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TEA Correspondence

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SUBJECT: Request for Application #701-08-116 Dropout Recovery Pilot Program

DATE:  May 23, 2008

Eligible Applicants:

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications under Request for Application (RFA) #701-08-116 from local educational agencies (LEAs); open-enrollment charter schools; institutions of higher education (IHEs); county departments of education; nonprofit organizations operating as private schools; and education service centers (ESCs). Applicants must both be located and provide services in ESC regions 1, 4, 10, 11, 13, 19, and 20. Partnerships of the foregoing and other nonprofit organizations may also apply, provided they consist of no more than 10 entities. Partnerships applying for this grant must designate one of the eligible entities to receive the grant award and act as the fiscal agent/applicant.

Description of Program:

This purpose of this program is to offer students who have already 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 and must have dropped out of a Texas public school. Students who have dropped out of non-public schools are not eligible to be served. To be considered a student who has dropped out, the student must (a) have withdrawn from a Texas public high school and been assigned a leaver code in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) that corresponds to the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, or (b) have been previously enrolled in a Texas public secondary school but not been in attendance for at least 30 consecutive school days during the regular school year, or (c) have a notarized affidavit from a parent or legal guardian stating that the student dropped out of a Texas public secondary school under one of the circumstances listed in (a) or (b) above., and is not currently enrolled in a Texas public school.

Under the Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, grantees may deliver services to students in any of a number of ways, including classroom instruction, online instruction, twilight schools, or small learning communities. Services may include, but are not limited to, instruction, tutoring, test preparation, mentoring, transportation, child care, and counseling. There are no program requirements that students must receive specific type of services delivered at a specific location or for a specified period of time. The program is designed to allow grantees maximum flexibility in meeting the individual needs of students.

Project Funding:

The Dropout Recovery Pilot Program will be implemented during the 2008–2009 school year. Applicants should plan for a starting date of no earlier than August 15, 2008, and an ending date of no later August 31, 2009. The number of projects funded will depend on the number of eligible applicants that apply and the number of students that 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:

A complete copy of RFA #701-08-116 may be obtained by writing the Document Control Center, Room 6-108, Texas Education Agency, William B. Travis Building, 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701; by calling (512) 463-9304; by faxing (512) 463-9811; or by e-mailing dcc@tea.state.tx.us. Please refer to the RFA number and title in your request. Provide your name, complete mailing address, and telephone number including area code. The RFA will also be posted on the TEA Grant Opportunities 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 program/RFA from the drop-down list. Once you have selected the name of the grant program, scroll down to the “Application and Support Information” to view all documents that pertain to this RFA.

Applicant's Conference:

An applicant’s conference will be held on Thursday, June 12, 2008, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the Texas Educational Telecommunication Network (TETN) available at each regional Education Service Center (ESC) (TETN Event # 31212). In order to locate the nearest TETN facility, please contact the TETN site manager at your regional ESC. Questions relevant to the RFA may be sent to Donnell Bilsky at donnell.bilsky@tea.state.tx.us or faxed to (512) 463-9811 prior to Thursday, June 5, 2008. 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 Applicant's Conference may request a password to download the video stream that is viewable on their computer desktop. Applicants should contact the TETN Site Manager at their local educational service center (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 Standard Time), Tuesday, July 1, 2008, to be eligible to be considered for funding.


Nora Ibáñez Hancock, Ed.D.
Associate Commissioner
Office for Planning, Grants and Evaluation

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