Early Childhood Education
Questions and Answers
Early Childhood Program Aid Operational Plans
Recent additions appear at the end of the document.
Q. How many budget forms do I need to complete?
A. You should complete a form for each site/location and for each age group.
Q. How do I budget for a mixed-age classroom?
A. Mixed-age classrooms should be budgeted on a separate sheet, just as three-year-olds and four-year-olds are budgeted separately. Make a note on the budget worksheet that you are budgeting for a mixed-age setting.
Q. Should I justify my costs?
A. Yes. It is in your best interest to justify your costs on a separate sheet, especially for any expenses that may appear unusually high or otherwise out of the ordinary. You may use the sample worksheets provided by the department, or you may use your own format.
Q. Can additional line items be inserted into the budget form?
A. Yes. However, please keep new lines to a minimum, inserting them only when the existing line item cannot capture a particular expense. Under no circumstance should you insert a line for vague expenses such as "Other" or "Miscellaneous." Vague, unjustified requests will not be approved.
Q. Can a provider combine the salaries of more than one employee on a line on the budget form?
A. Yes. However, a personnel expense detail must be included listing all staff, salaries and their education, experience and credentials. For example, if you employ several certified teachers with different salaries, instead of creating a separate line for each teacher, enter the their total salaries on the certified teacher line and place an asterisk or footnote referring to an attached personnel expense detail. Salaries must be prorated at 180 days for staff who are employed for 245 days. Providers may also complete one budget per site or per classroom.
Q. Once the budget has been approved, can providers request additional funds to cover any cost increases in a centers expenses?
A. Yes. If centers identify and document need for additional funds that cannot be allocated within the budget, they may contact the district. When a request is made to the district, the centers budget is subject to review by the district for possible reallocation.
Q. How do I treat the salary of a director who teaches in the classroom?
A. If a director serves as a teacher, he/she is treated as a teacher in the provider budget. As you would for any other teacher, determine his/her salary as a classroom teacher based on education, experience, and credentials, prorate it by the number of Abbott children in the classroom, and enter the salary under the appropriate line in Instructional Costs. Because he/she serves as a director outside of the six-hour instructional day, the director portion of this persons salary cannot be charged to Early Childhood Program Aid. However, the prorated salary of the assistant director, who acts as the director for the six hours when the actual director is in the classroom, may be charged to ECPA.
Q. How does a provider indicate center costs for housekeeping and/or janitorial services if the agency does not employ a janitor?
A. Costs for housekeeping and/or janitorial services may be indicated in the line item for Janitor Salary. Similarly, center costs for security services may be included in the line item for Security Guard and costs for vendors if food is catered may be indicated in the line item for Food.
Q. If the center participates in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), can it include food in the budget?
A. Only the portion that is not reimbursed by the USDA CACFP can be included in the ECPA column. Providers must also include an "X" or the actual amount reimbursable in the Federal column.
Q. Where can providers include the costs for food that is utilized for curriculum activities?
A. Food for curriculum activities can be included in the Classroom Materials and Supplies line item.
Q. If a center has one head teacher with responsibility for supervision of 10 classrooms, of which two are Abbott classrooms, how does the center prorate the salary?
A. 20 percent of the head teachers salary must be prorated for 180 days in the ECPA column.
Q. Are providers required to include all funding sources in the budget?
A. No. Costs outside the 6-hour-per-day, 180-day (minimum) program, including wrap around and summer services, should not be included. However, all funding (ECPA, Department of Human Services, district, federal, and other) that is directly related to the 6-hour-per-day, 180-day (minimum) program must be included. Non-ECPA costs can be indicated by placing an "X" in the appropriate column or by indicating the actual costs, if desired. For example, if the district is providing additional funding outside of the per-pupil costs for materials and supplies, the "X" should be placed in the District column.
Q. Can substitute salaries for professional development be included under ECPA?
A. No. The New Jersey Professional Development Center provides funding for substitute fees for professional development activities including district inservice training opportunities.
Q. Can long-term substitute salaries be included under the ECPA substitute column?
A. No. Long-term substitute salary costs would be included in the Teacher Salary line item.
Providers should budget for the teacher position, even if the position is vacant.
Q. How does the Department of Education define equipment?
A. Any one item priced at $2,000 or more is considered equipment.
Q. How can a provider document the costs for field trips?
A. A provider can document the costs for field trips by indicating the destination, costs per child for admission, transportation and other associated costs for each trip. If the district provides funding for field trips, the provider cannot include the costs in the ECPA column. District-funded trips must be indicated under the District column.
Q. Will providers have the opportunity to appeal any costs that are disallowed by the DOE?
A. No. Only districts can appeal DOE decisions.
Q. How should providers include administrative salaries for directors or assistant directors?
A. Administrative salaries must be based upon their proportion of allocated time spent on children from Abbott districts and the number of children served. Include a formula or documentation of time spent on Abbott. Time sheets are not required. However, supporting documentation must be maintained in the centers files.
Q Can depreciation costs be claimed in the ECPA column?
A. Yes. If the center owns the property, depreciation can be indicated in the Rent line item, prorated by square footage of space used for Abbott purposes by Abbott children. Refer to federal guidelines for other specifics on how to handle depreciation costs.
Q. How are fringe benefit costs calculated for administrative positions?
A. There is no predetermined method for calculating fringe benefits, as these may vary from provider to provider. Include the costs for fringe benefits for instructional, support, and administrative employees under the Employee Benefits line in each respective expense category.
Q. Where does the provider include professional development costs such as registration fees for conferences?
A. Professional development costs can be included in the Staff Development line item. Justification must be provided as to how this will benefit the program and how it will be used.
Q. Can kitchen supplies such as pots, pans and utensils be included?
A. Yes. They can be included in the Food line item. However, they must be prorated, as appropriate, and a detailed explanation must be attached.
Q. What types of travel costs can be included in the budget?
A. Acceptable travel costs are family worker travel, and staffs travel costs for meetings, in-service training and professional development activities.
Q. Transportation costs for students can only be projected for 2002-2003. Can the center submit estimates?
A. Yes. Estimates can be based upon the number of children receiving services in the current year.
Q. When and how do I prorate an expense according to the proportion of total children served that are Abbott children?
A. You should prorate an expense according to the Abbott proportion of children if the activity involves simultaneously providing goods and services to both Abbott and non-Abbott children. For example, if a classroom contains both Abbott and non-Abbott children, all classroom expenses (teacher and teacher aide salary and benefits, materials and supplies, field trips, rent and utilities, etc.) should be prorated. Multiply the total expense by the number of Abbott children in the classroom divided by the total number of children.
Q. When and how do I prorate an expense according to a six-hour instructional day and 180-day (minimum) school year?
A. You should prorate an expense according to a six-hour instructional day and 180-day (minimum) school year if the activity contains costs that extend beyond these specified time periods. For example, if a classroom teacher works a maximum of six hours a day for 180 days, there is no need to prorate the teachers salary and benefits. The entire teacher salary would be reported in the ECPA column. On the other hand, if an aide works ten hours a day for 245 days to additionally cover wrap-around services, the aides salary and benefits should be prorated. The total annual salary of the aide should be multiplied by 44 percent, since 44 percent of the aides hours would occur during the six-hour day, 180-day calendar. Report the prorated amount in the ECPA column. Materials, supplies and equipment purchased for Abbott classrooms need not be prorated unless there are non-Abbott children in the same classroom.
Q. When and how do I prorate an expense according to square footage of allowable Abbott space?
A. You should prorate an expense according to square footage of allowable Abbott space if the activity involves operating and maintaining a building or space in which Abbott children are served, but in which other non-Abbott activities also occur (e.g., serving non-Abbott children or operating non-Abbott related services). Indirect costs and, in some cases, administrative costs (e.g., janitors and security guards salary and benefits) should be prorated in this manner.
Q. What is meant by "allowable Abbott space?"
A. Allowable Abbott space is space that is used to deliver the Abbott early childhood education program to Abbott children. This may include, but is not limited to, classrooms, playgrounds, bathrooms, hallways, storage closets, and office space used for administering the Abbott program.
Q. Are there situations in which I will prorate an item using more than one method?
A. Yes. You may need to combine prorating methods if an expense meets multiple criteria for prorating. For example, rent must be prorated by a six-hour instructional day and 180-day (minimum) school year, as well as the square footage of allowable Abbott space.
RECENTLY ADDED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. How do I treat the salary and benefits of a teacher or other employee who works more than six hours a day?
A. The Department of Education is responsible for funding six hours of instructional time. If teachers in the district receive preparatory time in addition to their six hours of instruction, this additional time is incorporated into the teachers standard salary, and you should not request additional funds to augment your teachers salary. However, if your teacher continues to instruct children beyond six hours during the wrap-around period the teachers salary may be increased through DHS funds. In general, any time in excess of the six hours is considered wrap-around, and costs associated with wrap-around should be charged to your DHS budget not your DOE budget.
Q. Is profit an allowable expense under the Abbott program?
A. No. For-profit providers may only charge to the state the actual costs associated with providing the Abbott early childhood education program.
Q. I own my own building. If I choose to use some of the space for the Abbott preschool program, may I charge the state for the opportunity cost of using that space for Abbott instead of renting it out?
A. No. Only real costs not hypothetical ones may be charged to the Abbott program.
Q. How do I budget for a family worker?
A. The family worker is a 10-month position entirely paid for by ECPA funds from DOE. You do not need to prorate this position between DOE and DHS. If you employ your family worker for more than the required ten months, funds for the additional two months must come from sources other than ECPA.