Questions and Answers

RFP #TA-05
School Innovation Fund: New Schools / School Redesign Partnerships


SIF Grant Clarification: All assurances must be submitted with the application package.

  1. Question: If a CMO took this on, would this require them to apply for a new charter for that school? If yes, how could the grant application timeline and new charter RFP process be reconciled?

    Answer: A charter is not required for a CMO to work with a redesigned or new school. The scope of control ceded to the CMO would have to be articulated in the initial and final Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the partner and the LEA; however the new or redesigned school can still remain governed by the Superintendent and/or Board of Education.

  2. Question: How much shared governance would be required between the LEA and a CMO?

    Answer: There is no threshold level of shared governance required for application. The type and nature of shared governance between a partner and the LEA should be articulated in the initial and final MOU. The applicant must justify that the particular shared governance agreement is consistent with and appropriate for the identified needs and/or the specific attributes of the school being proposed.

  3. Question: To clarify the College Pathway School Design: If the LEA submitted a program design under the "college pathway school design" at the middle-level to prepare students to take dual enrollment and college-credit bearing courses in a college-pathway high school only, without establishing a program to earn up to 40 college credits tuition-free; is this an eligible application? The RFP appears to say 40 Tuition Free Credits or establish a middle level prep program.

    Answer: The School Innovation Fund may be used to start-up a middle-level college pathway prep design. However, the middle-level college pathway prep design must demonstrate a clear connection with an existing high quality credit-bearing college pathway school experience.

  4. Question: Is it allowable within the scope of the grant for a district to create a separate and autonomous school within an existing school with head of school reporting directly to the superintendent?

    Answer: Yes.

  5. Question: Does the IB model meet the criteria for the College Pathways School Design?

    Answer: Any proposed model must meet the criteria for the particular design framework chosen, as well as the criteria in each of the sections of the proposal narrative.

  6. Question: What is the minimum number of students to comprise the first cohort?

    Answer: A cohort must, at a minimum include one full grade level, with plans to phase in other grade-levels in out years. There is no minimum number of students within one cohort. However, if the school design being proposed is an autonomous school within an existing school and has an extremely small cohort, the applicant would need to justify why this particular design would be best fit for both the students enrolled and the other schools, including the potential impact on students not enrolled.

  7. Question: Are for-profit companies eligible for the School Innovation Fund?

    Answer: No. The eligible applicants for this grant are local education agencies that serve Tier III schools. In addition, the LEA must be engaged in an eligible partnership and in proposing a new school or a whole-school redesign.

  8. Question: Can an LEA contract with a for-profit vendor for educational services it cannot itself provide?

    Answer: Yes, so long as the vendor is not functioning in the capacity of the Educational Partnership Organization, as defined by Education Law § 211-e, in which case the provider is required to be a not-for-profit organization.

  9. Question: Is this program funded through ARRA money?

    Answer: No, this program will be funded with Title I School Improvement Section 1003 (a) funds.

  10. Question: Are there any restrictions for OTPS expenses?

    Answer: The purchase of non-instructional equipment and sub-granting are not allowed. Allowable activities are those activities that are directly related to meeting the overall and individual design framework program requirements. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the grant must be used for the identified school’s activities.

  11. Question: Are there any indirect costs we need to account for?

    Answer: Indirect costs are allowable at the LEA’s current approved indirect-cost rate. In budgeting for years two and three, applicants should use their current approved indirect-cost rate as well.

  12. Question: Is it ok to allocate funds to a school that is releasing someone in their staff to do planning for a new school according to one of the design frameworks?

    Answer: Yes, this would be considered a part of the 15% maximum that can be used for district capacity building.

  13. Question: If a school has been designated as in Corrective Action/Restructuring, but does not receive Title I funds from the LEA (the LEA distributes Title I funds to other schools in the district), can the LEA apply for Innovation Funds for that school?

    Answer: No. LEAs can apply for Innovation Funds only for Tier III schools, which are schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are not designated as persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) at the time of award and are receiving Title I funds.

  14. Question: Can an LEA which is a DINI and receives Title I funds with a High School which is currently not receiving Title I designate that High School as a Title I High School by allocating Title I funds for 2011-2012 funding year to that High School and establishing all the necessary Title I Requirements?

    Answer: The specific school being redesigned must be a Tier III school. That is, the specific school must be receiving Title I funds and be identified as a school in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, and not a PLA.

  15. Question: May a first year charter school (opening in August 2011) apply for the school innovation fund if the school projects over 90 percent of its students to qualify for free or reduced lunch and enter with below grade proficiency levels?

    Answer: No, only identified Tier III schools are eligible.

  16. Question: We are a district in which three of our schools, two elementary schools and one 5-6 building, are Title 1 schools. We are very interested in applying for this grant for blended instruction, but our HS is not a Title 1 school. In this coming school year we are offering blended instruction in a very innovative way to our HS students, but in this RFP, it seems to say that the HS itself must be Title 1. Is that correct? We would also like to ask if elementary schools would be considered as well as there are early predictors of HS and college success based on reading and math achievement. Could this be used for an innovative elementary growth model?

    Answer: Only Tier III schools are eligible.

  17. Question: Is there a list of Tier III high schools in New York State that can be accessed?

    Answer: Yes, please see the list of currently identified Tier III schools PDF icon (29 KB).

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Last Updated: May 30, 2012 2:55 PM