Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The Alliance wants to answer your pressing questions concerning ARRA. Send questions to and we will post a response on this blog within 24 hours. 

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 03/10 at 03:01 PM

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Q: Has ECAC funding been released under ARRA and, if so, how do states apply?

Created through the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 , the purpose of state Early childhood Advisory Councils (ECACs) is to develop better coordinated state systems of early childhood care and education.  The work of the ECACs through ARRA state grants will form the foundation of the planned Early Learning Challenge Grant program proposed in the President’s FY 2010 budget. 

On May 11th, the Department of Health and Human Services released letters to the nation’s governors that detail Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) state allocation amounts under ARRA and provide additional guidance around application for this one-time startup grant award.  The period of the grant is 3 years.  The application deadline is August 1st 2010.  States will be able to apply for these grants as soon as the application is posted on grants.gov.  The grant application that states submit will need to include:

* A statewide strategic plan addressing the activities of the ECAC;
* A fiscal planning document that details, for each year of the proposed grant, how the state will improve school readiness through developing or
enhancing programs and activities that are consistent with the statewide strategic plan;
* A description of the state’s early learning standards and the goals for increasing the number of children entering kindergarten ready to learn;
* Identification of the agency or joint interagency office and the individual designated by the Governor to lead the ECAC;
* A description of state sustainability planning after the duration of the grant.

For more information specific to your state, contact your Governor’s office.
Rachel Demma and Sarah Daily, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 05/21 at 09:39 AM
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Q: Is there a state match requirement for the ECAC funding under ARRA?

States will be required to provide 70% of the total approved grant amount.  This non-federal match amount may be in cash or in-kind contributions, including but not limited to: investments in early childhood education and development programs, professional development of the early childhood workforce, in-kind contributions of real property, equipment and supplies, as well as services provided by state employees, consultants and ECAC members with direct and tangible benefits for the ECAC.
Rachel Demma and Sarah Daily, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 05/21 at 09:17 AM
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Q: Are state grants in the Early Head Start RFP for two years, or only the first year of funding?

The state allocations are the first year of 2-year funding.  The second year will have the same amounts available to each state.  Applicants will compete against other applicants in their state for the funds allocated to that state; successful applicants will receive two grants of equal amounts and will not have to compete twice.
Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 05/18 at 03:38 PM
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Q: Why is the Early Head Start Expansion RFP for only $618M of the total $1.2B ARRA allocation?

According to the grant notice, this competition is to fund programs for a project period of 2 years, making $618 million available for each of the project years.  The second year of funding will sustain the expansions funded through this announcement. There will not be a second round of competition.
Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 05/18 at 03:35 PM
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Q: Are there ARRA funds to support child immunization efforts?

Yes, ARRA allocates $300 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Section 317 Immunization Grants Program. This program helps purchase vaccines and provide vaccine services to underinsured children who are not served by other programs.  This is a discretionary grant program available to all states, six cities and the territories.  More information can be found on the CDC’s website.
Jennifer Stedron, National Conference of State Legislatures

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 05/11 at 01:11 PM
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Q: How is the CCDBG minimum 4 percent quality requirement applied to stimulus funds?

CCDBG requires that a minimum of 4 percent of aggregate CCDBG expenditures be for activities to improve the quality of care [45 CFR 98.50(c)]. The requirement applies to the aggregate amount a state spends from their fiscal year allocation and is not applied to individual funding streams. Because ARRA CCDBG funds are included in states’ FY 2009 allocations, the minimum 4 percent requirement in FY 2009 will apply to the aggregate amount states spend from the following sources:
* FY 2009 Discretionary funds,
* FY 2009 Mandatory funds,
* FY 2009 Matching (federal and state) funds, and
* ARRA Discretionary funds.

In other words, at least 4 percent of all child care spending, excluding state MOE, must be spent on quality.

The $2 billion in ARRA Discretionary funds for CCDBG includes $255 million targeted for activities to improve child care quality, including $93.6 million for infant/toddler care. Funds targeted for quality activities may not count towards meeting the minimum 4 percent requirement. However, they are included in the sum of aggregate CCDBG expenditures.

For example, if a state spends a total of $100 million in CCDBG funds in FY 2009 (including ARRA and annual CCDBG funds), at least $4 million must be spent on quality initiatives, in addition to any funds targeted for quality.
Hannah Matthews and Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/24 at 12:43 PM
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Q: Has ARRA guidance on IDEA Part C funds been released by the US Dept of Education?

A:  Yes, guidance on IDEA Part C funds was released April 1.

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/22 at 10:20 AM
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Q: For LEAs who use Title I for ECE, which of the Head Start performance standards must be met?

A:  NCLB, passed in 2001, states in Sec. 1112(c)(1)(G) that a LEA uses Title I funds for early childhood services must meet the standards in 641A(a) of the Head Start Act.  The Department of Education’s 2004 non-regulatory guidance on using Title I funds for early childhood further notes that the specific Head Start standards applicable to Title I preschool programs are in regulations at 45 CFR 1304.21.

NCLB was passed in 2001, and the law and the guidance were written before the passage of the 2007 Head Start Reauthorization.  The Office of Head Start is expected to provide additional guidance or support on the revised section 641A.  Additional guidance may be forthcoming from the Department of Education around these issues. 
Danielle Ewen and Hannah Matthews, Center for Law and Social Policy; Adele Robinson, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/22 at 09:33 AM
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Q: Help us argue against state cuts to early learning.  Couldn’t cuts threaten potential ARRA funds?

Yes, state cuts could hurt your state’s chances for ARRA funds, both due to supplement not supplant provisions and positioning for competitive grants:

1) ARRA Child Care and Development Block Grant guidance clearly notes that states cannot lower their state general revenues for child care assistance.  While the guidance does not include a definition of “state general revenue” it is clear this includes any funds currently used for match or maintenance of effort requirements in the state child care assistance program, as well as any investments above those levels in place at the date of ARRA enactment.

2) ARRA Head Start guidance notes that $100 million will be available for State Early Childhood Advisory Councils.  The legislation that created these councils requires that states put up a 70 percent match in order to receive the funds.  It is likely that current states expenditures, as well as in-kind contributions by the state, will count toward the 70 percent match.  States demonstrating such support will be best positioned to access the new funds.

3) In anticipation of ARRA Head Start and Early Head Start expansion, states may wish to examine the needs of current grantees and other community-based providers, in order to determine whether small state investments now may help make these providers more competitive for expansion grants.  State investments to programs may leverage substantial ARRA funding to provide high quality services for vulnerable children in underserved communities.
Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/17 at 08:35 AM
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Q: Are there any specific provisions or guidelines in ARRA for using CCDF?

The ARRA does not change the uses of funds for CCDBG and so compensation initiatives are an allowable use of the CCDBG quality dollars under the ARRA.  One of the primary purposes of the ARRA is to create and maintain jobs.  Compensation initiatives are related to retaining staff who gain additional education thereby improving jobs and improving services for children. 
Adele Robinson, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/15 at 09:50 AM
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Q: CCDF funding under ARRA can’t supplant state funding - how will that be determined?

Discretionary CCDF funds made available under ARRA must supplement not supplant state general revenue funds for child care assistance. The deadline that determines whether states are supplanting funds is the date of ARRA enactment, February 17, 2009.  If a state reduced the amount of general revenue funds for child care assistance after this date, use of additional federal funds will be considered supplantation.  This does not include situations where states that reduced funds prior to ARRA enactment but implemented these changes after enactment - this does not violate the non-supplantation requirement. More guidance on CCDF is available on the Health and Human Services website.
Jennifer Stedron, National Conference of State Legislatures

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 04/09 at 01:30 PM
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Q: What amount is earmarked for Quality in ARRA and how will the normal CCDBG 4% for quality apply?

A: The ARRA includes $255 million for quality improvement as part of the $2 billion allocation, of which $93.6 million are targeted for activities to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers.  This is in addition to the normal quality set-aside requirement in CCDBG that applies to expenditures—that is, states must spend a minimum of 4 percent of aggregate expenditures in the child care subsidy program on quality.  This 4 percent minimum requirement also applies to the ARRA funds.  So, if a state spends $100 for the subsidy program, and that $100 includes regular FY 09 discretionary funds, ARRA funds, mandatory funds and state match funds, the state must spend a minimum of $4 on quality activities and some portion of the $255 targeted for quality.
Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 03/30 at 10:22 AM
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Q. Can both state and local early childhood efforts be included in “Race to the Top” proposals?

A. Both state- and locally- focused initiatives are eligible for this major new discretionary fund of $5 billion, administered by the U.S. Department of Education.  The fund includes $4.35 billion for what is being called Race to the Top Funds. These funds will reward both states and districts making significant progress in closing achievement gaps, among other things.  The remainder of this discretionary pool, $650 million, is for the What Works and Innovation Fund, to reward districts and consortia of districts, as well as nonprofits, that are making significant progress in improving student outcomes.  Detailed guidance has not been released but is expected in the coming weeks.  Since early learning is an emphasis of the administration, it is expected that proposals including an early learning component would be favorably received.
Jennifer Stedron, National Conference of State Legislatures

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 03/19 at 12:29 PM
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Q. How much IDEA money will be available and how and when will the money be distributed?

A. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has released estimated allocations for all the funding streams, including IDEA.

50 percent of IDEA money should be awarded to to State Education Agencies (SEAs) by the end of March 2009, based on the state’s eligibility established for FY 2008. Local Education Agency (LEA) eligibility for the first 50 percent of the IDEA recovery funds is based on eligibility established by the LEA for FY 2008. The U.S. DOE has stated, “In accordance with the goals of the ARRA, a state should obligate IDEA recovery funds to LEAs expeditiously. A state should make the Part B Grants to States and Preschool Grants recovery funds that it receives in March available to LEAs by the end of April 2009.”

The other half of the funds will be awarded by Oct. 1, 2009. To receive the second half of the funds a state will need to submit an amended FY09 application.  More directives on IDEA funds are available on the Department of Education’s website.
Jennifer Stedron, National Conference of State Legislatures

Posted by Stephen Fagan on 03/17 at 09:36 AM
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