AmeriCorps School Turnaround NOFA - 2013 - FAQs 

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NOTICE OF FUNDS AVAILABLE
AmeriCorps Illinois School Turnaround Grants
Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers refer to the AmeriCorps School Turnaround NOFA for 2013.

List Updated: March 21, 2013 at 12:40pm

  1. What is required in the Letter of Intent that is due on March 22nd?
    1. Please include the list of schools/organizations you will be partnering with, the type/amount of grant you will be seeking, a general list of what the members will be doing, and any other details you feel necessary.
  2. In the CNCS – School Turnaround NOFA it indicates
    “The Notice of Intent to Apply should include the name of the applicant organization, address, contact person, e-mail address, and phone number. Applicants should state the type of grant for which they intend to apply. State Commissions should include an estimate of the number of applications planned for submission. Providing an e-mail address will also allow CNCS to contact applicants directly if application materials are updated.”
    Is there other information that should be included?
    1. The information cited is for our State Commission letter of intent that we must sent to the Corporation. For your letter of intent, please include the list of schools/organizations you will be partnering with, the type/amount of grant you will be seeking, a general list of what the members will be doing, and any other details you feel necessary.
  3. It appears that if an organization were to apply for an EAP only grant, the award per member would not exceed $800 – is this correct?
    1. Correct. Please see Table 2 on page 10 of the Federal NOFA.
  4. Under the cost reimbursement grant, is there a minimum number of AmeriCorps members an organization can apply for?
    1. Per page 5 of the Federal NOFA:
      B. Award Amount
      Awards will provide both operating funds and AmeriCorps member slots. Award amounts will vary. Grant amounts may be lower than the requested amount. Applicants are encouraged to apply for a minimum of 20 Member Service Years (MSYs). CNCS and ED expect to make annual grant awards of between $250,000 and $1,000,000 for cost reimbursement grants and between $16,000 and $80,000 for education-award fixed-amount grants. For award size limitations, please refer to the maximum cost per MSY requirements (Section III.D.3-4).
  5. If you we did not attend the Webinar on March 15 can we still apply?
    1. Unfortunately, no; the webinar was mandatory.
  6. Are the webinar slides available in a pdf format on your site that we can print?
    1. Yes. Please visit the Illinois NOFA. The slides and a video of the webinar are listed on the bottom right hand corner.
  7. What are the match requirements for this grant?
    1. Per page 7 and 8 of the Federal NOFA:
      B. Match Requirements
      1. EAP
      There is no match requirement for fixed-amount grants. However, the fixed-amount grant does not cover all costs. Fixed-amount grantees provide the additional resources needed to operate the program, but are not required to track or report on them.
      2. Cost Reimbursement Grants (non-fixed amount)
      A first-time successful applicant must provide a grantee share of 24 percent of the total costs for the first three-year funding period. Starting with year four for grantees that successfully compete for new awards, the grantee share gradually increases every year to 50 percent by year ten, according to the minimum overall share chart found in 45 CFR § 2521.60. For purposes of determining the applicable match schedule, CNCS will assess match level based on the particular grant and project in the application and not the legal applicant. Thus one legal applicant may be able to receive funding for separate projects under separate grants subject to different match levels. See 45 CFR § 2522.340 for more information about this topic.
  8. If a currently funded AmeriCorps program applies, would they use their current match levels?
    1. No. Per page 7 and 8 of the Federal NOFA:
      B. Match Requirements
      2. Cost Reimbursement Grants (non-fixed amount)
      …For purposes of determining the applicable match schedule, CNCS will assess match level based on the particular grant and project in the application and not the legal applicant. Thus one legal applicant may be able to receive funding for separate projects under separate grants subject to different match levels. See 45 CFR § 2522.340 for more information about this topic.
  9. Can nonprofit program work with a poor performing high school that is not listed in the Tier 1 or 2 list?
    1. Only School Improvement Grant funded, Tier 1, and Tier 2 schools may receive support through this grant.
  10. For currently funded programs, would we need to have separate staff for this grant or would we need to show proof of how we spend our time and report them separately?
    1. The same staff can serve on multiple grants, but you will have to log their time accordingly.
  11. For currently funded programs, would we need to train and supervise the school turnaround AmeriCorps members separately?
    1. No. Members can be trained and supervised together, but you must track what grant is being charged.
  12. Are all eligible schools high schools or is there a list of elementary Tier 1 and Tier II schools?
    1. Only School Improvement Grant funded, Tier 1, and Tier 2 schools may receive support through this grant.
  13. If a high school is listed in tier 3, can they enroll in the program?
    1. Only School Improvement Grant funded, Tier 1, and Tier 2 schools may receive support through this grant.
  14. Can services take place at the organization’s site rather than the school?
    1. Yes, but Serve Illinois recommends that service be conducted in the schools as much as possible.
  15. In regards to the program areas, would we need to cover all of the areas or would just a few suffice?
    1. One or more will suffice. Per page 3 and 4 of the Federal NOFA:
      I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
      A. Purpose of School Turnaround AmeriCorps Funding

      …Grants will fund projects that address multiple student needs and are aligned with comprehensive school turnaround plans. All grants funded under this Notice must include one or more of the following:
      • Providing ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement.
      • Establishing a school culture and environment that improve school safety, attendance, and discipline and address other non-academic factors that impact student achievement, such as students’ social, emotional, and health needs.
      • Accelerating students’ acquisition of reading and mathematics knowledge and skills;
      • Increasing graduation rates through strategies such as early warning systems, credit-recovery programs, and re-engagement strategies.
      • Increasing college enrollment rates through college preparation counseling assistance to include completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and college applications, and educating students and their families on financial literacy for college; or
      • Supporting school implementation of increased learning time.
  16. Is it correct that our operating expenses and the member expenses cannot exceed $13,300 per member?
    1. On a cost reimbursement grant, you may only charge up to $13,300 per MSY on the grant side of your budget. Per pages 9 and 10 of the Federal NOFA:
      3. Maximum Cost per MSY
      Maximum costs per MSY are set forth in Table 2 below. CNCS considers cost per MSY in making funding decisions. New applicants that submit an application with a low cost per MSY and existing grantees that submit with a lower cost per MSY than currently funded may receive 10 higher priority for funding. One MSY is equivalent to a full-time AmeriCorps position. The cost per MSY is determined by dividing the CNCS share of budgeted grant costs by the number of MSYs requested. It does not include childcare or the value of the education award a member may earn. The maximum cost per MSY an applicant may request is determined on an annual basis.
  17. When do members recieve their stipends and education awards?
    1. Member's stipends should be divided into equal payments dispersed at regular intervals. (i.e.: Contract amount/pay periods = $12,600/24=$525 before taxes) The stipends should not be based on hours served in a given pay period; therefore, if a member serves any hours in a given pay period, they must receive the regular amount.  Members are eligible to use their education awards after they have successfully completed their term of service. The education award is held and distributed by the National Service Trust. More information can be found at Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
 
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