Clarification and Request for Proposals – 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants

The Maine Department of Education issued a Request for Proposals on Oct. 28, 2012, for 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants. The grant funds are for new and continuing grants to support community learning centers that provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement the students’ regular academic program.

The RFP and application can be found at: www.maine.gov/doe/21st-century.

Clarification of eligibility – “new applicants”

All applicants that applied for the spring 2012 competition for 21st Century grant funds are eligible to respond to the current RFP.

Some potential applicants, including some that applied for the spring RFP for 21st Century grants, have asked questions about eligibility because the wording of “new applicant” initially appears to exclude many of them. That is not the case. All applicants that applied in the spring RFP – and others considering applying – are eligible as “new applicants” or “continuation applicants.”

Based on clarification from the U.S. Department of Education, the definition of new applicant is as follows:

Those schools, school districts, Community-Based Organizations and Faith-Based Organizations that have not held a 21st Century grant in the last five years for the population targeted in the new application. In other words, a school, district, CBO or FBO may submit a new application as long as the population to be served in the proposal has not been served by a 21st century grant in the past five years.

The fact that a school, district, CBO or FBO is currently participating in a 21st Century grant program does not preclude them from eligibility in a new proposal.

As an example:

Pine Valley School District has three schools and currently has a 21st Century program for grades K-2 at School A, and grades 3-5 at School B.  A new application could be submitted for a 3-5 program at School A, grades K-2 at School B, or any grades at School C. Each would be a new population and therefore an eligible proposal.

An example of a proposal that would not be allowed:

Eagle Mountain School District currently has a 21st Century grant for an after-school program in grades 3-4 at School A. They wish to add more funds for their program in grades 3-4 at the same school. Because this is the same population and a proposal by applicants who are currently receiving a grant for that population, it would not be eligible. Even if the school sought a different CBO or FBO to partner with, the fact that it is the same population makes it ineligible for a new grant.

Continuation applicants

Note that in addition to “new applicants,” the RFP allows for “continuation applicants.” These are programs in their fifth year for which applicants seek an additional three-year grant (at reduced funding). These applicants must also meet specific criteria as “exemplary” programs. In that case, of course, existing grant recipients would be applying for additional funds for the same population. Please see the RFP for details.