QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q - Can charter school grant awards go toward salaries? If so, is there a percentage?
A - The charter school grant is a federal grant that is not guaranteed beyond 36 months. Therefore, it would not be in a school's best interest to support essential staff with this grant money. Furthermore, federal guidelines prohibit the use of grant funds to support personnel that are covered by the Local School System guidelines.
Q - Can expenses incurred prior to the award date of the grant be reimbursed?
A - Organizations that are awarded a grant will receive a Notice of Grant Award form that will indicate the start date of the grant.
Q - Do charter schools need to secure bids for any contractual services?
A - Yes, the federal government requires that acceptable procurement processes be followed. These include securing at least three (3) bids for contractual services is a best practice and as evidence that your organization implemented good business practices. The mere appearance of favoritism, unjustified costs, sloppy or non-existent records, poor internal controls, no-work contracts, etc. is to be avoided.
Q - What is the time frame for the awarding of the grant?
A - The review process after the due date usually is between four and six weeks. Letters of approval or denial are sent out shortly after that time.
Q - Can additional pages be added to list the founding members?
A - Yes, but once that list is submitted with the application, no changes may be made.
Q - What are the allowable activities?
A - Allowable activities for the Planning and Design grant include: refinement of the desired educational results, methods for measuring progress toward achieving the identified results, professional development of teachers and other staff who will work in the charter school, informing the community about the school, etc. Allowable activities for the Implementation grant include: acquiring necessary equipment, educational supplies and materials, acquiring or developing curriculum materials, and other initial operational costs that cannot be met from State or local sources.
Q - Are there limitations regarding technology expenses?
A - All expenses must be justified and explained in the budget.
Q - Can grant funds be used for building renovation?
A - Yes. Federal funds may be used for limited alterations of buildings to help make them comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Grant funds may also be used to bring the facility into compliance with local codes. Specific information about the ADA is available through your local school system. In addition, MSDE is available to provide information about ADA requirements.
Q - What is the difference between the goals, objectives and milestones required for the grant for funding and the goals, objectives and milestones that are important to the charter school?
A - The goals, objectives and milestones for the charter school should be tied to student achievement and the overall vision of the school. The goals, objectives and milestones for the grant should be linked to the allowable activities for the grant funding and should be linked to school goals.
Q - Where can an organization get ideas for a charter school?
A - There are many charter school web sites. If you visit http://marylandpublicschools.org there are several web sites and resources listed that can assist an organization that is interested in starting a charter school. Additionally, the Maryland Charter School Network can be used as a resource (www.mdcharternetwork.org).
Q - Does the vision/goal of school have to be tied to the project proposal?
A - Yes, The vision/goal of the school is the umbrella of the charter school you are proposing. The funding is just a portion of the assistance you will need to open your school.
Q - Can some of the money be used to purchase a curriculum?
A - Yes. It is important to acquire or design a curriculum that aligns with the state standards. Information about the standards can be acquired through your local school system or by accessing the MSDE website at http://marylandpublicschools.org.
Q - Is there a list of vendors that schools can use for various services?
A - MSDE does not have a list of charter school vendors, however if you visit the web site at http://marylandpublicschools.org there are many resources available. Additionally, the Maryland Charter School Network can be used as a resource (www.mdcharternetwork.org).
Q - What is the funding amount for a conversion school?
A - Conversion schools may receive the same funding received by new charter schools. A fresh start school that was a previous school district school, may however, qualify for any available financial incentive awards offered if they were previously a school in restructuring according to the No Child Left Behind law school improvement category.
Q - What is the budget narrative?
A - The budget narrative explains and justifies every line item in the budget.
Q - Can the total amount of the grant go toward a consultant?
A - MSDE would need very specific and clear details regarding using all of the grant funds for a consultant before final approval would be given.
Q - Does an organization have to have non profit status before applying for a grant?
A - Yes or at least the application must have been submitted. The granting of funds through this program would require non profit status.
Q - What is the score needed to have a charter school grant application approved?
A - A proposal must have a minimum score as follows:
Minimum score of 3 points.
Part A - 85 out of 92 points in order to be approved.
Part B and C – Up to 31 additional points to the overall score.
It is therefore strongly encouraged that all applicants attend the Pre-Proposal Conference and the related RFP training to ensure that the applicant develops a full understanding of the information required for the grant.Additional training is also provided by the Maryland Charter School Network to help applicants accurately develop each part of the proposal to increase the chances of successfully obtaining the grant.
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