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PCSGP-13 RFA Next Steps Webinar November 12, 2013

The following is a transcript of the Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) Budget Technical Assistance (TA) Request for Applications (RFA) webinar focused on guiding submitters through the next steps in the application process.

The Public Charter School Grant Program, Request for Applications, Budget Technical Assistance Webinar, was presented on November 12, 2013 at the California Department of Education (CDE). The focus of the webinar was to guide submitters through the next steps in the application process after receiving a passing score from the PCSGP peer reviewers.

Return to the Public Charter Schools Grant Program Request for Applications page.

Transcript
Slide 1: Introduction Title Page 
Slide 2: Welcome

Welcome to the California Department of Education’s (CDE) presentation on the Public Charter School Grant Program (PCSGP) Peer Review Next Steps for fiscal year 2013–14. My name is Pete Callas, Education Fiscal Services Administrator for the PCSGP Planning and Implementation grant. Joining me today are the program consultants for the grant program; Dr. Benjamin Walker, James Harris, Robert Wilson, Colleen Quinn, Steve Smith, and our Analysts, Thomas Pacheco and Tamie Thompson.   

Slide 3: Purpose of Webinar

The purpose of this Webinar is to guide you through the next steps in the PCSGP application process after receiving a passing score from the PCSGP peer reviewers.  During this webinar, we will discuss the following:

Slide 4: What to Have In Front Of You

During this presentation, we will discuss the PCSGP budget process.  Please have available in front of you a copy of the fiscal year 13 Request for Applications (RFA), PCSGP forms 5 and 6, and the Budget Summary Review Form.  The Budget Summary Review Form is uploaded as an attachment in this webinar and can be downloaded.

Slide 5: The PCSGP

As a reminder, the PCSGP grant funds are awarded to assist charter school developers in the development and the initial operations of newly established or conversion charter schools to develop high quality and high performing charter schools.

A word regarding funding; per the RFA, “If insufficient funds are available to fund all successful applications, the CDE may consider other factors such as geographic distribution, school size, and grade level distribution.” The grant will be awarded based on the outcome of the individual charter school’s budget review. As of this webinar, there are no 2013 PCSGP applicants who have been awarded funding.

Slide 6: PCSGP Funding Process

This slide shows a flowchart of the budget review and funding process.  Once a PCSGP sub-grantee submits their budget it is reviewed by the California Department of Education (CDE) staff.

The first step prior to the budget process is to review the PCSGP application for the eligibility of the Higher Grant Award (HGA) if applicable. The eligibility requirements of the HGA are noted on pages 10, 11, and 20 of the Request for Applications (RFA). If a school is denied the HGA, then it will receive the base award amount as indicated on pages10 and 11 of the RFA.  

During the Budget Review process the initial budget submitted is reviewed for:

According to the Office of Management Budget Circulars A21, A122, and A87, the factors affecting cost allowability must follow the principles of cost in the aforementioned circulars. A cost is considered reasonable if the “nature of the goods or services acquired or applied, and the amount involved therefore, reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made.” A cost is considered to be allocable if the goods and or services involved are chargeable or assignable to such cost objectives in accordance with relative benefits received or equitable relationship.   

If additional information is needed or if unallowable expenditures are identified, or the school was denied the HGA, then a Budget Review Summary Form will be sent to the sub-grantee with required revisions to Budget Forms 5 and 6. CDE staff will contact the charter school and follow up with an e-mail describing the concerns identified. When CDE receives the budget revisions from the sub-grantee, the revised budget is reviewed again and if approved it will be placed in the sub-grantees PCSGP file.

Once the budget is approved, it will be referenced each quarter during a Quarterly Expenditure Report (also known as the QER) review by CDE staff to approve quarterly payments. The Payment Process takes approximately 8 to 10 weeks for the school to receive their payment. The Payment Process has multiple approval steps including 2 to 3 weeks to approve the drawdown of funds from the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 2 weeks for CDE staff to prepare and submit payment package to CDE’s accounting office and 3 to 4 weeks for the State Controller’s Office to process and send the payment to the sub-grantee.

Slide 7: Budget Review Summary Form

As discussed in the previous slide, the budget forms are reviewed by CDE staff to ensure expenditures align with the program description, for accuracy of calculations, sufficient descriptions of resources or activities, allowable expenditures, proper use of object codes, and reasonableness of expenditures. If CDE staff identify concerns on the budget forms, then a Budget Review Summary Form will be prepared by CDE staff and sent to the sub-grantee describing the required revisions or additional information needed. The sub-grantee will have approximately seven days to make the required revisions to Forms 5 and 6 and return them to CDE. This process is time-sensitive and can delay the processing of the Quarter 1 payment. Sub-grantees are encouraged to respond quickly to the areas identified. If you have any questions about the budget concerns, please contact the CDE staff that sent you the information.

Slide 8: Payee Data Record

Each applicant was required to complete and submit a Payee Data Record with their PCSGP application. Although this is not a new requirement, it was new to the application submission process. Previously, we requested this form after the grant application was approved. We wanted to streamline the process and get as much information up front as possible. The Payee Data Record is required for payments to be made to all non-governmental entities. The PCSGP cannot be funded for an approved applicant without the Payee Data Record being on file. This must be on file prior to disbursement of PCSGP funds. The 8 to 10 week processing time frame stems on the correctness of the information provided on the Payee Data Record. Critical information on the Payee Data Record includes the correct name of the Charter School, the address of the Charter School, and the Authorized Payee Representative’s Name all must match what is on file with the Secretary of State’s Office. If any of these entries are not correct, it will delay the processing of the Grant Award Notification (GAN) and the initial payment of the grant. If your information changes, you must notify CDE staff of the changes. Your funding may be sent to the incorrect address if you have moved from a temporary facility to your permanent school site and you have not notified CDE staff.

Slide 9: Grant Award Notification (GAN)

The Grant Award Notification is the official award document sent to the sub-grantee (primary applicant indicated on the PCSGP application) after the sub-grantee’s PCSGP application has an approved Budget. This slide depicts a sample GAN.  The GAN document shows the initial grant award amount, grant starting and end dates, grant payment fiscal years, and important award narrative on both the front and the back of the GAN document.  The GAN must be reviewed in its entirety, signed by the sub-grantee, and returned to CDE to initiate the payment process. Remember, a copy of the signed GAN must be maintained by the sub-grantee.

Slide 10: Supplement versus Supplant

As a federally funded program, the PCSGP is provided to supplement not supplant funding for a charter school. The funds from PCSGP are required to be expended on resources or activities that will enhance the program provided by the charter school. PCSGP funding may not be used to pay for existing levels of service funded from any other source, such as State or local resources, which is considered to be supplanting. All PCSGP funds must be used to support activities and programs described in the PCSGP approved application and Work Plan.

Slide 11:  GAN Received by CDE

The receipt of the GAN from the sub-grantee by CDE staff will trigger the grant cycle for the charter school.  Applicants awarded PCSGP funds must satisfy periodic reporting and accountability requirements throughout the term of the sub-grant. These requirements address: (A) program accountability; (B) fiscal reporting requirements; (C) performance reporting; (D) comprehensive annual reports; (E) annual budget; (F) monitoring; and (G) program evaluation.

Slides 12 and 13:  Program Accountability

Each identified sub-grantee is responsible for carrying out its responsibilities in accordance with ESEA Title V Part B sections 5201–5211, available at the following location; US Department of Education, Subpart 1, Charter School Programs External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg62.html] and its approved sub-grant application and work plan. Sub-grantees must also file periodic reports with the CDE to report on the use of grant funds or the progress of proposed sub-grant activities.

Slide 14: Fiscal Reporting Requirements

Sub-grantees must submit quarterly expenditure reports to the CDE for the duration of their sub-grant award. The sub-grantee is responsible for ensuring that reports are accurate, complete, and submitted on time.

Slide 15 and 16: Budget Reporting – Quarterly Expenditure Report (QER)

Each sub-grantee is required to submit a Quarterly Expenditure Report (QER). These forms will take the place of the on-line Quarterly Benchmark Report (QBR) process that was utilized in previous budget years. The sub-grantee is responsible for ensuring that all reports are accurate, complete, and submitted on time.

QERs are posted on the CDE PCSGP Web page (see reference slide at the end of this presentation) to report expenditures for each quarter and cumulative for the entire grant year. The QER due dates are reflected on the QER Instructions page. Submission instructions are outlined on each QER form.

Slide 17: Budget Reporting – Annual Progress Report (APR)

In addition to the QER, each sub-grantee will be required to submit an Annual Progress Report (APR) that includes the Annual Progress Report Questionnaire and the Work Plan Status report. The APR will also include a narrative section identifying percent complete of each of the Work Plan Objectives and any changes that have occurred to the Program Plan. Along with the APR forms, you will need to submit the school’s Work Plan reflecting the percentage completion of the Objectives within each Work Plan element. CDE will provide more details and direction on the Annual Progress Report in a subsequent technical assistance Webinar. For those sub-grantees that have experienced submitting their annual expenditure reporting using the on-line Comprehensive Phase Report system, known as the CPR, in the past, this APR reporting system will take the place of the on-line CPR system.

Slide 18:  Monitoring

The CDE will monitor sub-grantees by reviewing and approving quarterly and/or annual monitoring reports, and the CDE may conduct site visits. All information in monitoring reports is subject to verification. If selected as part of a site visit sample, applicants must agree to site visits by CDE staff. The site visit is intended to validate information provided in fiscal and program reports and gather more detailed information on implementation efforts and challenges.

The CDE may require additional information from the sub-grantee, verify information with the authorizing agency, require the submission of additional documentation including but not limited to invoices, receipts, and personnel time. Prior to a site visit, the sub-grantee may be required to submit additional relevant information that will allow the CDE to conduct a useful, efficient, and effective visit. The CDE may require electronic submission of documents instead of hardcopy submission.

CDE staff will verify the contents of documentation submitted. The sub-grantee will be asked to revise their report when non-allowable expenses are found, the report is not comprehensible, or there are unexplained discrepancies between the proposed use of grant funds, as provided in the annual budget, and actual expenditures found in the submitted documentation.

Slide 19: External Review

A rigorous process of review by a third party external reviewer, not affiliated with the charter school’s authorizing entity, or any member of the charter school’s governing board, faculty, or staff, is required of all sub-grantees’ schools one month prior to the end of the grant period. A copy of the report must be submitted to the CDE and a copy must be kept on file at the school site.

If a sub-grantee fails to conduct the external review before the end of the grant period or if any items in the review are less than satisfactory, the CDE may invoice the sub-grantee for a base amount of 10 percent of the total sub-grant award, up to the total amount of the Implementation Year 2 funds.

Slide 20 and 21: References

These are several links to the online guidance and reference documents. If you have questions regarding the PCSGP, please contact CDE program staff for technical assistance by e-mail at PCSGP-APPS@cde.ca.gov or by phone: (916) 322-6029. Thank you for attending this webinar today.

Questions: PCSGP General | PCSGPGeneral@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6029 
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