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Applications for Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, Cycle 2
Around Texas

December, 2008

SUBJECT:      Request for Application # 701-09-108
                        Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, Cycle 2

Eligible Applicants:
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under Request for Application (RFA) # 701-09-108. Texas local school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, institutions of higher education (IHE), county departments of education, nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated the ability and capacity to provide educational programs to students in any of grades K through 12, and education service centers (ESC) within ESC regions 1, 4, 10, 11, 13, 19, or 20 are eligible to apply for grant funding. 

Eligible applicants must (1) have been in operation for at least three years; (2) have been granted a charter or received accreditation from an accrediting entity appropriate to and with authority over the applicant if issuing high school diplomas; and (3) be financially stable. Entities that received funding for the Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, Cycle 1, are not eligible to apply for Cycle 2 funding.

Description of Program:
The Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, Cycle 2, is intended to offer students who have dropped out of public high school the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or demonstrate college readiness by certain defined means, as specified in the RFA. Qualifying students must be 25 years of age or younger, per Texas Education Code, §42.003(a), and must have dropped out of a Texas public school. To be considered a student who has dropped out, the student must have withdrawn from a Texas public high school and been reported to TEA with a leaver code in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) that corresponds to the definition of a dropout for that school year in which the student withdrew.

Qualifying grantees will be required to conduct a needs assessment for each participating student and to create a P-16 Individualized Graduation Plan for each student. Grantees must also develop a P-16 strategic plan detailing how the applicant plans to address the dropout crisis in their service area and deficiencies identified in the collective needs assessments of potential students. Entities providing sectarian activities must provide assurance that the dropout recovery pilot program is nonsectarian and that no religious instruction will be provided in the program. Grantees will be required to comply with all TEA requirements.

Project Funding:
The Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, Cycle 2 grant will be implemented during the 2009-2010 school year.  Applicants should plan for a starting date of no earlier than June 1, 2009, and an ending date of no later than August 31, 2010.

A base amount of no greater than $150,000 will be made available to each grantee for the purpose of planning and establishing an appropriate infrastructure for the program. Each grantee will be eligible to receive benchmark payments for (1) each student who makes interim progress by meeting established benchmark standards toward achieving a high school diploma or demonstrating college readiness, and (2) each student who completes the program by either attaining a high school diploma or demonstrating college readiness. Grantees not eligible to receive funding through the Foundation School Program are also eligible to receive an additional set amount per student who reaches benchmark standards and/or completes the program by either attaining a high school diploma or demonstrating college readiness. The number of projects funded will depend on the number of eligible applicants that apply and the number of students they anticipate serving. Project funding in any subsequent period will be based on satisfactory progress of the first-period objectives and activities, on general budget approval by the commissioner of education, and on appropriations by the state legislature.

Selection Criteria:
Applications will be selected based on the independent reviewers' assessment of each applicant's ability to carry out all requirements contained in the RFA. Reviewers will evaluate applications based on the overall quality and validity of the proposed grant programs and the extent to which the applications address the primary objectives and intent of the project. Applications must address each requirement as specified in the RFA to be considered for funding. TEA reserves the right to select from the highest-ranking applications those that address all requirements in the RFA and that are most advantageous to the project.

TEA is not obligated to approve an application, provide funds, or endorse any application submitted in response to this RFA. This RFA does not commit TEA to pay any costs before an application is approved. The issuance of this RFA does not obligate TEA to award a grant or pay any costs incurred in preparing a response.

Requesting the Application:
Requesting the Application.  Due to the high cost of printing and mailing RFAs, they will no longer be available in print.  The announcement letter and complete RFA will be posted on the TEA website at
http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms for viewing and downloading.  In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the RFA from the drop-down list.  Scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Applicants’ Conference:
An applicants’ conference will be held on Monday, January 26, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Texas Educational Telecommunication Network (TETN) available at each regional education service center (ESC) (TETN Event # 34521). To locate the nearest TETN facility, please contact the TETN site manager at your regional ESC. (The following webpage includes links and contact information for each ESC in Texas:
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/ESC/.)

Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Angela Peña De León at
Angela.DeLeon@tea.state.tx.us or faxed to 512-463-4246 prior to Monday, January 12, 2009. These questions along with other information will be addressed in the presentation. The conference will be open to all potential applicants and will provide prospective applicants an opportunity to receive general and clarifying information about the program and RFA.

The entire applicants’ conference will be digitally recorded. Prospective applicants who are not able to attend the applicants’ conference may request a password to download a video stream that is viewable on their computer desktop. Applicants should contact the TETN site manager at their local ESC to request the procedures to download the video stream.  To locate the nearest TETN facility, the following webpage has links and contact information for each ESC in Texas:
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/ESC/.

For Further Information:
For clarifying information about the RFA, contact Donnell Bilsky, Division of Discretionary Grants, TEA, (512) 463-9269. In order to assure that no prospective applicant may obtain a competitive advantage because of acquisition of information unknown to other prospective applicants, any additional information that is different from or in addition to information provided in the RFA will be provided only in response to written inquiries. Copies of all such inquiries and the written answers thereto will be posted on the TEA website in the format of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at
http://burleson.tea.state.tx.us/GrantOpportunities/forms.  In the “Select Search Options” box, select the name of the program/RFA from the drop-down list.  Scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” to view all documents that pertain to this RFA. 

Deadline for Receipt of Applications:
Applications must be received in the Document Control Center of TEA by 5:00 PM (Central Time), Thursday, February 26, 2009, to be eligible to be considered for funding.


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