match, and that the request be certified by the chief justice of that state. The state court must explain in detail how it is facing budgetary cutbacks that will result in significant reductions in other services, and why it will be unable to undertake the project without a cash match reduction. This must be described in detail in the application and verified by the chief justice of that state. Only state courts may apply for a cash match reduction.

Applicants should examine their projected project costs closely, and if they are unable to cover half the costs of the project, they may apply for a reduction in cash match. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide as much cash match as possible in their application, as some cash match contribution is still required.

Applicants are also encouraged to provide the percentage of budget reductions in their court(s), and the measures that have been taken by the jurisdiction/state to handle the budget shortfalls. This may include staff reductions, as well as reductions in services and programs. Some cash contribution is still required for Project Grants, and should be reflected in the budget proposal for the project. For example, if the total cost of the proposed project is $100,000, the normal cash match would be $50,000. However, if the applicant is unable to provide $50,000 for the activities, but is able to contribute $25,000, the budget should show the request to SJI totaling $75,000, with the cash match of $25,000.

As set forth in Section I., SJI is authorized to fund projects addressing a broad range of program areas. Funding will not be made available for the ordinary, routine operations of court systems.

B. Technical Assistance (TA) Grants

TA Grants are intended to provide state or local courts, or regional court associations, with sufficient support to obtain expert assistance to diagnose a problem, develop a response to that problem, and implement any needed changes. TA Grants may not exceed $50,000. Examples of expenses not covered by TA Grants include the salaries, benefits, or travel of full- or part-time court employees. Grant periods for TA Grants ordinarily may not exceed 24 months. In calculating project duration, applicants are cautioned to fully consider the time required to issue a request for proposals, negotiate a contract with the selected provider, and execute the project.

Applicants for TA Grants will be required to contribute a total match of not less than 50 percent of the grant amount requested, of which 20 percent must be cash. In other words, an applicant seeking a $50,000 TA grant must provide a $25,000 match, of which up to $20,000 can be in-kind and not less than $5,000 must be cash. TA Grant application procedures can be found in section IV.B.

C. Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grants

CAT Grants are intended to: (1) Enable courts and regional or national court associations to modify and adapt model curricula, course modules, or conference programs to meet states' or local jurisdictions' educational needs; train instructors to present portions or all of the curricula; and pilot-test them to determine their appropriateness, quality, and effectiveness, or (2) conduct judicial branch education and training programs, led by either expert or in-house personnel, designed to prepare judges and court personnel for innovations, reforms, and/or new technologies recently adopted by grantee courts. CAT Grants may not exceed $30,000. Examples of expenses not covered by CAT Grants include the salaries, benefits, or travel of full- or part-time court employees. Grant periods for CAT Grants ordinarily may not exceed 12 months.

Applicants for CAT Grants will be required to contribute a match of not less than 50 percent of the grant amount requested, of which 20 percent must be cash. In other words, an applicant seeking a $30,000 CAT grant must provide a $15,000 match, of which up to $12,000 can be in-kind and not less than $3,000 must be cash. CAT Grant application procedures can be found in section IV.C.

D. Partner Grants

Partner Grants are intended to allow SJI and federal, state, or local agencies or foundations, trusts, or other private entities to combine financial resources in pursuit of common interests. SJI and its financial partners may set any level for Partner Grants, subject to the entire amount of the grant being available at the time of the award. Grant periods for Partner Grants ordinarily may not exceed 36 months.

Partner Grants are subject to the same cash match requirement as Project Grants. In other words, grant awards by SJI must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar. Partner Grants are coordinated by the funding organizations. Partner Grant application procedures can be found in section IV.E.

E. Strategic Initiatives Grants

The Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIG) program provides SJI with the flexibility to address national court issues as they occur, and develop solutions to those problems. This is an innovative approach where SJI uses its expertise and the expertise and knowledge of its grantees to address key issues facing state courts across the United States.

The funding is used for grants or contractual services, and any remaining balance not used for the SIG program will become available for SJI's other grant programs. The program is handled at the discretion of the SJI Board of Directors and staff outside the normal grant application process (i.e., SJI will initiate the project).

F. Education Support Program (ESP) for Judges and Court Managers

The new Education Support Program (ESP), formally the Scholarship Program, is intended to enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of state court judges and court managers by enabling them to attend out-of-state, or to enroll in online, educational and training programs sponsored by national and state providers that they could not otherwise attend or take online because of limited state, local, and personal budgets. An ESP award only covers the cost of tuition up to a maximum of $1,000 per award. ESP application procedures can be found in section IV.D.

IV. Grant Applications Back to Top

A. Project Grants

An application for a Project Grant must include an application form; budget forms (with appropriate documentation); a project abstract and program narrative; a disclosure of lobbying form, when applicable; and certain certifications and assurances (see below). See Appendix B for the Project Grant application forms.

1. Forms

a. Application Form (Form A)

The application form requests basic information regarding the proposed project, the applicant, and the total amount of funding requested from SJI. It also requires the signature of an individual authorized to certify on behalf of the applicant that the information contained in the application is true and complete; that submission of the application has been authorized by the applicant; and that if funding for the proposed project is approved, the applicant will comply with the requirements and conditions of the award, including the assurances set forth in Form D.

b. Certificate of State Approval (Form B)

An application from a state or local court must include a copy of Form B signed by the state's chief justice or state court administrator. The signature denotes that the proposed project has been approved by the state's highest court or the agency or council it has designated. It denotes further that, if applicable, a cash match reduction has been requested, and that if SJI approves funding for the project, the court or the specified designee will receive, administer, and be accountable for the awarded funds.

c. Budget Form (Form C)

Applicants must submit a Form C. In addition, applicants must provide a detailed budget narrative providing an explanation of the basis for the estimates in each budget category (see subsection A.4. below).

If funds from other sources are required to conduct the project, either as match or to support other aspects of the project, the source, current status of the request, and anticipated decision date must be provided.

d. Assurances (Form D)

This form lists the statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements with which recipients of Institute funds must comply.

e. Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (Form E)

Applicants other than units of state or local government are required to disclose whether they, or another entity that is part of the same organization as the applicant, have advocated a position before Congress on any issue, and to identify the specific subjects of their lobbying efforts (see section VI.A.7.).

2. Project Abstract

The abstract should highlight the purposes, goals, methods, and anticipated benefits of the proposed project. It should not exceed 1 single-spaced page on 81/2by 11 inch paper.

3. Program Narrative

The program narrative for an application may not exceed 25 double-spaced pages on 81/2by 11 inch paper. Margins must be at least 1 inch, and type size must be at least 12-point and 12 cpi. The pages should be numbered. This page limit does not include the forms, the abstract, the budget narrative, and any appendices containing resumes and letters of cooperation or endorsement. Additional background material should be attached only if it is essential to impart a clear understanding of the proposed project. Numerous and lengthy appendices are strongly discouraged.

The program narrative should address the following topics:

a. Project Objectives

The applicant should include a clear, concise statement of what the proposed project is intended to accomplish. In stating the objectives of the project, applicants should focus on the overall programmatic objective (e.g., to enhance understanding and skills regarding a specific subject, or to determine how a certain procedure affects the court and litigants) rather than on operational objectives (e.g., provide training for 32 judges and court managers, or review data from 300 cases).

The applicant must describe how the proposed project addresses one or more Priority Investment Areas. If the project does not address one or more Priority Investment Areas, the applicant must provide an explanation why not.

b. Need for the Project

If the project is to be conducted in any specific location(s), the applicant should discuss the particular needs of the project site(s) to be addressed by the project and why those needs are not being met through the use of existing programs, procedures, services, or other resources.

If the project is not site-specific, the applicant should discuss the problems that the proposed project would address, and why existing programs, procedures, services, or other resources cannot adequately resolve those problems. In addition, the applicant should describe how, if applicable, the project will be sustained in the future through existing resources.

The discussion should include specific references to the relevant literature and to the experience in the field. SJI continues to make all grant reports and most grant products available online through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Library and Digital Archive. Applicants are required to conduct a search of the NCSC Library and Digital Archive on the topic areas they are addressing. This search should include SJI-funded grants, and previous projects not supported by SJI. Searches for SJI grant reports and other state court resources begin with the NCSC Library section. Applicants must discuss the results of their research; how they plan to incorporate the previous work into their proposed project; and if the project will differentiate from prior work.

c. Tasks, Methods and Evaluations

(1) Tasks and Methods. The applicant should delineate the tasks to be performed in achieving the project objectives and the methods to be used for accomplishing each task. For example:

(a) For research and evaluation projects, the applicant should include the data sources, data collection strategies, variables to be examined, and analytic procedures to be used for conducting the research or evaluation and ensuring the validity and general applicability of the results. For projects involving human subjects, the discussion of methods should address the procedures for obtaining respondents' informed consent, ensuring the respondents' privacy and freedom from risk or harm, and protecting others who are not the subjects of research but would be affected by the research. If the potential exists for risk or harm to human subjects, a discussion should be included that explains the value of the proposed research and the methods to be used to minimize or eliminate such risk.

(b) For education and training projects, the applicant should include the adult education techniques to be used in designing and presenting the program, including the teaching/learning objectives of the educational design, the teaching methods to be used, and the opportunities for structured interaction among the participants; how faculty would be recruited, selected, and trained; the proposed number and length of the conferences, courses, seminars, or workshops to be conducted and the estimated number of persons who would attend them; the materials to be provided and how they would be developed; and the cost to participants.

(c) For demonstration projects, the applicant should include the demonstration sites and the reasons they were selected, or if the sites have not been chosen, how they would be identified and their cooperation obtained; and how the program or procedures would be implemented and monitored.

(d) For technical assistance projects, the applicant should explain the types of assistance that would be provided; the particular issues and problems for which assistance would be provided; the type of assistance determined; how suitable providers would be selected and briefed; and how reports would be reviewed.

(2) Evaluation. Projects should include an evaluation plan to determine whether the project met its objectives. The evaluation should be designed to provide an objective and independent assessment of the effectiveness or usefulness of the training or services provided; the impact of the procedures, technology, or services tested; or the validity and applicability of the research conducted. The evaluation plan should be appropriate to the type of project proposed.

d. Project Management

The applicant should present a detailed management plan, including the starting and completion date for each task; the time commitments to the project of key staff and their responsibilities regarding each project task; and the procedures that would ensure that all tasks are performed on time, within budget, and at the highest level of quality. In preparing the project time line, Gantt Chart, or schedule, applicants should make certain that all project activities, including publication or reproduction of project products and their initial dissemination, would occur within the proposed project period. The management plan must also provide for the submission of Quarterly Progress and Financial Reports within 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter (i.e., no later than January 30, April 30, July 30, and October 30), per section VI.A.13.

Applicants should be aware that SJI is unlikely to approve a limited extension of the grant period without strong justification. Therefore, the management plan should be as realistic as possible and fully reflect the time commitments of the proposed project staff and consultants.

e. Products

The program narrative in the application should contain a description of the product(s) to be developed (e.g., training curricula and materials, Web sites or other electronic multimedia, articles, guidelines, manuals, reports, handbooks, benchbooks, or books), including when they would be submitted to SJI. The budget should include the cost of producing and disseminating the product to the state chief justice, state court administrator, and other appropriate judges or court personnel. If final products involve electronic formats, the applicant should indicate how the product would be made available to other courts. Discussion of this dissemination process should occur between the grantee and SJI prior to the final selection of the dissemination process to be used.

(1) Dissemination Plan. The application must explain how and to whom the products would be disseminated; describe how they would benefit the state courts, including how they could be used by judges and court personnel; identify development, production, and dissemination costs covered by the project budget; and present the basis on which products and services developed or provided under the grant would be offered to the court community and the public at large (i.e., whether products would be distributed at no cost to recipients, or if costs are involved, the reason for charging recipients and the estimated price of the product) (see section VI.A.11.b.). Ordinarily, applicants should schedule all product preparation and distribution activities within the project period.

Applicants proposing to develop Web-based products should provide for sending a notice and description of the document to the appropriate audiences to alert them to the availability of the Web site or electronic product (i.e., a written report with a reference to the Web site).

Three (3) copies of all project products should be submitted to SJI, along with an electronic version in HTML or PDF format. Discussions of final product dissemination should be conducted with SJI prior to the end of the grant period.

(2) Types of Products. The type of product to be prepared depends on the nature of the project. For example, in most instances, the products of a research, evaluation, or demonstration project should include an article summarizing the project findings that is publishable in a journal serving the courts community nationally, an executive summary that would be disseminated to the project's primary audience, or both. Applicants proposing to conduct empirical research or evaluation projects with national import should describe how they would make their data available for secondary analysis after the grant period (see section VI.A.14.a.).

The curricula and other products developed through education and training projects should be designed for use by others and again by the original participants in the course of their duties.

(3) SJI Review. Applicants must submit a final draft of all written grant products to SJI for review and approval at least 30 days before the products are submitted for publication or reproduction. For products in Web site or multimedia format, applicants must provide for SJI review of the product at the treatment, script, rough-cut, and final stages of development, or their equivalents. No grant funds may be obligated for publication or reproduction of a final grant product without the written approval of SJI (see section VI.A.11.f.).

(4) Acknowledgment, Disclaimer, and Logo. Applicants must also include in all project products a prominent acknowledgment that support was received from SJI and a disclaimer paragraph based on the example provided in section VI.A.11.a.2. in the Grant Guideline. The “SJI” logo must appear on the front cover of a written product, or in the opening frames of a Web site or other multimedia product, unless SJI approves another placement. The SJI logo can be downloaded from SJI's Web site: www.sji.gov.

f. Applicant Status

An applicant that is not a state or local court and has not received a grant from SJI within the past three years should indicate whether it is either a national non-profit organization controlled by, operating in conjunction with, and serving the judicial branches of state governments, or a national non-profit organization for the education and training of state court judges and support personnel (see section II). If the applicant is a non-judicial unit of federal, state, or local government, it must explain whether the proposed services could be adequately provided by non-governmental entities.

g. Staff Capability

The applicant should include a summary of the training and experience of the key staff members and consultants that qualify them for conducting and managing the proposed project. Resumes of identified staff should be attached to the application. If one or more key staff members and consultants are not known at the time of the application, a description of the criteria that would be used to select persons for these positions should be included. The applicant also should identify the person who would be responsible for managing and reporting on the financial aspects of the proposed project.

h. Organizational Capacity

Applicants that have not received a grant from SJI within the past three years should include a statement describing their capacity to administer grant funds, including the financial systems used to monitor project expenditures (and income, if any), and a summary of their past experience in administering grants, as well as any resources or capabilities that they have that would particularly assist in the successful completion of the project.

Unless requested otherwise, an applicant that has received a grant from SJI within the past three years should describe only the changes in its organizational capacity, tax status, or financial capability that may affect its capacity to administer a grant.

If the applicant is a non-profit organization (other than a university), it must also provide documentation of its 501(c) tax-exempt status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service and a copy of a current certified audit report. For purposes of this requirement, “current” means no earlier than two years prior to the present calendar year.

If a current audit report is not available, SJI will require the organization to complete a financial capability questionnaire, which must be signed by a certified public accountant. Other applicants may be required to provide a current audit report, a financial capability questionnaire, or both, if specifically requested to do so by the Institute.

i. Statement of Lobbying Activities

Non-governmental applicants must submit SJI's Disclosure of Lobbying Activities Form, which documents whether they, or another entity that is a part of the same organization as the applicant, have advocated a position before Congress on any issue, and identifies the specific subjects of their lobbying efforts (see Appendix A).

j. Letters of Cooperation or Support

If the cooperation of courts, organizations, agencies, or individuals other than the applicant is required to conduct the project, the applicant should attach written assurances of cooperation and availability to the application, or send them under separate cover. Letters of general support for a project are also encouraged.

4. Budget Narrative

In addition to Project Grant applications, the following section also applies to Technical Assistance and Curriculum Adaptation and Training grant applications.

The budget narrative should provide the basis for the computation of all project-related costs. When the proposed project would be partially supported by grants from other funding sources, applicants should make clear what costs would be covered by those other grants. Additional background information or schedules may be attached if they are essential to obtaining a clear understanding of the proposed budget. Numerous and lengthy appendices are strongly discouraged.

The budget narrative should cover the costs of all components of the project and clearly identify costs attributable to the project evaluation. Grant funds may not be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.

a. Justification of Personnel Compensation

The applicant should set forth the percentages of time to be devoted by the individuals who would staff the proposed project, the annual salary of each of those persons, and the number of work days per year used for calculating the percentages of time or daily rates of those individuals. The applicant should explain any deviations from current rates or established written organizational policies. No grant funds or cash match may be used to pay the salary and related costs for a current or new employee of a court or other unit of government because such funds would constitute a supplantation of state or local funds in violation of 42 U.S.C. 10706(d)(1); this includes new employees hired specifically for the project. The salary and any related costs for a current or new employee of a court or other unit of government may only be accepted as in-kind match.

b. Fringe Benefit Computation

For non-governmental entities, the applicant should provide a description of the fringe benefits provided to employees. If percentages are used, the authority for such use should be presented, as well as a description of the elements included in the determination of the percentage rate.

c. Consultant/Contractual Services and Honoraria

The applicant should describe the tasks each consultant would perform, the estimated total amount to be paid to each consultant, the basis for compensation rates (e.g., the number of days multiplied by the daily consultant rates), and the method for selection. Rates for consultant services must be set in accordance with section VII.I.2.c. Prior written SJI approval is required for any consultant rate in excess of $800 per day; SJI funds may not be used to pay a consultant more than $1,100 per day. Honorarium payments must be justified in the same manner as consultant payments.

d. Travel

Transportation costs and per diem rates must comply with the policies of the applicant organization. If the applicant does not have an established travel policy, then travel rates must be consistent with those established by the federal government. The budget narrative should include an explanation of the rate used, including the components of the per diem rate and the basis for the estimated transportation expenses. The purpose of the travel should also be included in the narrative.

e. Equipment

Grant funds may be used to purchase only the equipment necessary to demonstrate a new technological application in a court or that is otherwise essential to accomplishing the objectives of the project. In other words, grant funds cannot be used strictly for the purpose of purchasing equipment. Equipment purchases to support basic court operations ordinarily will not be approved. The applicant should describe the equipment to be purchased or leased and explain why the acquisition of that equipment is essential to accomplish the project's goals and objectives. The narrative should clearly identify which equipment is to be leased and which is to be purchased. The method of procurement should also be described. Purchases of automated data processing equipment must comply with section VII.I.2.b.

f. Supplies

The applicant should provide a general description of the supplies necessary to accomplish the goals and objectives of the grant. In addition, the applicant should provide the basis for the amount requested for this expenditure category.

g. Construction

Construction expenses are prohibited except for the limited purposes set forth in section VI.A.16.b. Any allowable construction or renovation expense should be described in detail in the budget narrative.

h. Postage

Anticipated postage costs for project-related mailings, including distribution of the final product(s), should be described in the budget narrative. The cost of special mailings, such as for a survey or for announcing a workshop, should be distinguished from routine operational mailing costs. The bases for all postage estimates should be included in the budget narrative.

i. Printing/Photocopying

Anticipated costs for printing or photocopying project documents, reports, and publications should be included in the budget narrative, along with the bases used to calculate these estimates.

j. Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are only applicable to organizations that are not state courts or government agencies. Recoverable indirect costs are limited to no more than 75 percent of a grantee's direct personnel costs; i.e., salaries plus fringe benefits (see section VII.I.4.).

Applicants should describe the indirect cost rates applicable to the grant in detail. If costs often included within an indirect cost rate are charged directly (e.g., a percentage of the time of senior managers to supervise project activities), the applicant should specify that these costs are not included within its approved indirect cost rate. These rates must be established in accordance with section VII.I.4. If the applicant has an indirect cost rate or allocation plan approved by any federal granting agency, a copy of the approved rate agreement must be attached to the application.

5. Submission Requirements

a. Every applicant must submit an original and three copies of the application package consisting of Form A; Form B, if the application is from a state or local court, or a Disclosure of Lobbying Form (Form E), if the applicant is not a unit of state or local government; Form C; the Application Abstract; the Program Narrative; the Budget Narrative; and any necessary appendices.

Letters of application may be submitted at any time. However, applicants are encouraged to review the grant deadlines available on the SJI Web site. Receipt of each application will be acknowledged by letter or email.

b. Applicants submitting more than one application may include material that would be identical in each application in a cover letter. This material will be incorporated by reference into each application and counted against the 25-page limit for the program narrative. A copy of the cover letter should be attached to each copy of the application.

B. Technical Assistance (TA) Grants

1. Application Procedures

Applicants for TA Grants may submit an original and three copies of a detailed letter describing the proposed project, as well as a Form A, “State Justice Institute Application” (see Appendix B) and Form B, Certificate of State Approval from the State Supreme Court, or its designated agency and Form C, “Project Budget in Tabular Format.” Letters from regional court associations must be signed by the president of the association.

2. Application Format

Although there is no prescribed form for the letter, or a minimum or maximum page limit, letters of application should include the following information:

a. Need for Funding. The applicant must explain the critical need facing the applicant, and the proposed technical assistance enable the applicant to meet this critical need. The applicant must also explain why state or local resources are not sufficient to fully support the costs of the project. In addition, the applicant should describe how, if applicable, the project will be sustained in the future through existing resources.

The discussion should include specific references to the relevant literature and to the experience in the field. SJI continues to make all grant reports and most grant products available online through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Library and Digital Archive. Applicants are required to conduct a search of the NCSC Library and Digital Archive on the topic areas they are addressing. This search should include SJI-funded grants, and previous projects not supported by SJI. Searches for SJI grant reports and other state court resources begin with the NCSC Library section. Applicants must discuss the results of their research; how they plan to incorporate the previous work into their proposed project; and if the project will differentiate from prior work.

b. Project Description. The applicant must describe how the proposed project addressed one or more Priority Investment Areas. If the project does not address one or more Priority Investment Areas, the applicant must provide an explanation why not.

The applicant must describe the tasks the consultant will perform, and how would they be accomplished. In addition, the applicant must identify which organization or individual will be hired to provide the assistance, and how the consultant was selected. If a consultant has not yet been identified, what procedures and criteria would be used to select the consultant (applicants are expected to follow their jurisdictions' normal procedures for procuring consultant services)? What specific tasks would the consultant(s) and court staff undertake? What is the schedule for completion of each required task and the entire project? How would the applicant oversee the project and provide guidance to the consultant, and who at the court or regional court association would be responsible for coordinating all project tasks and submitting quarterly progress and financial status reports?

If the consultant has been identified, the applicant should provide a letter from that individual or organization documenting interest in and availability for the project, as well as the consultant's ability to complete the assignment within the proposed time frame and for the proposed cost. The consultant must agree to submit a detailed written report to the court and SJI upon completion of the technical assistance.

c. Likelihood of Implementation. What steps have been or would be taken to facilitate implementation of the consultant's recommendations upon completion of the technical assistance? For example, if the support or cooperation of specific court officials or committees, other agencies, funding bodies, organizations, or a court other than the applicant would be needed to adopt the changes recommended by the consultant and approved by the court, how would they be involved in the review of the recommendations and development of the implementation plan?

3. Budget and Matching State Contribution

Applicants must follow the same guidelines provided under Section IV.A.4. A completed Form C “Project Budget, Tabular Format” and budget narrative must be included with the letter requesting technical assistance.

The budget narrative should provide the basis for all project-related costs, including the basis for determining the estimated consultant costs, if compensation of the consultant is required (e.g., the number of days per task times the requested daily consultant rate). Applicants should be aware that consultant rates above $800 per day must be approved in advance by SJI, and that no consultant will be paid more than $1,100 per day from SJI funds. In addition, the budget should provide for submission of two copies of the consultant's final report to the SJI.

Recipients of TA Grants do not have to submit an audit report but must maintain appropriate documentation to support expenditures (see section VI.A.3.).

4. Submission Requirements

Letters of application should be submitted according to the grant deadlines provided on the SJI Web site.

If the support or cooperation of agencies, funding bodies, organizations, or courts other than the applicant would be needed in order for the consultant to perform the required tasks, written assurances of such support or cooperation should accompany the application letter. Letters of general support for the project are also encouraged. Support letters also may be submitted under separate cover; however, they should be received by the same date as the application.

C. Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grants

1. Application Procedures

In lieu of formal applications, applicants should submit an original and three photocopies of a detailed letter as well as a Form A, “State Justice Institute Application;” Form B, “Certificate of State Approval;” and Form C, “Project Budget, Tabular Format” (see Appendices).

2. Application Format

Although there is no prescribed format for the letter, or a minimum or maximum page limit, letters of application should include the following information.

a. For adaptation of a curriculum:

(1) Project Description. The applicant must describe how the proposed project addresses one or more Priority Investment Areas. If the project does not address one or more Priority Investment Areas, the applicant must provide an explanation why not. Due to the high costs of travel to attend training events, the innovative use of distance learning is highly encouraged.

The applicant must provide the title of the curriculum that will be adapted, and identify the entity that originally developed the curriculum. The applicant must also address the following questions: Why is this education program needed at the present time? What are the project's goals? What are the learning objectives of the adapted curriculum? What program components would be implemented, and what types of modifications, if any, are anticipated in length, format, learning objectives, teaching methods, or content? Who would be responsible for adapting the model curriculum? Who would the participants be, how many would there be, how would they be recruited, and from where would they come (e.g., from a single local jurisdiction, from across the state, from a multi-state region, from across the nation)?

(2) Need for Funding. The discussion should include specific references to the relevant literature and to the experience in the field. SJI continues to make all grant reports and most grant products available online through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Library and Digital Archive. Applicants are required to conduct a search of the NCSC Library and Digital Archive on the topic areas they are addressing. This search should include SJI-funded grants, and previous projects not supported by SJI. Searches for SJI grant reports and other state court resources begin with the NCSC Library section. Applicants must discuss the results of their research; how they plan to incorporate the previous work into their proposed project; and if the project will differentiate from prior work.

The applicant should explain why state or local resources are unable to fully support the modification and presentation of the model curriculum. The applicant should also describe the potential for replicating or integrating the adapted curriculum in the future using state or local funds, once it has been successfully adapted and tested. In addition, the applicant should describe how, if applicable, the project will be sustained in the future through existing resources.

(3) Likelihood of Implementation. The applicant should provide the proposed timeline, including the project start and end dates, the date(s) the judicial branch education program will be presented, and the process that will be used to modify and present the program. The applicant should also identify who will serve as faculty, and how they were selected, in addition to the measures taken to facilitate subsequent presentations of the program. Ordinarily, an independent evaluation of a curriculum adaptation project is not required; however, the results of any evaluation should be included in the final report.

(4) Expressions of Interest by Judges and/or Court Personnel. Does the proposed program have the support of the court system or association leadership, and of judges, court managers, and judicial branch education personnel who are expected to attend? Applicants may demonstrate this by attaching letters of support.

b. For training assistance:

(1) Need for Funding. The applicant must describe how the proposed project addresses one or more Priority Investment Areas. If the project does not address one or more Priority Investment Areas, the applicant must provide an explanation why not.

The discussion should include specific references to the relevant literature and to the experience in the field. SJI continues to make all grant reports and most grant products available online through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Library and Digital Archive. Applicants are required to conduct a search of the NCSC Library and Digital Archive on the topic areas they are addressing. This search should include SJI-funded grants, and previous projects not supported by SJI. Searches for SJI grant reports and other state court resources begin with the NCSC Library section. Applicants must discuss the results of their research; how they plan to incorporate the previous work into their proposed project; and if the project will differentiate from prior work.

The applicant should describe the court reform or initiative prompting the need for training. The applicants should also discuss how the proposed training help the applicant implement planned changes at the court, and why state or local resources are not sufficient to fully support the costs of the required training. In addition, the applicant should describe how, if applicable, the project will be sustained in the future through existing resources.

(2) Project Description. The applicant must identify the tasks the trainer(s) will be expected to perform, which organization or individual will be hired, and, if in-house personnel are not the trainers, how the trainer will be selected. If a trainer has not yet been identified, the applicant must describe the procedures and criteria that will be used to select the trainer. In addition, the applicant should address the following questions: What specific tasks would the trainer and court staff or regional court association members undertake? What presentation methods will be used? What is the schedule for completion of each required task and the entire project? How will the applicant oversee the project and provide guidance to the trainer, and who at the court or affiliated with the regional court association would be responsible for coordinating all project tasks and submitting quarterly progress and financial status reports?

If the trainer has been identified, the applicant should provide a letter from that individual or organization documenting interest in and availability for the project, as well as the trainer's ability to complete the assignment within the proposed time frame and for the proposed cost.

(3) Likelihood of Implementation. The applicant should explain what steps have been or will be taken to coordinate the implementation of the training. For example, if the support or cooperation of specific court or regional court association officials or committees, other agencies, funding bodies, organizations, or a court other than the applicant will be needed to adopt the reform and initiate the training proposed, how will the applicant secure their involvement in the development and implementation of the training?

3. Budget and Matching State Contribution

Applicants must also follow the same guidelines provided under Section IV.A.4. Applicants should attach a copy of budget Form C and a budget narrative (see subsection A.4. above) that describes the basis for the computation of all project-related costs and the source of the match offered.

4. Submission Requirements

For curriculum adaptation requests, applicants should allow at least 90 days between the Board meeting and the date of the proposed program to allow sufficient time for needed planning. Letters of support for the project are also encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to call SJI to discuss concerns about timing of submissions.

D. Partner Grants

SJI and its funding partners may meld, pick and choose, or waive their application procedures, grant cycles, or grant requirements to expedite the award of jointly-funded grants targeted at emerging or high priority problems confronting state and local courts. SJI may solicit brief proposals from potential grantees to fellow financial partners as a first step. Should SJI be chosen as the lead grant manager, Project Grant application procedures will apply to the proposed Partner Grant. As with Project Grants, Partner Grants will be targeted at initiatives likely to have a significant national impact.

E. Education Support Program (ESP)

1. Limitations

Applicants may not receive more than one ESP award in a two-year fiscal year period unless the course specifically assumes multi-year participation, such as a certification program or a graduate degree program in judicial studies in which the applicant is currently enrolled (neither exception should be taken as a commitment on the part of SJI's Board of Directors to approve serial ESP awards). If the course assumes multi-year participation, awards will be limited to one per fiscal year. Attendance at annual or mid-year meetings or conferences of a state or national organization does not qualify as an out-of-state educational program for the ESP, even though it may include workshops or other training sessions.

The ESP only covers the cost of tuition up to a maximum of $1,000 per award, per course. Awards will be made for the exact amount requested for tuition. Funds to pay tuition in excess of $1,000, and other cost of attending the program such as travel, lodging, transportation, meals, materials, transportation to and from airports (including rental cars) must be obtained from other sources or borne by the ESP award recipient. Applicants are encouraged to check other sources of financial assistance and to combine aid from various sources whenever possible. An ESP award is not transferable to another individual. It may be used only for the course specified in the application unless the applicant's request to attend a different course that meets the eligibility requirements is approved in writing by SJI.

2. Eligibility Requirements

a. Recipients. Because of the limited amount of funding available, only full-time judges of state or local trial and appellate courts; full-time professional, state, or local court personnel with management and supervisory responsibilities; and supervisory and management probation personnel in judicial branch probation offices are eligible for the program. Senior judges, part-time judges, quasi-judicial hearing officers including referees and commissioners, administrative law judges, staff attorneys, law clerks, line staff, law enforcement officers, and other executive branch personnel are not eligible.

b. Courses. An ESP award is only for: (1) a course presented in a state other than the one in which the applicant resides or works, or (2) an online course. The course must be designed to enhance the skills of new or experienced judges and court managers; or be offered by a recognized graduate program for judges or court managers.

Applicants are encouraged not to wait for the decision on an ESP application to register for an educational program they wish to attend. SJI does not submit the names of ESP award recipients to educational organizations, nor provide the funds to the educational organization. ESP funds are provided as reimbursements directly to the recipient.

3. Forms

a. Education Support Program Application—Form ESP-1 (Appendix B). The application requests basic information about the applicant and the educational program the applicant would like to attend. It also addresses the applicant's commitment to share the skills and knowledge gained with state and local court colleagues. The application must bear the original signature of the applicant. Faxed or photocopied signatures will not be accepted. Please be sure to indicate whether the state will be providing funds for the course and, if so, how much. SJI will not supplant state funds with these awards.

b. Education Support Program Concurrence—Form ESP-2 (Appendix B). Judges and court managers applying for the program must submit the original written concurrence of the chief justice of the state's supreme court (or the chief justice's designee) on Form ESP-2 (see Appendix B). The signature of the presiding judge of the applicant's court may not be substituted for that of the state's chief justice or the chief justice's designee. The chief justice or state court administrator must notify SJI of the designees within the state for ESP purposes.

4. Submission Requirements

Applications may be submitted at any time but will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. This means ESP awards will be on a “first-come, first-considered” basis. The dates for applications to be received by SJI for consideration in FY 2013 are November 1, February 1, May 1, and August 1. These are not mailing deadlines. The applications must be received by SJI on or before each of these dates. No exceptions or extensions will be granted. All the required items must be received for an application to be considered. If the Concurrence form or letter of support is sent separately from the application, the postmark date of the last item sent will be used in determining the review date. All applications should be sent by mail or courier (not fax or email).

V. Application Review Procedures Back to Top

A. Preliminary Inquiries

SJI staff will answer inquiries concerning application procedures.

B. Selection Criteria

1. Project Grant Applications

a. Project Grant applications will be rated on the basis of the criteria set forth below. SJI will accord the greatest weight to the following criteria:

(1) The soundness of the methodology;

(2) The demonstration of need for the project;

(3) The appropriateness of the proposed evaluation design;

(4) If applicable, the key findings and recommendations of the most recent evaluation and the proposed responses to those findings and recommendations;

(5) The applicant's management plan and organizational capabilities;

(6) The qualifications of the project's staff;

(7) The products and benefits resulting from the project, including the extent to which the project will have long-term benefits for state courts across the nation;

(8) The degree to which the findings, procedures, training, technology, or other results of the project can be transferred to other jurisdictions;

(9) The reasonableness of the proposed budget; and

(10) The demonstration of cooperation and support of other agencies that may be affected by the project.

b. In determining which projects to support, SJI will also consider whether the applicant is a state court, a national court support or education organization, a non-court unit of government, or other type of entity eligible to receive grants under SJI's enabling legislation (see section II.); the availability of financial assistance from other sources for the project; the amount of the applicant's match; the extent to which the proposed project would also benefit the federal courts or help state courts enforce federal constitutional and legislative requirements; and the level of appropriations available to SJI in the current year and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years.

2. Technical Assistance (TA) Grant Applications

TA Grant applications will be rated on the basis of the following criteria:

a. Whether the assistance would address a critical need of the applicant;

b. The soundness of the technical assistance approach to the problem;

c. The qualifications of the consultant(s) to be hired or the specific criteria that will be used to select the consultant(s);

d. The commitment of the court or association to act on the consultant's recommendations; and

e. The reasonableness of the proposed budget.

SJI also will consider factors such as the level and nature of the match that would be provided, diversity of subject matter, geographic diversity, the level of appropriations available to SJI in the current year, and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years.

3. Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grant Applications

CAT Grant applications will be rated on the basis of the following criteria:

a. For curriculum adaptation projects:

(1) The goals and objectives of the proposed project;

(2) The need for outside funding to support the program;

(3) The appropriateness of the approach in achieving the project's educational objectives;

(4) The likelihood of effective implementation and integration of the modified curriculum into ongoing educational programming; and

(5) Expressions of interest by the judges and/or court personnel who would be directly involved in or affected by the project.

b. For training assistance:

(1) Whether the training would address a critical need of the court or association;

(2) The soundness of the training approach to the problem;

(3) The qualifications of the trainer(s) to be hired or the specific criteria that will be used to select the trainer(s);

(4) The commitment of the court or association to the training program; and

(5) The reasonableness of the proposed budget. SJI will also consider factors such as the reasonableness of the amount requested; compliance with match requirements; diversity of subject matter, geographic diversity; the level of appropriations available in the current year; and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years.

4. Partner Grants

The selection criteria for Partner Grants will be driven by the collective priorities of SJI and other organizations and their collective assessments regarding the needs and capabilities of court and court-related organizations. Having settled on priorities, SJI and its financial partners will likely contact the courts or court-related organizations most acceptable as pilots, laboratories, consultants, or the like.

5. Education Support Program (ESP)

ESP awards are only for programs that either: (1) Enhance the skills of judges and court managers; or (2) are part of a graduate degree program for judges or court personnel. Awards are provided on the basis of:

a. The date on which the application and concurrence (and support letter, if required) were sent (“first-come, first-considered”);

b. The unavailability of state or local funds, or funding from another source to cover the costs of attending the program, or participating online;

c. The absence of educational programs in the applicant's state addressing the topic(s) covered by the educational program for which the award is being sought;

d. Geographic balance among the recipients;

e. The balance of ESP awards among educational providers and programs;

f. The balance of ESP awards among the types of courts and court personnel (trial judge, appellate judge, trial court administrator) represented; and

g. The level of appropriations available to SJI in the current year and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years.

The postmark or courier receipt will be used to determine the date on which the application form and other required items were sent.

C. Review and Approval Process

1. Project Grant Applications

SJI's Board of Directors will review the applications competitively. The Board will review all applications and decide which projects to fund. The decision to fund a project is solely that of the Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board will sign approved awards on behalf of SJI.

2. Technical Assistance (TA) and Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grant Applications

The Board will review the applications competitively. The Board will review all applications and decide which projects to fund. The decision to fund a project is solely that of the Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board will sign approved awards on behalf of SJI.

3. Education Support Program (ESP)

A committee of the Board of Directors will review ESP applications quarterly. The committee will review the applications competitively. The Chairman of the Board will sign approved awards on behalf of SJI.

4. Partner Grants

SJI's internal process for the review and approval of Partner Grants will depend on negotiations with fellow financiers. SJI may use its procedures, a partner's procedures, a mix of both, or entirely unique procedures. All Partner Grants will be approved by the Board of Directors.

D. Return Policy

Unless a specific request is made, unsuccessful applications will not be returned. Applicants are advised that SJI records are subject to the provisions of the Federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

E. Notification of Board Decision

SJI will send written notice to applicants concerning all Board decisions to approve, defer, or deny their respective applications. For all applications (except ESP applications), if requested, SJI will convey the key issues and questions that arose during the review process. A decision by the Board to deny an application may not be appealed, but it does not prohibit resubmission of a proposal based on that application in a subsequent funding cycle.

F. Response to Notification of Approval

With the exception of those approved for ESP awards, applicants have 30 days from the date of the letter notifying them that the Board has approved their application to respond to any revisions requested by the Board. If the requested revisions (or a reasonable schedule for submitting such revisions) have not been submitted to SJI within 30 days after notification, the approval may be rescinded and the application presented to the Board for reconsideration. In the event an issue will only be resolved after award, such as the selection of a consultant, the final award document will include a Special Condition that will require additional grantee reporting and SJI review and approval. Special Conditions, in the form of incentives or sanctions, may also be used in other situations.

VI. Compliance Requirements Back to Top

The State Justice Institute Act contains limitations and conditions on grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements awarded by SJI. The Board of Directors has approved additional policies governing the use of SJI grant funds. These statutory and policy requirements are set forth below.

A. Recipients of Project Grants

1. Advocacy

No funds made available by SJI may be used to support or conduct training programs for the purpose of advocating particular non-judicial public policies or encouraging non-judicial political activities (42 U.S.C. 10706(b)).

2. Approval of Key Staff

If the qualifications of an employee or consultant assigned to a key project staff position are not described in the application or if there is a change of a person assigned to such a position, the recipient must submit a description of the qualifications of the newly assigned person to SJI. Prior written approval of the qualifications of the new person assigned to a key staff position must be received from the Institute before the salary or consulting fee of that person and associated costs may be paid or reimbursed from grant funds (see section VIII.A.7.).

3. Audit

Recipients of project grants must provide for an annual fiscal audit which includes an opinion on whether the financial statements of the grantee present fairly its financial position and its financial operations are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (see section VII.K. for the requirements of such audits). ESP award recipients, Curriculum Adaptation and Training Grants, and Technical Assistance Grants are not required to submit an audit, but they must maintain appropriate documentation to support all expenditures (see section VIII.K.).

4. Budget Revisions

Budget revisions among direct cost categories that: (a) transfer grant funds to an unbudgeted cost category, or (b) individually or cumulatively exceed five percent of the approved original budget or the most recently approved revised budget require prior SJI approval (see section VIII.A.1.).

5. Conflict of Interest

Personnel and other officials connected with SJI-funded programs must adhere to the following requirements:

a. No official or employee of a recipient court or organization shall participate personally through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise in any proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, grant, cooperative agreement, claim, controversy, or other particular matter in which SJI funds are used, where, to his or her knowledge, he or she or his or her immediate family, partners, organization other than a public agency in which he or she is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee or any person or organization with whom he or she is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest.

b. In the use of SJI project funds, an official or employee of a recipient court or organization shall avoid any action which might result in or create the appearance of:

(1) Using an official position for private gain; or

(2) Affecting adversely the confidence of the public in the integrity of the Institute program.

c. Requests for proposals or invitations for bids issued by a recipient of Institute funds or a subgrantee or subcontractor will provide notice to prospective bidders that the contractors who develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, and/or requests for proposals for a proposed procurement will be excluded from bidding on or submitting a proposal to compete for the award of such procurement.

6. Inventions and Patents

If any patentable items, patent rights, processes, or inventions are produced in the course of SJI-sponsored work, such fact shall be promptly and fully reported to the Institute. Unless there is a prior agreement between the grantee and SJI on disposition of such items, SJI shall determine whether protection of the invention or discovery shall be sought. SJI will also determine how the rights in the invention or discovery, including rights under any patent issued thereon, shall be allocated and administered in order to protect the public interest consistent with “Government Patent Policy” (President's Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, February 18, 1983, and statement of Government Patent Policy).

7. Lobbying

a. Funds awarded to recipients by SJI shall not be used, indirectly or directly, to influence Executive Orders or similar promulgations by federal, state or local agencies, or to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by federal, state or local legislative bodies (42 U.S.C. 10706(a)).

b. It is the policy of the Board of Directors to award funds only to support applications submitted by organizations that would carry out the objectives of their applications in an unbiased manner. Consistent with this policy and the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 10706, SJI will not knowingly award a grant to an applicant that has, directly or through an entity that is part of the same organization as the applicant, advocated a position before Congress on the specific subject matter of the application.

8. Matching Requirements

All grantees other than ESP award recipients are required to provide a match. A match is the portion of project costs not borne by the Institute. Match includes both cash and in-kind contributions. Cash match is the direct outlay of funds by the grantee or a third party to support the project. In-kind match consists of contributions of time and/or services of current staff members, new employees, space, supplies, etc., made to the project by the grantee or others (e.g., advisory board members) working directly on the project or that portion of the grantee's federally-approved indirect cost rate that exceeds the Guideline's limit of permitted charges (75 percent of salaries and benefits).

Under normal circumstances, allowable match may be incurred only during the project period. When appropriate, and with the prior written permission of SJI, match may be incurred from the date of the Board of Directors' approval of an award. The amount and nature of required match depends on the type of grant (see section III.).

The grantee is responsible for ensuring that the total amount of match proposed is actually contributed. If a proposed contribution is not fully met, SJI may reduce the award amount accordingly, in order to maintain the ratio originally provided for in the award agreement (see section VII.E.1.). Match should be expended at the same rate as SJI funding.

The Board of Directors looks favorably upon any unrequired match contributed by applicants when making grant decisions. The match requirement may be waived in exceptionally rare circumstances upon the request of the chief justice of the highest court in the state or the highest ranking official in the requesting organization and approval by the Board of Directors (42 U.S.C. 10705(d)). The Board of Directors encourages all applicants to provide the maximum amount of cash and in-kind match possible, even if a waiver is approved. The amount and nature of match are criteria in the grant selection process (see section V.B.1.b.).

9. Nondiscrimination

No person may, on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability, color, or creed be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity supported by SJI funds. Recipients of SJI funds must immediately take any measures necessary to effectuate this provision.

10. Political Activities

No recipient may contribute or make available SJI funds, program personnel, or equipment to any political party or association, or the campaign of any candidate for public or party office. Recipients are also prohibited from using funds in advocating or opposing any ballot measure, initiative, or referendum. Officers and employees of recipients shall not intentionally identify SJI or recipients with any partisan or nonpartisan political activity associated with a political party or association, or the campaign of any candidate for public or party office (42 U.S.C. 10706(a)).

11. Products

a. Acknowledgment, Logo, and Disclaimer

(1) Recipients of SJI funds must acknowledge prominently on all products developed with grant funds that support was received from the SJI. The “SJI” logo must appear on the front cover of a written product, or in the opening frames of a multimedia product, unless another placement is approved in writing by SJI. This includes final products printed or otherwise reproduced during the grant period, as well as re-printings or reproductions of those materials following the end of the grant period. A camera-ready logo sheet is available on SJI's Web site: www.sji.gov/forms.

(2) Recipients also must display the following disclaimer on all grant products: “This [document, film, videotape, etc.] was developed under [grant/cooperative agreement] number SJI-[insert number] from the State Justice Institute. The points of view expressed are those of the [author(s), filmmaker(s), etc.] and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the State Justice Institute.”

(3) In addition to other required grant products and reports, recipients must provide a one page executive summary of the project. The summary should include a background on the project, the tasks undertaken, and the outcome. In addition, the summary should provide the performance metrics that were used during the project, and how performance will be measured in the future.

b. Charges for Grant-Related Products/Recovery of Costs

(1) SJI's mission is to support improvements in the quality of justice and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts. SJI has recognized and established procedures for supporting research and development of grant products (e.g. a report, curriculum, video, software, database, or Web site) through competitive grant awards based on merit review of proposed projects. To ensure that all grants benefit the entire court community, projects SJI considers worthy of support (in whole or in part), are required to be disseminated widely and available for public consumption. This includes open-source software and interfaces. Costs for development, production, and dissemination are allowable as direct costs to SJI.

(2) Applicants should disclose their intent to sell grant-related products in the application. Grantees must obtain the written prior approval of SJI of their plans to recover project costs through the sale of grant products. Written requests to recover costs ordinarily should be received during the grant period and should specify the nature and extent of the costs to be recouped, the reason that such costs were not budgeted (if the rationale was not disclosed in the approved application), the number of copies to be sold, the intended audience for the products to be sold, and the proposed sale price. If the product is to be sold for more than $25, the written request also should include a detailed itemization of costs that will be recovered and a certification that the costs were not supported by either SJI grant funds or grantee matching contributions.

(3) In the event that the sale of grant products results in revenues that exceed the costs to develop, produce, and disseminate the product, the revenue must continue to be used for the authorized purposes of SJI-funded project or other purposes consistent with the State Justice Institute Act that have been approved by SJI (see section VII.G.).

c. Copyrights

Except as otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of a SJI award, a recipient is free to copyright any books, publications, or other copyrightable materials developed in the course of a SJI-supported project, but SJI shall reserve a royalty-free, nonexclusive and irrevocable right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use, the materials for purposes consistent with the State Justice Institute Act.

d. Due Date

All products and, for TA and CAT grants, consultant and/or trainer reports (see section VI.B.1 & 2) are to be completed and distributed (see below) not later than the end of the award period, not the 90-day close out period. The latter is only intended for grantee final reporting and to liquidate obligations (see section VII.L.).

e. Distribution

In addition to the distribution specified in the grant application, grantees shall send:

(1) Three (3) copies of each final product developed with grant funds to SJI, unless the product was developed under either a Technical Assistance or a Curriculum Adaptation and Training Grant, in which case submission of 2 copies is required; and

(2) An electronic version of the product in HTML or PDF format to SJI.

f. SJI Approval

No grant funds may be obligated for publication or reproduction of a final product developed with grant funds without the written approval of SJI. Grantees shall submit a final draft of each written product to SJI for review and approval. The draft must be submitted at least 30 days before the product is scheduled to be sent for publication or reproduction to permit SJI review and incorporation of any appropriate changes required by SJI. Grantees must provide for timely reviews by the SJI of Web site or other multimedia products at the treatment, script, rough cut, and final stages of development or their equivalents.

g. Original Material

All products prepared as the result of SJI-supported projects must be originally-developed material unless otherwise specified in the award documents. Material not originally developed that is included in such products must be properly identified, whether the material is in a verbatim or extensive paraphrase format.

12. Prohibition Against Litigation Support

No funds made available by SJI may be used directly or indirectly to support legal assistance to parties in litigation, including cases involving capital punishment.

13. Reporting Requirements

a. Recipients of SJI funds other than ESP awards must submit Quarterly Progress and Financial Status Reports within 30 days of the close of each calendar quarter (that is, no later than January 30, April 30, July 30, and October 30). The Quarterly Progress Reports shall include a narrative description of project activities during the calendar quarter, the relationship between those activities and the task schedule and objectives set forth in the approved application or an approved adjustment thereto, any significant problem areas that have developed and how they will be resolved, and the activities scheduled during the next reporting period. Failure to comply with the requirements of this provision could result in the termination of a grantee's award.

b. The quarterly Financial Status Report must be submitted in accordance with section VII.H.2. of this Guideline. A final project Progress Report and Financial Status Report shall be submitted within 90 days after the end of the grant period in accordance with section VII.L.1. of this Guideline.

14. Research

a. Availability of Research Data for Secondary Analysis

Upon request, grantees must make available for secondary analysis a diskette(s) or data tape(s) containing research and evaluation data collected under a SJI grant and the accompanying code manual. Grantees may recover the actual cost of duplicating and mailing or otherwise transmitting the data set and manual from the person or organization requesting the data. Grantees may provide the requested data set in the format in which it was created and analyzed.

b. Confidentiality of Information

Except as provided by federal law other than the State Justice Institute Act, no recipient of financial assistance from SJI may use or reveal any research or statistical information furnished under the Act by any person and identifiable to any specific private person for any purpose other than the purpose for which the information was obtained. Such information and copies thereof shall be immune from legal process, and shall not, without the consent of the person furnishing such information, be admitted as evidence or used for any purpose in any action, suit, or other judicial, legislative, or administrative proceedings.

c. Human Subject Protection

Human subjects are defined as individuals who are participants in an experimental procedure or who are asked to provide information about themselves, their attitudes, feelings, opinions, and/or experiences through an interview, questionnaire, or other data collection technique. All research involving human subjects shall be conducted with the informed consent of those subjects and in a manner that will ensure their privacy and freedom from risk or harm and the protection of persons who are not subjects of the research but would be affected by it, unless such procedures and safeguards would make the research impractical. In such instances, SJI must approve procedures designed by the grantee to provide human subjects with relevant information about the research after their involvement and to minimize or eliminate risk or harm to those subjects due to their participation.

15. State and Local Court Applications

Each application for funding from a state or local court must be approved, consistent with state law, by the state supreme court, or its designated agency or council. The supreme court or its designee shall receive, administer, and be accountable for all funds awarded on the basis of such an application (42 U.S.C. 10705(b)(4)). See section VII.C.2.

16. Supplantation and Construction

To ensure that SJI funds are used to supplement and improve the operation of state courts, rather than to support basic court services, SJI funds shall not be used for the following purposes:

a. To supplant state or local funds supporting a program or activity (such as paying the salary of court employees who would be performing their normal duties as part of the project, or paying rent for space which is part of the court's normal operations);

b. To construct court facilities or structures, except to remodel existing facilities or to demonstrate new architectural or technological techniques, or to provide temporary facilities for new personnel or for personnel involved in a demonstration or experimental program; or

c. Solely to purchase equipment.

17. Suspension or Termination of Funding

After providing a recipient reasonable notice and opportunity to submit written documentation demonstrating why fund termination or suspension should not occur, SJI may terminate or suspend funding of a project that fails to comply substantially with the Act, the Guideline, or the terms and conditions of the award (42 U.S.C. 10708(a)).

18. Title to Property

At the conclusion of the project, title to all expendable and nonexpendable personal property purchased with SJI funds shall vest in the recipient court, organization, or individual that purchased the property if certification is made to and approved by SJI that the property will continue to be used for the authorized purposes of the Institute-funded project or other purposes consistent with the State Justice Institute Act. If such certification is not made or SJI disapproves such certification, title to all such property with an aggregate or individual value of $1,000 or more shall vest in SJI, which will direct the disposition of the property.

B. Recipients of Technical Assistance (TA) and Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grants

Recipients of TA and CAT Grants must comply with the requirements listed in section VI.A. (except the requirements pertaining to audits in subsection A.3. above and product dissemination and approval in subsection A.11.e. and f. above) and the reporting requirements below:

1. Technical Assistance (TA) Grant Reporting Requirements

Recipients of TA Grants must submit to SJI one copy of a final report that explains how it intends to act on the consultant's recommendations, as well as two copies of the consultant's written report.

2. Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grant Reporting Requirements

Recipients of CAT Grants must submit one copy of the agenda or schedule, outline of presentations and/or relevant instructor's notes, copies of overhead transparencies, power point presentations, or other visual aids, exercises, case studies and other background materials, hypotheticals, quizzes, and other materials involving the participants, manuals, handbooks, conference packets, evaluation forms, and suggestions for replicating the program, including possible faculty or the preferred qualifications or experience of those selected as faculty, developed under the grant at the conclusion of the grant period, along with a final report that includes any evaluation results and explains how the grantee intends to present the educational program in the future, as well as two copies of the consultant's or trainer's report.

C. Education Support Program (ESP) Recipients

1. ESP award recipients are responsible for disseminating the information received from the course to their court colleagues locally and, if possible, throughout the state.

Recipients also must submit to SJI a certificate of attendance from the program and a copy of the notice of any funding received from other sources. A state or local jurisdiction may impose additional requirements on ESP award recipients.

2. To receive the funds authorized by an ESP award, recipients must submit an ESP Payment Request (Form ESP-3) together with a paid tuition statement from the program sponsor.

ESP Payment Requests must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the course, which the recipient attended.

3. ESP recipients are encouraged to check with their tax advisors to determine whether an award constitutes taxable income under federal and state law.

D. Partner Grants

The compliance requirements for Partner Grant recipients will depend upon the agreements struck between the grant financiers and between lead financiers and grantees. Should SJI be the lead, the compliance requirements for Project Grants will apply, unless specific arrangements are determined by the Partners.

VII. Financial Requirements Back to Top

A. Purpose

The purpose of this section is to establish accounting system requirements and offer guidance on procedures to assist all grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, and other organizations in:

1. Complying with the statutory requirements for the award, disbursement, and accounting of funds;

2. Complying with regulatory requirements of SJI for the financial management and disposition of funds;

3. Generating financial data to be used in planning, managing, and controlling projects; and

4. Facilitating an effective audit of funded programs and projects.

B. References

Except where inconsistent with specific provisions of this Grant Guideline, the following circulars are applicable to SJI grants and cooperative agreements under the same terms and conditions that apply to federal grantees. The circulars supplement the requirements of this section for accounting systems and financial record-keeping and provide additional guidance on how these requirements may be satisfied (circulars may be obtained on the OMB Web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb).

1. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.

2. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State and Local Governments.

3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants-in-Aid to State and Local Governments.

4. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110, Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations.

5. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations.

6. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments and Non-profit Organizations.

C. Supervision and Monitoring Responsibilities

1. Grantee Responsibilities

All grantees receiving awards from SJI are responsible for the management and fiscal control of all funds. Responsibilities include accounting for receipts and expenditures, maintaining adequate financial records, and refunding expenditures disallowed by audits.

2. Responsibilities of the State Supreme Court

a. Each application for funding from a state or local court must be approved, consistent with state law, by the state supreme court, or its designated agency or council.

b. The state supreme court or its designee shall receive all SJI funds awarded to such courts; be responsible for assuring proper administration of SJI funds; and be responsible for all aspects of the project, including proper accounting and financial record-keeping by the subgrantee. These responsibilities include:

(1) Reviewing Financial Operations. The state supreme court or its designee should be familiar with, and periodically monitor, its sub-grantee's financial operations, records system, and procedures. Particular attention should be directed to the maintenance of current financial data.

(2) Recording Financial Activities. The sub-grantee's grant award or contract obligation, as well as cash advances and other financial activities, should be recorded in the financial records of the state supreme court or its designee in summary form. Sub-grantee expenditures should be recorded on the books of the state supreme court or evidenced by report forms duly filed by the sub-grantee. Matching contributions provided by sub-grantees should likewise be recorded, as should any project income resulting from program operations.

(3) Budgeting and Budget Review. The state supreme court or its designee should ensure that each sub-grantee prepares an adequate budget as the basis for its award commitment. The state supreme court should maintain the details of each project budget on file.

(4) Accounting for Match. The state supreme court or its designee will ensure that sub-grantees comply with the match requirements specified in this Grant Guideline (see section VI.A.8.).

(5) Audit Requirement. The state supreme court or its designee is required to ensure that sub-grantees meet the necessary audit requirements set forth by SJI (see sections K. below and VI.A.3.).

(6) Reporting Irregularities. The state supreme court, its designees, and its sub-grantees are responsible for promptly reporting to SJI the nature and circumstances surrounding any financial irregularities discovered.

D. Accounting System

The grantee is responsible for establishing and maintaining an adequate system of accounting and internal controls and for ensuring that an adequate system exists for each of its sub-grantees and contractors. An acceptable and adequate accounting system:

1. Properly accounts for receipt of funds under each grant awarded and the expenditure of funds for each grant by category of expenditure (including matching contributions and project income);

2. Assures that expended funds are applied to the appropriate budget category included within the approved grant;

3. Presents and classifies historical costs of the grant as required for budgetary and evaluation purposes;

4. Provides cost and property controls to assure optimal use of grant funds;

5. Is integrated with a system of internal controls adequate to safeguard the funds and assets covered, check the accuracy and reliability of the accounting data, promote operational efficiency, and assure conformance with any general or special conditions of the grant;

6. Meets the prescribed requirements for periodic financial reporting of operations; and

7. Provides financial data for planning, control, measurement, and evaluation of direct and indirect costs.

E. Total Cost Budgeting and Accounting

Accounting for all funds awarded by SJI must be structured and executed on a “Total Project Cost” basis. That is, total project costs, including SJI funds, state and local matching shares, and any other fund sources included in the approved project budget serve as the foundation for fiscal administration and accounting. Grant applications and financial reports require budget and cost estimates on the basis of total costs.

1. Timing of Matching Contributions

Matching contributions should be applied at the same time of the obligation of SJI funds. Ordinarily, the full matching share must be obligated during the award period; however, with the written permission of SJI, contributions made following approval of the grant by the Board of Directors, but before the beginning of the grant, may be counted as match. If a proposed cash or in-kind match is not fully met, SJI may reduce the award amount accordingly to maintain the ratio of grant funds to matching funds stated in the award agreement.

2. Records for Match

All grantees must maintain records that clearly show the source, amount, and timing of all matching contributions. In addition, if a project has included, within its approved budget, contributions which exceed the required matching portion, the grantee must maintain records of those contributions in the same manner as it does SJI funds and required matching shares. For all grants made to state and local courts, the state supreme court has primary responsibility for grantee/sub-grantee compliance with the requirements of this section (see subsection C.2. above).

F. Maintenance and Retention of Records

All financial records, including supporting documents, statistical records, and all other information pertinent to grants, sub-grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts under grants, must be retained by each organization participating in a project for at least three years for purposes of examination and audit. state supreme courts may impose record retention and maintenance requirements in addition to those prescribed in this section.

1. Coverage

The retention requirement extends to books of original entry, source documents supporting accounting transactions, the general ledger, subsidiary ledgers, personnel and payroll records, canceled checks, and related documents and records. Source documents include copies of all grant and sub-grant awards, applications, and required grantee/sub-grantee financial and narrative reports. Personnel and payroll records shall include the time and attendance reports for all individuals reimbursed under a grant, sub-grant or contract, whether they are employed full-time or part-time. Time and effort reports are required for consultants.

2. Retention Period

The three-year retention period starts from the date of the submission of the final expenditure report.

3. Maintenance

Grantees and sub-grantees are expected to see that records of different fiscal years are separately identified and maintained so that requested information can be readily located. Grantees and sub-grantees are also obligated to protect records adequately against fire or other damage. When records are stored away from the grantee's/sub-grantee's principal office, a written index of the location of stored records should be on hand, and ready access should be assured.

4. Access

Grantees and sub-grantees must give any authorized representative of SJI access to and the right to examine all records, books, papers, and documents related to a SJI grant.

G. Project-Related Income

Records of the receipt and disposition of project-related income must be maintained by the grantee in the same manner as required for the project funds that gave rise to the income and must be reported to SJI (see subsection H.2. below). The policies governing the disposition of the various types of project-related income are listed below.

1. Interest

A state and any agency or instrumentality of a state, including institutions of higher education and hospitals, shall not be held accountable for interest earned on advances of project funds. When funds are awarded to sub-grantees through a state, the sub-grantees are not held accountable for interest earned on advances of project funds. Local units of government and nonprofit organizations that are grantees must refund any interest earned. Grantees shall ensure minimum balances in their respective grant cash accounts.

2. Royalties

The grantee/sub-grantee may retain all royalties received from copyrights or other works developed under projects or from patents and inventions, unless the terms and conditions of the grant provide otherwise.

3. Registration and Tuition Fees

Registration and tuition fees may be considered as cash match with the prior written approval from SJI. Estimates of registration and tuition fees, and any expenses to be offset by the fees, should be included in the application budget forms and narrative.

4. Income From the Sale of Grant Products

If the sale of products occurs during the project period, the income may be treated as cash match with the prior written approval from SJI. The costs and income generated by the sales must be reported on the Quarterly Financial Status Reports and documented in an auditable manner. Whenever possible, the intent to sell a product should be disclosed in the application or reported to SJI in writing once a decision to sell products has been made. The grantee must request approval to recover its product development, reproduction, and dissemination costs as specified in section VI.A.11.b.

5. Other

Other project income shall be treated in accordance with disposition instructions set forth in the grant's terms and conditions.

H. Payments and Financial Reporting Requirements

1. Payment of Grant Funds

The procedures and regulations set forth below are applicable to all SJI grant funds and grantees.

a. Request for Reimbursement of Funds. Grantees will receive funds on a U.S. Treasury “check-issued” or electronic funds transfer (EFT) basis. Upon receipt, review, and approval of a Request for Advance or Reimbursement by SJI, payment will be issued directly to the grantee or its designated fiscal agent. A request must be limited to the grantee's immediate cash needs. The Request for Reimbursement Form R), along with the instructions for its preparation, and the SF 3881 Automated Clearing House (ACH/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form for EFT) are available on the Institute's Web site: http://www.sji.gov/forms.php.

b. Termination Reimbursement Funding. When a grantee organization receiving cash advances from SJI:

(1) Demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to attain program or project goals, or to establish procedures that will minimize the time elapsing between cash advances and disbursements, or is unable to adhere to guideline requirements or special conditions;

(2) Engages in the improper award and administration of sub-grants or contracts; or

(3) Is unable to submit reliable and/or timely reports; SJI may terminate advance financing and require the grantee organization to finance its operations with its own working capital. Payments to the grantee shall then be made by U.S. Treasury check or EFT to reimburse the grantee for actual cash disbursements. In the event the grantee continues to be deficient, SJI may suspend reimbursement payments until the deficiencies are corrected. In extreme cases, grants may be terminated.

c. Principle of Minimum Cash on Hand. Grantees should request funds based upon immediate disbursement requirements. Grantees should time their requests to ensure that cash on hand is the minimum needed for disbursements to be made immediately or within a few days.

2. Financial Reporting

a. General Requirements. To obtain financial information concerning the use of funds, the Institute requires that grantees/sub-grantees submit timely reports for review.

b. Due Dates and Contents. A Financial Status Report is required from all grantees, other than ESP award recipients, for each active quarter on a calendar-quarter basis. This report is due within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter. It is designed to provide financial information relating to SJI funds, state and local matching shares, project income, and any other sources of funds for the project, as well as information on obligations and outlays. A copy of the Financial Status Report, along with instructions for its preparation, are provided on the SJI Web site. If a grantee requests substantial payments for a project prior to the completion of a given quarter, SJI may request a brief summary of the amount requested, by object class, to support the Request for Advance or Reimbursement.

3. Consequences of Non-Compliance With Submission Requirement

Failure of the grantee to submit required financial and progress reports may result in suspension or termination of grant payments.

I. Allowability of Costs

1. General

Except as may be otherwise provided in the conditions of a particular grant, cost allowability is determined in accordance with the principles set forth in OMB Circulars A-21, Cost Principles Applicable to Grants and Contracts with Educational Institutions; A-87, Cost Principles for State and Local Governments; and A-122, Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations.

No costs may be recovered to liquidate obligations incurred after the approved grant period. Circulars may be obtained on the OMB Web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb.

2. Costs Requiring Prior Approval

a. Pre-agreement Costs. The written prior approval of the Institute is required for costs considered necessary but which occur prior to the start date of the project period.

b. Equipment. Grant funds may be used to purchase or lease only that equipment essential to accomplishing the goals and objectives of the project. The written prior approval of SJI is required when the amount of automated data processing (ADP) equipment to be purchased or leased exceeds $10,000 or software to be purchased exceeds $3,000.

c. Consultants. The written prior approval from SJI is required when the rate of compensation to be paid a consultant exceeds $800 a day. SJI funds may not be used to pay a consultant more than $1,100 per day.

d. Budget Revisions. Budget revisions among direct cost categories that (i) transfer grant funds to an unbudgeted cost category or (ii) individually or cumulatively exceed five percent (5%) of the approved original budget or the most recently approved revised budget require prior SJI approval (see section VIII.A.1.).

3. Travel Costs

Transportation and per diem rates must comply with the policies of the grantee. If the grantee does not have an established written travel policy, then travel rates must be consistent with those established by the federal government. SJI funds may not be used to cover the transportation or per diem costs of a member of a national organization to attend an annual or other regular meeting, or conference of that organization.

4. Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are only applicable to organizations that are not state courts or government agencies. These are costs of an organization that are not readily assignable to a particular project but are necessary to the operation of the organization and the performance of the project. The cost of operating and maintaining facilities, depreciation, and administrative salaries are examples of the types of costs that are usually treated as indirect costs. Although SJI's policy requires all costs to be budgeted directly, it will accept indirect costs if a grantee has an indirect cost rate approved by a federal agency. However, recoverable indirect costs are limited to no more than 75 percent of a grantee's direct personnel costs (salaries plus fringe benefits).

a. Approved Plan Available.

(1) A copy of an indirect cost rate agreement or allocation plan approved for a grantee during the preceding two years by any federal granting agency on the basis of allocation methods substantially in accord with those set forth in the applicable cost circulars must be submitted to SJI.

(2) Where flat rates are accepted in lieu of actual indirect costs, grantees may not also charge expenses normally included in overhead pools, e.g., accounting services, legal services, building occupancy and maintenance, etc., as direct costs.

J. Procurement and Property Management Standards

1. Procurement Standards

For state and local governments, SJI has adopted the standards set forth in Attachment O of OMB Circular A-102. Institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations will be governed by the standards set forth in Attachment O of OMB Circular A-110.

2. Property Management Standards

The property management standards as prescribed in Attachment N of OMB Circulars A-102 and A-110 apply to all SJI grantees and sub-grantees except as provided in section VI.A.18. All grantees/sub-grantees are required to be prudent in the acquisition and management of property with grant funds. If suitable property required for the successful execution of projects is already available within the grantee or subgrantee organization, expenditures of grant funds for the acquisition of new property will be considered unnecessary.

K. Audit Requirements

1. Implementation

Each recipient of a Project Grant must provide for an annual fiscal audit. This requirement also applies to a state or local court receiving a sub-grant from the state supreme court. The audit may be of the entire grantee or sub-grantee organization or of the specific project funded by the Institute. Audits conducted in accordance with the Single Audit Act of 1984 and OMB Circular A-133, will satisfy the requirement for an annual fiscal audit. The audit must be conducted by an independent Certified Public Accountant, or a state or local agency authorized to audit government agencies. Grantees must send two copies of the audit report to the Institute. Grantees that receive funds from a federal agency and satisfy audit requirements of the cognizant federal agency must submit two copies of the audit report prepared for that federal agency to SJI in order to satisfy the provisions of this section.

2. Resolution and Clearance of Audit Reports

Timely action on recommendations by responsible management officials is an integral part of the effectiveness of an audit. Each grantee must have policies and procedures for acting on audit recommendations by designating officials responsible for: (1) Follow-up, (2) maintaining a record of the actions taken on recommendations and time schedules, (3) responding to and acting on audit recommendations, and (4) submitting periodic reports to SJI on recommendations and actions taken.

3. Consequences of Non-Resolution of Audit Issues

Ordinarily, SJI will not make a subsequent grant award to an applicant that has an unresolved audit report involving SJI awards. Failure of the grantee to resolve audit questions may also result in the suspension or termination of payments for active SJI grants to that organization.

L. Close-Out of Grants

1. Grantee Close-Out Requirements

Within 90 days after the end date of the grant or any approved extension thereof (see subsection L.2. below), the following documents must be submitted to SJI by grantees (other than ESP award recipients):

a. Financial Status Report. The final report of expenditures must have no unliquidated obligations and must indicate the exact balance of unobligated funds. Any unobligated/unexpended funds will be deobligated from the award by SJI. Final payment requests for obligations incurred during the award period must be submitted to the Institute prior to the end of the 90-day close-out period. Grantees who have drawn down funds in excess of their obligations/expenditures, must return any unused funds as soon as it is determined that the funds are not required. In no instance should any unused funds remain with the grantee beyond the submission date of the final Financial Status Report.

b. Final Progress Report. This report should describe the project activities during the final calendar quarter of the project and the close-out period, including to whom project products have been disseminated; provide a summary of activities during the entire project; specify whether all the objectives set forth in the approved application or an approved adjustment have been met and, if any of the objectives have not been met, explain why not; and discuss what, if anything, could have been done differently that might have enhanced the impact of the project or improved its operation. These reporting requirements apply at the conclusion of every grant other than an ESP award.

2. Extension of Close-Out Period

Upon the written request of the grantee, SJI may extend the close-out period to assure completion of the grantee's close-out requirements. Requests for an extension must be submitted at least 14 days before the end of the close-out period and must explain why the extension is necessary and what steps will be taken to assure that all the grantee's responsibilities will be met by the end of the extension period.

VIII. Grant Adjustments Back to Top

All requests for programmatic or budgetary adjustments requiring Institute approval must be submitted by the project director in a timely manner (ordinarily 30 days prior to the implementation of the adjustment being requested). All requests for changes from the approved application will be carefully reviewed for both consistency with this Grant Guideline and the enhancement of grant goals and objectives. Failure to submit adjustments in a timely manner may result in the termination of a grantee's award.

A. Grant Adjustments Requiring Prior Written Approval

The following grant adjustments require the prior written approval of SJI:

1. Budget revisions among direct cost categories that (a) transfer grant funds to an unbudgeted cost category or (b) individually or cumulatively exceed five percent (5%) of the approved original budget or the most recently approved revised budget (see section VII.I.2.d.).

2. A change in the scope of work to be performed or the objectives of the project (see subsection D. below).

3. A change in the project site.

4. A change in the project period, such as an extension of the grant period and/or extension of the final financial or progress report deadline (see subsection E. below).

5. Satisfaction of special conditions, if required.

6. A change in or temporary absence of the project director (see subsections F. and G. below).

7. The assignment of an employee or consultant to a key staff position whose qualifications were not described in the application, or a change of a person assigned to a key project staff position (see section VI.A.2.).

8. A change in or temporary absence of the person responsible for managing and reporting on the grant's finances.

9. A change in the name of the grantee organization.

10. A transfer or contracting out of grant-supported activities (see subsection H. below).

11. A transfer of the grant to another recipient.

12. Pre-agreement costs (see section VII.I.2.a.).

13. The purchase of automated data processing equipment and software (see section VII.I.2.b.).

14. Consultant rates (see section VII.I.2.c.).

15. A change in the nature or number of the products to be prepared or the manner in which a product would be distributed.

B. Requests for Grant Adjustments

All grantees must promptly notify SJI, in writing, of events or proposed changes that may require adjustments to the approved project design. In requesting an adjustment, the grantee must set forth the reasons and basis for the proposed adjustment and any other information the program manager determines would help SJI's review.

C. Notification of Approval/Disapproval

If the request is approved, the grantee will be sent a Grant Adjustment signed by the SJI Executive Director. If the request is denied, the grantee will be sent a written explanation of the reasons for the denial.

D. Changes in the Scope of the Grant

Major changes in scope, duration, training methodology, or other significant areas must be approved in advance by SJI. A grantee may make minor changes in methodology, approach, or other aspects of the grant to expedite achievement of the grant's objectives with subsequent notification to SJI.

E. Date Changes

A request to change or extend the grant period must be made at least 30 days in advance of the end date of the grant. A revised task plan should accompany a request for an extension of the grant period, along with a revised budget if shifts among budget categories will be needed. A request to change or extend the deadline for the final financial report or final progress report must be made at least 14 days in advance of the report deadline (see section VII.L.2.).

F. Temporary Absence of the Project Director

Whenever an absence of the project director is expected to exceed a continuous period of one month, the plans for the conduct of the project director's duties during such absence must be approved in advance by the Institute. This information must be provided in a letter signed by an authorized representative of the grantee/sub-grantee at least 30 days before the departure of the project director, or as soon as it is known that the project director will be absent. The grant may be terminated if arrangements are not approved in advance by SJI.

G. Withdrawal of/Change in Project Director

If the project director relinquishes or expects to relinquish active direction of the project, SJI must be notified immediately. In such cases, if the grantee/sub-grantee wishes to terminate the project, SJI will forward procedural instructions upon notification of such intent. If the grantee wishes to continue the project under the direction of another individual, a statement of the candidate's qualifications should be sent to SJI for review and approval. The grant may be terminated if the qualifications of the proposed individual are not approved in advance by the Institute.

H. Transferring or Contracting Out of Grant-Supported Activities

No principal activity of a grant-supported project may be transferred or contracted out to another organization without specific prior approval by SJI. All such arrangements must be formalized in a contract or other written agreement between the parties involved. Copies of the proposed contract or agreement must be submitted for prior approval of SJI at the earliest possible time. The contract or agreement must state, at a minimum, the activities to be performed, the time schedule, the policies and procedures to be followed, the dollar limitation of the agreement, and the cost principles to be followed in determining what costs, both direct and indirect, will be allowed. The contract or other written agreement must not affect the grantee's overall responsibility for the direction of the project and accountability to SJI.

State Justice Institute Board of Directors Back to Top

James R. Hannah, Chairman, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR

Daniel J. Becker, Vice Chairman, State Court Administrator, Utah Administrative Office of the Courts, Salt Lake City, UT

Gayle A. Nachtigal, Secretary, Judge, Washington County Circuit Court, Hillsboro, OR

Hernan D. Vera, Treasurer, President & CEO, Public Counsel Law Center, Los Angeles, CA

Robert A. Miller, Chief Justice (ret.), Supreme Court of South Dakota, Pierre, SD

Chase T. Rogers, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Connecticut, Hartford, CT

David V. Brewer, Chief Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals, Salem, OR

Wilfredo Martinez, County Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Orlando, FL

Marsha J. Rabiteau, Executive Director, Legal Policy Strategies Group, Bloomfield, CT

John B. Nalbandian, Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Cincinnati, OH

Isabel Framer, President, Language Access Consultants LLC, Copley, OH

Jonathan D. Mattiello, Executive Director (ex officio)

Jonathan D. Mattiello,

Executive Director.

BILLING CODE P

APPENDIX B

[FR Doc. 2012-24990 Filed 10-10-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE C

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