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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO.  50

 

POLICY CODE:   GFC

 

 

 

TO:                 Superintendents of Schools and

Technology Literacy Challenge Funds Grants Coordinators

 

FROM:            J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner

 

DATE:            February 25, 2002

 

RE:                 Technology Literacy Challenge Fund Grants

 

      On November 5, 2001, the Department of Education sent Informational Letter No. 32 inviting applications for Technology Literacy Challenge Fund Grants.  This was in anticipation of a final USDOE reauthorization/appropriation to the State of Maine for that purpose as indicated in Informational Letter No. 44 on April 5, 2000, and a memo from Heidi McGinley on May 25, 2001.

 

            Soon after the grants were submitted, received, and reviewed for completeness by the DOE, discussion began about the grant review process and the gathering of necessary data for submission of the State plan.  DOE also reviewed the federal grant award cycles and grant award cycles to local schools over the last several grant periods.

 

            After review of the grant activity, discussion with the DOE grant staff and the USDOE, we have determined that in fact, the final USDOE/TLCF grant award was made to the State of Maine in January, 2001 and that award was made to local school districts in March, 2001 in the amount of $1.7 million for activity during both the 2000-01 and the current 2001-02 school year.  There is no additional year of funding under the original TLCF grant program, as correspondence from the Department over the last year and a half, and as the application package you received with Informational Letter No. 32, November 5, 2001, anticipated.

 

            Therefore, we regret to inform you that there are no new federal funds to fund the full grant applications submitted December 20, 2001.  There is, however, a balance in the 2001-2002 TLCF account of $377, 714.13, which will now be awarded as soon as possible. 

 

            After considerable deliberation based on the reduced amount of money available, we have decided that the balance of the TLCF Grant money will be awarded as follows:

 

We will keep the grant review and award process intact.  We will review and score the applications using the same evaluation criteria and process that was described in the application materials you received from us and will award grants up to $20,000 per district based on the amount requested in the application.

 

We will recruit peer reviewers for the grant applications submitted and will begin the review process immediately.

 

We will award grant awards to the successful applicants by April 26, 2002.  Naturally, there will be fewer awards than originally anticipated.

 

            These additional grant funds, as well as any local balances you might have, must be spent by September 30, 2002.

                                                                                                           

Looking ahead to the next five years under the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title II-D Educational Technology State Grants, there will be a federal appropriation awarded to states for technology grants to local schools.  The award to the State of Maine will be $3,075,000 for FY 2002.  The federal money will be awarded to states based on a formula of 50% by competitive grants based on poverty levels and 50% by entitlements based on poverty levels.  It is anticipated that these funds will be awarded to states, including Maine, in July, 2002.  The grant application process for school districts under this grant will involve new regulations and guidelines, and will require a new application process.

 

            DOE staff, including Kim Quinn, the Coordinator of Learning Technology, will be attending information and training conferences sponsored by the USDOE in February 2002, on new federal grant programs for Learning Technology.  I can assure you that it will be a DOE priority to inform you of, and involve you in, the technology grant planning and training process, to put a state grant process in place and to award the funds to local districts as soon as funding is available, which is sometime after July 2002.

 

            I apologize for the inconvenience this process has caused you, and I commend you for the differences you have made in improving the learning opportunities of Maine’s children by integrating technology into the classroom.