Preschool Expansion Grant
Preschool Expansion Grant Q & A
- What does comparable compensation mean for salaries and benefits?
In-district teachers should be compensated with salaries and benefits that are the same as other teachers in the school district. Teachers in provider settings should receive comparable compensation. A minimum of medical benefits must be provided; co-pays are allowable.
- What is a blended classroom? Is it a requirement?
A blended classroom is a classroom that has children who are funded from different funding streams (IDEA, Preschool Education Aid, tuition and Preschool Expansion Grant funding). For districts currently receiving Preschool Education Aid (PEA), classrooms must be funded through a blend of PEA, grant funding, and funding for preschoolers with disabilities. All other districts must use a blend of grant funding and funding for preschoolers with disabilities. Districts also have the option of charging tuition to children not already funded through PEA, special education funding, or grant funding. It is important that grant funds do not supplant other funds. These situations are often unique to each district, so please reach out to your DOE liaison for additional guidance.
- What happens if we do not have space to expand and meet grant requirements?
We will work closely with you to find space. Keep in mind that an important part of the grant is serving children in a mixed delivery system (a combination of Head Start, private providers, school sites).
- Will there be an audit on the 200% federal poverty level?
Yes, our Federal Project Officers have told us that there will be an audit of children's eligibility.
- Can grant funds be used to purchase a modular facility?
No, you cannot purchase a modular facility but grant funds can be used to pay for leasing. Minor remodeling and building repairs are allowable.
- Can grant funds be used for rent?
Yes, the funds can be used for rent or lease of space.
- Can grant funds be used for transportation?
Yes, the funds can be used for transportation.
- Do nurses have to be on site?
The programs must have access to an assigned nurse (at a ratio of not more than one nurse for 300 preschool children), but nurses do not have to be on site.
- Can space be used if it does not meet existing requirements?
For contracted private providers, there is a waiver process (through the County office) for space that does not meet the existing requirements.
- Are children with disabilities eligible for the funding?
In some cases, children with disabilities may be supported with grant funding. Services above and beyond a child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may be supported via the grant, however, each child must still meet age and income eligibility requirements. In addition, districts must be careful not to use grant funding to supplant special education funding. Contact your DOE liaison to discuss your specific situation to ensure appropriate use of grant funding. See also question #11.
- If a preschooler with disabilities is currently only funded for a half-day program (and the IEP only requires a half day program), can grant funding be used to support the "other half" of the day, assuming the child has already met the grant's other eligibility requirements?
Yes, if the child is eligible for the program (is 4-years-old, a resident and the family is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line), grant funding can be used to support the other half of the day.
- Do we have to use private providers?
The grant requires that we use a mixed delivery system across the program. However, it may not make sense to use private providers in every district (for example, if a district is only operating one or two classrooms, and already has suitable space). This may mean that some districts collaborate with private providers, and other districts do not.
- What happens if Head Start and other private providers do not want to work with districts?
We will work with you to establish a relationship with Head Start and other private providers in your community.
- Will you provide an enrollment form that collects the necessary information to determine eligibility?
Yes, we will provide you with an enrollment form that includes information about income verification. Eligible children/families must qualify at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
- How do we calculate tuition for children not funded through the grant, PEA, or special education funding sources?
Tuition rates should be comparable to your county per pupil rate. Tuition can be subsidized by local funds or other funding sources (e.g. Title One) but not by grant funds.
- How do we evaluate staff?
District staff should be included in your current evaluation system, although in private provider and Head Start settings, directors of the programs are responsible for staff evaluation.
- What are the due dates for the budget and plan?
Revised Preschool Program Plan Updates and Budget Workbooks are due annually on March 1 for the subsequent school year (July 1 - June 30). New plans and budget workbooks will be disseminated to you and will also be available on the NJDOE/ECE website.
- Are we required to provide transportation to eligible children?
If the district provides transportation for K-12 students in the school district you are required to provide transportation for preschoolers as well.
- Are we required to get pre-approval for grant expenditures?
Districts will receive grant funding on a reimbursement basis through the EWEG system. Pre-approvals are not required, however, if a district has any concern about whether an expense is allowable, we encourage you to consult with a DOE staff member prior to finalizing that expense. There is guidance available for budget transfers that should be followed if you choose to reallocate monies from one line to another.
- Our District Activities Tracking Plan says that we are required to, "Submit an independent audit of school district finances to NJDOE Office of School Facilities and Finance". Can you explain?
District independent auditors must follow audit guidance pertaining to the preschool program found with the DOE's annual Audit Program. A separate audit of the preschool program is not required.
- Are school districts that contract with private providers required to submit additional documents?
Districts that contract with private providers are required to submit copies of the Preschool Provider Contracts and Provider Budget Planning Workbooks to NJDOE/ECE by June 30 of each year. Revised templates for both the contract and the budget workbook will be disseminated to districts in the spring.
- What are the grant reporting requirements?
Quarterly expenditure reports are required to be uploaded to EWEG, including both the Excel version of the report and an approved/signed copy as a PDF. The report template will be provided.
- Where can I find resources for Grow NJ Kids (GNJK)?
GNJK resources can be found at http://www.grownjkids.com/