Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education.
Overview Information: Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2014.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.354A.
Applications Available: January 15, 2014.
Date of Pre-Application Webinar (all times are Washington, DC time): Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., Washington, DC time.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 3, 2014.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: April 30, 2014.
Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: This program provides grants to eligible entities to permit them to enhance the credit of charter schools so that they can access private-sector and other non-Federal capital in order to acquire, construct, and renovate facilities at a reasonable cost. Grant projects awarded under this program will be of sufficient size, scope, and quality to enable the grantees to implement effective strategies for reaching that objective.
Priorities: This competition includes one competitive preference priority and one invitational priority.
Competitive Preference Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), this priority is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 225.12).
For FY 2014 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award up to an additional 15 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets this priority.
This priority is:
The capacity of charter schools to offer public school choice in those communities with the greatest need for school choice based on—
(1) The extent to which the applicant would target services to geographic areas in which a large proportion or number of public schools have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended.
In order to receive competitive preference points under this priority, applicants serving charter schools in States operating under ESEA Flexibility that have opted to waive the requirement in ESEA section 1116(b) for local educational agencies (LEAs) to identify for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, as appropriate, their Title I schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for two or more consecutive years should target services to geographic areas in which a large proportion or number of public schools have been identified as priority or focus schools, or belonging to a subset of other Title I schools specifically identified as low-achieving under the State's approved ESEA flexibility request (see the June 7, 2012, “ESEA Flexibility” document at http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility).
(2) The extent to which the applicant would target services to geographic areas in which a large proportion of students perform below proficient on State academic assessments; and
(3) The extent to which the applicant would target services to communities with large proportions of students from low-income families.
Invitational Priority: For FY 2014 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is an invitational priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.
This priority is: The applicant proposes a grant project that demonstrates its ability to partner with new actors and/or leverage new sources of capital and untapped non-Federal programs in order to finance charter school facilities.
Definitions: The following definitions are from 34 CFR 77.1(c):
Ambitious means promoting continued, meaningful improvement for program participants or for other individuals or entities affected by the grant, or representing a significant advancement in the field of education research, practices, or methodologies. When used to describe a performance target, whether a performance target is ambitious depends upon the context of the relevant performance measure and the baseline for that measure.
Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.
Performance measure means any quantitative indicator, statistic, or metric used to gauge program or project performance.
Performance target means a level of performance that an applicant would seek to meet during the course of a project or as a result of a project.
Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) (or the ultimate outcome if not related to students) the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice is designed to improve; consistent with the specific goals of a program.
Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice that includes a logic model.
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7223-7223j.
Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department debarment and suspension regulations in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 225.
The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.
The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education only.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
Estimated Available Funds: The Administration's budget request for FY 2014 does not include funds for this program. However, we are inviting applications at this time to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for the program.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY Start Printed Page 26412015 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.
Estimated Range of Awards: $5,000,000 to $8,000,000.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $7,500,000.
Maximum Award: We will not award a grant for more than $8,000,000 for a grant project. The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.
Estimated Number of Awards: 3.
The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: From the start date indicated on the grant award document until the Federal funds and earnings on those funds have been expended for the grant purposes or until financing facilitated by the grant has been retired, whichever is later.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: (a) A public entity, such as a State or local governmental entity; (b) A private, nonprofit entity; or (c) A consortium of entities described in (a) and (b).
Under 20 U.S.C. 7223a(b)(2), the Secretary will make, if possible, at least one award in each of the three categories of eligible applicants.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.
3. Other: The charter schools that a grantee selects to benefit from this program must meet the definition of a “charter school,” in section 5210(1) of the ESEA, as amended.
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: Kristin Lundholm, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W221, Washington, DC 20202-5970. Telephone: (202) 205-4352 or by email: Kristin.Lundholm@ed.gov.
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.
2. a. Content and Form of Application Submission: Each Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program application must include the following specific elements:
(a) A statement identifying the activities proposed to be undertaken with grant funds (the “grant project”), including a description of how the applicant will determine which charter schools will receive assistance and how much and what types of assistance these schools will receive.
(b) A description of the involvement of charter schools in the application's development and in the design of the proposed grant project.
(c) A description of the applicant's expertise in capital markets financing. (Consortium applicants must provide this information for each of the participating organizations.)
(d) A description of how the proposed grant project will leverage the maximum amount of private-sector and other non-Federal capital relative to the amount of funding used from the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program and how the proposed grant project will otherwise enhance credit available to charter schools.
(e) A description of how the eligible entity possesses sufficient expertise in education to evaluate the likelihood of success of a charter school program for which facilities financing is sought.
(f) In the case of an application submitted by a State governmental entity, a description of current and planned State funding actions, including other forms of financial assistance that ensure that charter schools within the State receive the funding they need to have adequate facilities.
Additional requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this program.
Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. Applicants are encouraged to limit their application narrative to no more than 40 pages (not including the required forms and tables), using the following standards:
- A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
- Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
- Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
- Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.
Furthermore, applicants are strongly encouraged to include a table of contents that specifies where each required part of the application is located.
The applicant should review the Performance Measures section of this notice for information on the requirements for developing project-specific performance measures and targets consistent with the objectives of the program.
b. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program, an application may include business information that the applicant considers proprietary. The Department's regulations define “business information” in 34 CFR 5.11.
Because we plan to make successful applications available to the public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business information.
Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you feel is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under “Other Attachment Form,” please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).
3. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications Available: January 15, 2014.
Date of Pre-Application Webinar: The Department will hold a pre-application Webinar for prospective applicants on the following date (all times are Washington, DC time): Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at 2:00PM, Washington, DC time.
Individuals interested in attending the Webinar are encouraged to pre-register by emailing their name, organization, contact information, and preferred Webinar date and time with the subject heading CREDIT ENHANCEMENT PRE-APPLICATION MEETING to Charterschools@ed.gov. There is no registration fee for attending this Webinar.
For further information about the pre-application Webinar, contact Kristin Lundholm, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W221, Washington, DC 20202-5970. Telephone: (202) 205-4352 or by email: Kristin.Lundholm@ed.gov.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 3, 2014. Start Printed Page 2642
Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Grants.Gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, please refer to section IV. 7 Other Submission Requirements of this notice.
We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.
Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.
Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: April 30, 2014.
4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.
5. Funding Restrictions: (a) Reserve accounts. Grant recipients, in accordance with State and local law, must deposit the grant funds they receive under this program (other than funds used for administrative costs) in a reserve account established and maintained by the grantee for this purpose. Amounts deposited in such account shall be used by the grantee for one or more of the following purposes in order to assist charter schools in accessing private-sector and other non-Federal capital:
(1) Guaranteeing, insuring, and reinsuring bonds, notes, evidences of debt, loans, and interests therein.
(2) Guaranteeing and insuring leases of personal and real property.
(3) Facilitating financing by identifying potential lending sources, encouraging private lending, and other similar activities that directly promote lending to, or for the benefit of, charter schools.
(4) Facilitating the issuance of bonds by charter schools or by other public entities for the benefit of charter schools, by providing technical, administrative, and other appropriate assistance (such as the recruitment of bond counsel, underwriters, and potential investors and the consolidation of multiple charter school projects within a single bond issue).
Funds received under this program and deposited in the reserve account must be invested in obligations issued or guaranteed by the United States or a State, or in other similarly low-risk securities. Any earnings on funds, including fees, received under this program must be deposited in the reserve account and be used in accordance with the requirements of this program.
(b) Charter school objectives. An eligible entity receiving a grant under this program must use the funds deposited in the reserve account to assist charter schools in accessing capital to accomplish one or both of the following objectives:
(1) The acquisition (by purchase, lease, donation, or otherwise) of an interest (which may be an interest held by a third party for the benefit of a charter school) in improved or unimproved real property that is necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.
(2) The construction of new facilities, or the renovation, repair, or alteration of existing facilities, necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.
(c) Other. Grantees must ensure that all costs incurred using funds from the reserve account are reasonable. The full faith and credit of the United States are not pledged to the payment of funds under such obligation. In the event of a default on any debt or other obligation, the United States has no liability to cover the cost of the default.
Applicants that are selected to receive an award must enter into a written Performance Agreement with the Department prior to drawing down funds, unless the grantee receives written permission from the Department in the interim to draw down a specific limited amount of funds. Grantees must maintain and enforce standards of conduct governing the performance of their employees, officers, directors, trustees, and agents engaged in the selection, award, and administration of contracts or agreements related to this grant. The standards of conduct must mandate disinterested decision-making.
A grantee may use not more than 0.25 percent (one quarter of one percent) of the grant funds for the administrative costs of the grant.
The Secretary, in accordance with chapter 37 of title 31, United States Code, will collect all or a portion of the funds in the reserve account established with grant funds (including any earnings on those funds) if the Secretary determines that the grantee has permanently ceased to use all or a portion of the funds in such account to accomplish the purposes described in the authorizing statute and the Performance Agreement or, if not earlier than two years after the date on which the entity first receives these funds, the entity has failed to make substantial progress in undertaking the grant project.
(d) We specify some unallowable costs in 34 CFR 225.21. We reference additional regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section in this notice.
6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—
a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)), the Government's primary registrant database;
c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.
You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one-to-two business days.
If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.
The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.
Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.
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If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.
Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.
In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.
7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.
a. Electronic Submission of Applications. Applications for grants under the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program, CFDA number 84.354A, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.
We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.
You may access the electronic grant application for the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.326, not 84.326A).
Please note the following:
- When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
- Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
- The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
- You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this program to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov.
- You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.
- You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.
- You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
- Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
- After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).
- We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.
Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.
If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.
If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Start Printed Page 2644Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.
The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.
Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—
- You do not have access to the Internet; or
- You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
- No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.
If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.
Address and mail or fax your statement to: Kristin Lundholm, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 4W221, Washington, DC 20202-5970.
FAX: (202) 250-5630.
Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.354A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.
You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.
(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.
(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
(1) A private metered postmark.
(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.
The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.
c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery. If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.354A), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.
The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:
If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—
(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and
(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.
V. Application Review Information
1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are in 34 CFR 225.11 and are listed in following paragraphs. The maximum score for all of the selection criteria is 100 points. The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses. Each criterion also includes the factors that the reviewers will consider to determine how well an application meets the criterion. We encourage applicants to make explicit connections to the selection criteria and factors in their applications.
A. Quality of project design and significance. (35 points)
In determining the quality of project design and significance, the Secretary considers—
(1) The extent to which the grant proposal would provide financing to charter schools at better rates and terms than they can receive absent assistance through the program;
(2) The extent to which the project goals, objectives, and timeline are clearly specified, measurable, and appropriate for the purpose of the program;
(3) The extent to which the project implementation plan and activities, including the partnerships established, are likely to achieve measurable objectives that further the purposes of the program;
(4) The extent to which the project is likely to produce results that are replicable;
(5) The extent to which the project will use appropriate criteria for selecting charter schools for assistance and for determining the type and amount of assistance to be given;
(6) The extent to which the proposed activities will leverage private or public-sector funding and increase the number and variety of charter schools assisted in meeting their facilities needs more than would be accomplished absent the program;
(7) The extent to which the project will serve charter schools in States with strong charter laws, consistent with the criteria for such laws in section 5202(e)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
(8) The extent to which the requested grant amount and the project costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the project; and
(9) The extent to which the proposed project is supported by strong theory (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)).
The applicant should review the Performance Measures section of this notice for information on the requirements for developing project-specific performance measures and targets consistent with the objectives of the program.
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B. Quality of project services. (15 points)
In determining the quality of the project services, the Secretary considers—
(1) The extent to which the services to be provided by the project reflect the identified needs of the charter schools to be served;
(2) The extent to which charter schools and chartering agencies were involved in the design of, and demonstrate support for, the project;
(3) The extent to which the technical assistance and other services to be provided by the proposed grant project involve the use of cost-effective strategies for increasing charter schools' access to facilities financing, including the reasonableness of fees and lending terms; and
(4) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed grant project are focused on assisting charter schools with a likelihood of success and the greatest demonstrated need for assistance under the program.
C. Capacity. (35 points)
In determining an applicant's business and organizational capacity to carry out the project, the Secretary considers—
(1) The amount and quality of experience of the applicant in carrying out the activities it proposes to undertake in its application, such as enhancing the credit on debt issuances, guaranteeing leases, and facilitating financing;
(2) The applicant's financial stability;
(3) The ability of the applicant to protect against unwarranted risk in its loan underwriting, portfolio monitoring, and financial management;
(4) The applicant's expertise in education to evaluate the likelihood of success of a charter school;
(5) The ability of the applicant to prevent conflicts of interest, including conflicts of interest by employees and members of the board of directors in a decision-making role;
(6) If the applicant has co-applicants (consortium members), partners, or other grant project participants, the specific resources to be contributed by each co-applicant (consortium member), partner, or other grant project participant to the implementation and success of the grant project;
(7) For State governmental entities, the extent to which steps have been or will be taken to ensure that charter schools within the State receive the funding needed to obtain adequate facilities; and
(8) For previous grantees under the charter school facilities programs, their performance in implementing these grants.
D. Quality of project personnel. (15 points)
In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers—
(1) The qualifications of project personnel, including relevant training and experience, of the project manager and other members of the project team, including consultants or subcontractors; and
(2) The staffing plan for the grant project.
2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary may impose special conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.
VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.
If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.
3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
4. Performance Measures:
(a) Program Performance Measures. The performance measures for this program are: (1) The amount of funding grantees leverage for charter schools to acquire, construct, and renovate school facilities and (2) the number of charter schools served. Grantees must provide this information as part of their annual performance reports.
(b) Project-Specific Performance Measures. Applicants must propose project-specific performance measures and performance targets consistent with the objectives of the project and program. Applications must provide the following information as directed under 34 CFR 75.110(b):
(1) Project Performance Measures. How each proposed project-specific performance measure would accurately measure the performance of the project and how the proposed project-specific performance measure would be consistent with the performance measures established for the program funding the competition.
(2) Project Performance Targets. Why each proposed performance target is ambitious yet achievable compared to the baseline for the performance measure and when, during the project period, the applicant would meet the performance target(s).
The Secretary encourages the applicant to consider measures and targets Start Printed Page 2646tied to their grant activities (for instance, if applicants are using eligibility for free and reduced price lunch to measure the number of low-income families served by the project, the applicant could provide a percentage for students qualifying for free and reduce lunch), during the grant period. The measures should be sufficient to gauge the progress throughout the grant period, and show results by the end of the grant period.
(3) The applicant must also describe in the application:
(i) The data collection and reporting methods the applicant would use and why those methods are likely to yield reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data, and
(ii) The applicant's capacity to collect and report reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data, as evidenced by high-quality data collection, analysis, and reporting in other projects or research.
If the applicant does not have experience with collection and reporting of performance data through other projects or research, they should provide other evidence of their capacity to successfully carry out data collection and reporting for their proposed project.
5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a grantee has made “substantial progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application.” This consideration includes the review of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
VII. Agency Contact
Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kristin Lundholm, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4W221, Washington, DC 20202-5970. Telephone: (202) 205-4352 or by email: Kristin.Lundholm@ed.gov.
If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
VIII. Other Information
Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.
Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.
End Further Info
Dated: January 10, 2014.
Nadya Chinoy Dabby,
Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-00648 Filed 1-14-14; 8:45 am]
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