Quick Start Guide to Where the Money is and How to Get it

5/1/2009 7:30:00 AM

Funding for education is always a concern and in challenging economic times like these, districts worry even more than usual about where they will find the moneyto pay for ongoing programs and new initiatives. This Quick Start Guide and companion eBook will focus on new federal funds and sometimes overlooked funding sources, and it will help you find those dollars, get them, and put them to work in your district. In the eBook’s expanded content you’ll learn more about all of these issues.  Read the eBook at www.techlearning.com/ebook/quickstartguide. Sponsored by learning

Funds for Education

Act of 2009 (ARRA)
The overall goals of the ARRA are to stimulate the economy in the short term and invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of our nation. It is designed to have significant impact on student achievement. The overall goal is short-term investments with long-term effects. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) is a onetime appropriation by formula to states in exchange for a commitment to drive reform and improve achievement. This one-time infusion of funds as well as additional funds must be targeted to have a sustainable long-term impact on student achievement.

Principles
• Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs.
• Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform.
• Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability.
• Invest ARRA funds to ensure sustainable, continuing commitments after the funding expires.

Reform Goals
• Make progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that
are valid and reliable for all students.
• Establish pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement.
• Make improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all
students, particularly students who are most in need.
• Provide intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

Technology and the Stimulus
Using technology is the way to achieve the ARRA goal of short-term investments with long-term effects.

Examples are:
• Online professional development
•Web-delivered curriculum
• Electronic data used for formative assessments

Other Sources
Looking for funds from other sources? They’re out there waiting for you to tap into.

eRate Funds
The eRate program was designed to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. It continues to provide discounts for classrooms and libraries on services and products for voice, video, and data communications. Up to $2.25 billion annually is available to provide eligible schools and libraries with discounts of 20% to 90% of the cost of eligible services, determined by the level of poverty and location.

Rethink the Budget
The first place to look is in the district’s coffers. Some districts are stretching their budgets by implementing cost-saving technologies such as:
• Electronic data systems for student records
• Online learning for students and staff
(e.g. credit recovery and PD)
• Server virtualization and thin client computing
• Cloud computing
• Open Source software
• Green technologies

Local Foundations
Competition for major foundation grants is fierce and often limited by conditions like location, economics, or
purpose. Another way to find funds is to connect with a foundation that’s more closely tied to your priorities – by
linking up with local corporate giving efforts or creating a non-profit foundation yourself to support programs that
fall outside of budgetary line items or that would suffer cuts in these tough economic times.

Business Partnerships
Asking businesses to help schools is fairly common practice, but some districts have honed their skills to a very
profitable result. Building trust over time with both local businesses and the vendor community can help districts
reap benefits for new initiatives.

Fundraising
The 21st century version of bake sales and door-to-door solicitations relies on electronic means of raising money
for specific projects. Schools and districts today all have Web sites that they can use to communicate needs, collect
funds, and report results to funders. In addition, external Web sites can increase visibility for projects and
bring in online donors who are not in the local area. Sites such as Donors Choose ask funders to select a classroom
or project, contribute funds or materials, and check for thank you notes from the recipient.

How to Get the Funds

Three Basics for Writing Proposals

Planning the process makes proposal writing easier to accomplish.

Before you start:
• Know what you need a grant for.
• Ask for help from a team, parents, and community.
• Get commitment from those who will do the work.
• Do a reality check for your goals.
• Review a successful proposal.

As you write:
• Stick to the number of words and pages specified.
• Make goals and objectives clear.
• Make sure the plan will support the goals.
• Have a strong plan to evaluate the program.
• Make sure the budget is adequate and accurate.

Before you submit:
• Double-check the deadline.
• Proofread.
• Ask others to read it and comment.
• Go over the numbers again.

How to Get the Funds: Rules For Finding Funds

1 Look locally for small amounts of money for small projects. Know how much you need and
how you will use the funds.

2 Always have a plan

3 Know how much you need and how you will use the funds

4 - Advertise for donors

Five Questions to Ask Yourself

Unless you can convince the funder, you need to go back to the drawing board and supply the
missing components. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you’re on the right track:

1 - Does your project address a topic that is a priority for the funder?
2 - Do you demonstrate a clear understanding of the need or problem you want to solve?
3 - Is the problem a critical issue?
4- Can your strategy solve the problem?
5- Do you have the ability to accomplish what you propose?


Ten Tips to Winning Grants
1 - Start with a vision
2 - Invite a team
3 - Build on what you’ve done
4 - Write what you know
5 - Explain what’s working
6 - Leverage other projects
7 - Have a detailed plan
8 - Develop the budget carefully
9 - Design a solid evaluation plan
10- Follow the directions

Ten Parts of a Grant Proposal
Requests for proposals all seem to ask for different things. However, there are some pieces you’ll always need.
1 - Title page
2- Table of contents
3 - Project narrative or abstract
4 - Introduction
5- Needs Assessment
6 - Goals, Objectives and Activities
7 - Personnel
8 - Budget
9- Budget narrative
10 - Evaluation plan

Get More Help: Quick Links

Read the eBook at www.techlearning.com/ebook/quickstartguide

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Provides extensive information on all aspects of the
recovery act that pertain to education.

Improving The Academic Achievement Of The Disadvantaged: Title I provides financial assistance to LEAs and schools
with high numbers or high percentages of disadvantaged children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

Enhancing Education through Technology: Title IID provides funding specifically for technology so
that students become technologically literate and teachers learn how to integrate technology into curriculum.

The Foundation Center: A good place to start searching for programs that might be available for your needs, locations, and priorities.

Grant Wrangler: Provides free grants listing service with grants and awards.

eRate Manager: Provides help to understand/apply and comply with eRate.

Grants.gov: A source to find and apply for federal government grants.

Grants Alert: Information on education grants and new funding opportunities for schools, districts, consortia and
state education agencies.

Donors Choose: Funders select a classroom or project, contribute funds or materials, and check for thank you notes
from the recipients.

For more information on education funding, visit www.learning.com

 

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