There were two pieces of information about this year's grant competitions that were important and worthy of note (then keep reading for the BIG news about FY2011):
- There had been some confusion about the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program for this year. If over $40,000,000 is allocated for the program, the program includes both elementary and secondary grants. If under $40,000,000 is allocated, the program will only fund elementary school counseling proposals. The RFP notes that over $15,000,000 was allocated for new grants this year, leading folks to believe that only elementary school counseling grants would be funded. On the call, the FPO clarified that $55,000,000 has been allocated for this year (inlcuding funds for continuation grants). Because the continuation grants are all elementary programs, this covers the $40,000,000 legislative requirement for elementaries. This means that the FY2010 competition is open to both elementary and secondary programs.
- Also, we have been waiting with bated breath for news of the new School Climate grants. We learned today that for FY 2010 these will only be available to SEAs (State Education Agencies), not LEAs.
Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings reported that the budget presented by the president yesterday for FY 2011 has some very good news for Education. It includes a 6% increase for ED, and a 12% increase for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS).
In addition, OSDFS will be working to consolidate grant competitions to make it easier for LEAs to apply for and receive funds. OSDFS will also be proting the funding of comprehenisve programs, rather small piecemeal programs (the current funding model). Specifically, they are planning to consolidate all of their little grant programs into four main programs:
1) Safe Schools/Healthy Students (which is, by the way, being revamped a bit in preparation for the big shift)
2) Emergency Management Grants (No information was provided regarding if these will be the same ones available now or new ones, or the same old ones with additions.)
3) Violence/Substance Abuse Prevention Grants (including those for higher education; Again, no news on how much of the current portfolio will be continued in this classification)
4) School Climate Grants (To be known as the Successful, Safe & Healthy Students Program - or something like that. Mr. Jennings pointed out that these School Climate grants in FY 2011 will be available to both SEAs and LEAs (unlike this year, which is open only to SEAs).
Of course, all of these plans for FY 2011 depend on the approval of the President's proposed budget, and a lot can happen over the next several months as that process moves forward. However, the preliminary news for Education is promising.