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Jim Klein :: Weblog :: CA ARRA/EETT Grant Funds - We Need Your Help!

April 13, 2010

As you may already be aware, the State of California has been holding ARRA EETT technology dollars hostage, in an attempt to take these funds and use them for other purposes in Sacramento. According to grant rules and guidelines, by accepting these funds from Washington the state agreed to disburse them in the same fashion as regular EETT Round 8 funds. However, after the entire competitive grant application process was complete and applications were submitted by hundreds of districts (at significant cost to those districts), the CA State Assembly Joint Legislative Budget Committee, led by Senator Denise Ducheny, blocked the disbursement of the funds and sought the advice of the Legislative Analyst's Office, in an effort to redirect them. The Legislative Analyst's Office 2010-11 Budget Recommendations completely ignore the federal guidelines. Districts across the state have been awaiting these funds to move forward with a number of education technology initiatives and to save jobs that will soon be lost as budgets continue to tighten.

To address this issue, a CA State Assembly Budget Subcommittee has been formed, which will be meeting this month on April 20 and April 27 to make a decision on this issue. This is where you come in. We are asking you to join the California Computer Using Educators (CUE), California Education Technology Professionals Association (CETPA), and and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) in a letter/email writing campaign to urge the subcommittee to disburse these funds quickly and according to the guidelines laid out by the federal government. I have included some sample letters/emails below. Please note: it is extremely important that the legislators receive your letters/emails by April 23rd, so don't delay.

These emails/letters should be sent to the following committee members:

It will also be helpful to send one to The Budget Committee Chairs:

Thank you for your support!

 

Sample Letters:

Assembly Member Wilmer Carter
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0062

April 8, 2010

Dear Assembly Member Carter,

I am writing to you request the immediately release the EETT/ARRA Federal Title II, Part D funds allocated to California schools.

The California Department of Education (CDE) issued requests for proposals (RFPs) in July of 2009 for school districts to competitively apply for grants to fund applications of technology based on local needs and to address the improvement of student learning and related teacher-professional development. The CDE received and reviewed 188 proposals and selected the qualifying projects that would collectively receive a total of $34,000,000 and had planned to notify districts that were approved for funding in November 2009. Additionally, 1,300 districts were eligible to be approved for EETT/ARRA formula funds totaling another $34,000,000. Finally, the state had allocated funds to the California Technology Assistance Projects (CTAP), the CTAP Portal known as MyCTAP, the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) and Statewide Technology Assistance Projects (SETSs) to provide support to the districts in implementing their EETT/ARRA projects and programs. However, none these programs and projects can be implemented because the California Legislature did not and still has not released the EETT/ARRA funds.

The CDE has clearly complied with the Federal Law in the planning and implementation of the EETT/ARRA funds. The excerpts from Federal guidance document for EETT/ARRA Federal Guidance Document make it clear how the EETT/ARRA funds can and cannot be used:

  1. The Ed Tech ARAA funds are subject to the same statutory and regulatory requirements as the Title II-D Ed, Tech funds made available under the regular FY 2009 appropriation and are also subject to specific ARRA accountability and reporting requirements.
  2. State may reserve up to 5 percent of its total FY 2009 Ed Tech allocation for State-level activities and must distribute the remaining amount (i.e., at least 95 percent of its total FY 2009 allocation) as follows: At least 50% up to a 100% Competitive Grants and up to 50% Formula Grants.
  3. A State may award Ed Tech formula grant funds only to LEAs that receive funds under Part A of Title I.

As of April 8, 2010, EETT funds are still on hold by the Legislature. There is mounting frustration on the part of superintendents, teachers, and principals in districts that applied for EETT/ARRA funding. They do not know if they can still plan on EETT/ARRA funding which was intended for district utilization by the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Stimulus funding earmarked for education last summer.

PLEASE CUSTOMIZE AND ADD INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THE DELAY IN FUNDING IS CAUSING AT YOUR ORGANIZATION

 

Assembly Member Wilmer Carter
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0062

April 8, 2010

Dear Assembly Member Carter,

I am writing to you about the EETT C ARRA money for California schools that has not yet been released to the CDE. Here are highlights giving background:

  • The state was awarded $71M in funding that could be used for either competitive grant awards to school districts, OR 1/2 for competitive awards and 1/2 for grants to districts based on Title 1 formula.
  • The money is for Enhancing Education at the fourth to eighth grade level.
  • A State may reserve up to 5 percent of its total FY 2009 Ed Tech allocation for State-level activities and must distribute the remaining amount (i.e., at least 95 percent of its total FY 2009 allocation) as follows: At least 50% up to a 100% Competitive Grants and up to 50% Formula Grants.
  • The Ed Tech ARAA funds are subject to the same statutory and regulatory requirements as the Title II-D Ed, Tech funds made available under the regular FY 2009 appropriation and are also subject to specific ARRA accountability and reporting requirements.
  • A State may award Ed Tech formula grant funds only to LEAs that receive funds under Part A of Title I.
  • Districts have already sent in grant applications for the competitive money, and the CDE has graded them, they just haven’t released results due to the legislature not giving them funding authorization. This means that all the time and money expended was wasted.
  • The Legislative Analyst is recommending that the state divert the money to a student records system for Pre-K and High School work readiness. This is not in line with the goals of EETT or the statutory guidelines governing this money.

What I would like is:

  • To let you know that many educators and others involved in K-12 education technology are concerned that these funds have not been disbursed, and may be spent this in a way that wasn’t intended and does not follow federal guidelines;
  • Your vote on at the Budget Subcommittee #2 Education hearing on this matter to allocate the EETT funds as originally planned by the CDE and as it has been done in the past.

I urge you to make the right decision regarding these funds and vote to have them disbursed immediately, according the the rules and guidelines laid out by the federal government and the CDE. Failure to do so will cost school districts and essential state-wide technology support organizations jobs, deny our teachers critical technology training they desperately need, and will ultimately deny our students the valuable technology skills they will need to keep the state of California competitive in the 21st century.

PLEASE CUSTOMIZE AND ADD INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THE DELAY IN FUNDING IS CAUSING AT YOUR ORGANIZATION

Special thanks to Alice Mercer and Andrea Bennett (CETPA) for the (borrowed) text in the sample letters :)

Keywords: ARRA, EETT, Funding, Grants

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