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RULE §102.1002Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program

  (2) Tier 2 funding. A percentage of available funding will be awarded to Tier 2 grantees on a continuation basis. Continuation funding will be provided for a period not to exceed three years or through the 2011-2012 school year.

(f) Allowable expenditures. Allowable expenditures include, but are not limited to, the following:

  (1) expenditures related to the continuation of existing full-day prekindergarten programs;

  (2) personnel costs related to the teaching personnel needed to expand prekindergarten programs to meet the requirements of at least six hours of instruction by a certified teacher each day;

  (3) curriculum materials based on scientific research that are consistent with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and designed to improve the school readiness of preschool children;

  (4) equipment, including computers and other technology;

  (5) leases for space for prekindergarten programs;

  (6) costs associated with developing plans for and entering into integrated school readiness partnerships, including costs associated with infrastructure and administration of the program and partnership;

  (7) training activities on proven school readiness components conducted by the SCECD or another provider;

  (8) costs associated with the grantee's participation in the SRCS; and

  (9) indirect costs.

(g) Unallowable expenditures. Grant funds may not be expended on the following:

  (1) portable buildings;

  (2) construction of classroom space;

  (3) renovation or remodeling of existing space; or

  (4) expenditures related to students who are not eligible for the program.

(h) Conditions of operation.

  (1) Each grantee must agree to submit all information requested by the TEA through periodic activity/progress reports, a final evaluation report, and other activities related to the evaluation of the program. Reports must be submitted in the prescribed time and must contain all requested information in the prescribed format. These reports will be used by the TEA to evaluate the implementation and progress of grant-funded programs and to determine if modifications or adjustments to the program are necessary.

  (2) Each grantee must provide a prekindergarten program designed to develop children's school readiness that is aligned with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.

  (3) Each grantee must collaborate in a school readiness integration partnership as established in its grant application. In coordinating school readiness services under this section and in making any related decision to contract with partners such as local workforce development boards, Head Start and Early Head Start providers, licensed child care providers, or other licensed private for-profit or nonprofit child care services providers, a school district shall give preference to entities willing to commit through mutual agreement to implement proven school readiness components that are aligned with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, including participation in:

    (A) the SRCS in accordance with the TEC, §29.161;

    (B) a nationally recognized accrediting organization approved by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; or

    (C) the Texas Rising Star Provider certification program administered by the Texas Workforce Commission.

  (4) Each grantee must develop and implement, throughout the duration of the grant period, a sustainability plan to continue the quality and level of services of the program after the grant period ends. The sustainability plan must include continuation of the school readiness integration plan and participation in the SRCS.

(i) Continuation funding. All continuation funding will be awarded according to the tier funding structure described in subsection (e) of this section. To receive continuation funding for the Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program, all grantees must reapply for funding each year of the grant cycle and meet all applicable performance standards included in the prior year's grant agreement. A Tier 2 grantee applying for funding in year three must present valid, research-based empirical data as evidence that the grantee has implemented a prekindergarten program that includes proven school readiness components.

(j) Exemptions.

  (1) The requirement in subsection (h)(3) of this section for a school readiness integration partnership may be exempted if Head Start and/or licensed child care programs required for school readiness integration planning are unavailable in a local community. A school district must provide proof of inability to enter into a school readiness integration partnership by submitting an Exemption Request form in the grant application signed by the superintendent or his/her designee, including a statement signed by the authorized member of the school district's board of trustees certifying inability to submit the required school readiness integration plan based upon unavailability of eligible entities and programs with which to coordinate. An open-enrollment charter school board may also provide a statement certifying inability to enter into a school readiness integration plan based on limitations of the approved charter.

  (2) All requests for exemptions from program requirements must be submitted as part of the application.

  (3) A Tier 2 grantee may request an exemption from the requirement in subsection (b)(2) of this section to participate in the SRCS if the Tier 2 grantee was not using a Kindergarten reading diagnostic instrument compatible with the SRCS by April 2, 2009, the original adoption date of this section. The grantee will be required to establish a policy for providing another source of valid and reliable data to demonstrate program effectiveness. Approval of a request for an exemption from the requirement to participate in the SRCS will also apply to the condition of operation specified in subsection (h)(3)(A) of this section. However, a district receiving such an exemption will be required to allow evaluation of Kindergarten-Grade 2 student performance by the state, or its designee or its evaluator, using a Kindergarten reading diagnostic instrument compatible with the SRCS or any other developmentally appropriate diagnostic assessment instrument.

(k) Technical assistance. The TEA or its contractors will provide technical assistance, contingent on available funding, to implement proven school readiness components to selected school districts and their school readiness integration partners. Based on a comprehensive analysis of student performance, SRCS results, periodic activity/progress reports, final evaluation reports, and other relevant data from grantees, selected grantees and their school readiness integration partners will be required to participate in the technical assistance.

(l) Evaluation. Each grantee operating a prekindergarten program using Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program funds must comply with evaluation procedures consistent with the TEC, §29.154, in a manner established by the commissioner. Annual submission of evaluation reports based on program quality and student performance will be required in the manner and time set forth in the application for funding.

(m) Revocation.

  (1) The commissioner may revoke a grant award for the Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program based on the following factors:

    (A) noncompliance with application assurances and/or the provisions of this section;

    (B) lack of program success as evidenced by progress reports and program data;

    (C) failure to participate in data collection and audits;

    (D) failure to meet performance standards specified in the application; or

    (E) failure to provide accurate, timely, and complete information as required by the TEA to evaluate the effectiveness of the Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program.

  (2) A decision by the commissioner to revoke the grant award of a Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program is final and may not be appealed.

(n) Recovery of funds. The commissioner may audit the use of grant funds and may recover funds against any state provided funds.

(o) Implementation. The funding structure delineated in subsection (e) of this section takes effect beginning with school year 2011-2012.

Source Note: The provisions of this §102.1002 adopted to be effective April 2, 2009, 34 TexReg 2129; amended to be effective June 26, 2011, 36 TexReg 3717

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