Application Questions

The PACSP Team is compiling a listing of all questions that we receive in relation to the application and providing the answers here so that all applicants can benefit from these answers. Please contact pacspgrant@pacharters.org with program and RFA questions, and pacspfinance@pacharters.org with fiscal and budget questions. After we answer your question, we will post it here anonymously.

This page last updated: March 14, 2021

For attachment 3 – Founding Qual- what if the founding coalition is no longer there? Or we don’t have qualifications/resumes on hand?

This was meant more for new schools. We don’t expect that from existing schools.

 

For attachment 12 – Facility – Intent to lease or purchase as well as supporting documents providing details of facility – what are you looking for?  Information on existing building or the project they are completing to which they are receiving a loan for? In that case, what documents would suffice?

The type of evidence provided will depend on the applicant and proposed project. For some cases, it may not be applicable, so a description of plans and not applicable requirement is fine. If a school is looking to lease or purchase to support their proposed project please include enough evidence to provide the Peer Review Team with a clear picture of the schools’ plans.

 

For attachment 13 – Grants – does this include any grants ex: ESSER I, PCCD, Titles etc? Or other grants you have to apply for and get approval for in order to receive (unlike Titles, ESSER etc.)? In that case there are other grants they are interested in but none that are “secure” yet.  What documents are you looking for?

 

For attachment 13, any kind of documentation to show the other grant funding sources you currently receive (federal, state, foundation, etc.) would be great. This will give us and the PRT a picture of the grant funding sources besides district tuition revenues.

 

For attachment 17 – Charter- I am assuming their approved Charter…correct?

Yes!

For attachment 18 – CommEngagement – what would suffice?  Flyers? Snapshot of FB page? P & F Engagement Policy?

Yes, all of these sound great! This is intended as back up for the project specific narratives. The project specific narrative asks for ‘ A description of how the eligible applicant will support the use of effective parent, family, and community engagement strategies to operate each charter school that will receive funding under the SE’s program. Artifacts could be information about your Parent/Teacher organization, info from your website, the opt-eds you had your parents do, anything like that.

For attachment 20 – Student Data – what documents are you looking for?  Current student enrollment data?

A disaggregated breakdown of student performance by race, gender, and special populations at the school.

For attachment 23 – IntFinancials- what documents suffice?  General ledger for last 3 years? Approved budget for each year?

We are looking for monthly financials that are provided to the Board. Understanding that 3 years worth of monthly financials can be difficult to compile, the end of year internal financials will suffice (ex. June) for each of the last three years.

For attachment 21 and 22 – Can we upload each year individually or does it have to be all years in one document?

It would probably work best as one document. If you are unable to upload that way, let us know and we can instruct you on uploading separately. We would prefer one document to make it easier on our peer reviewers.

For applying for the expansion, which budget template does the school complete A or B?

It depends on when the expansion is set to occur. See chart:

 

In order to be exact with numbers/cost for the budget items they have reached out to vendors for quotes and costs of items, however because this is such a short time period to complete the application, the School has not heard back from some vendors they reached out to.  Can the budget be estimated based on school’s research and then later adjusted based on actual cost/vendor usage and quotes?

Yes, we do expect that there will be estimated cost. If awarded, we will sit down again and go over the budget more carefully and review.

For expansion applicants please elaborate what you require for Attachment number 5 Complete Staffing Chart.

Please submit your currently existing staff as well as staff to support your proposed expansion.

For Attachment number 16 School Organizational Chart, who do we include on this document?

Please refer to Project Specific Narrative Rubric, PS3 for more details on who should be included on the organizational chart.

How do I know what GL code to use in the School Project Budget Template if my budgeted expenditure does not necessarily fit into one of the categories listed in the “Definitions” tab?

We used the PDE chart of accounts for developing the GL code structure however did not use all available function and object codes. We recommend to find a GL code based on our “Definitions” tab that is a best fit for what you are looking to enter into the “Detailed Budget Worksheet” tab.  An applicant is unable to create a new GL code to be entered into the “Detailed Budget Worksheet” tab. You can add a row utilizing the insert button function, however you will be required to select from one of our prepopulated GL codes. Please feel free to reach out to pacspgrant@pacharters.org or pacspfinance@pacharters.org if you have further questions.

The grant is asking for evidence of any other grants we have in progress other than Title I (I’m thinking ESSER, CARES, etc.). Can you elaborate on the type of evidence you need so I can include that documentation in our application? Note: This question refers to Attachment 13, seen on page 46 of 2021 Master RFA.

We are looking for listings/additional evidence that shows the grant funding sources you currently receive (federal, state, foundation, etc.). This will give us a picture of the applicant’s grant funding sources besides district tuition revenues.

The Quality Standards Workbook identifies a litany of “Evidence” in support of a charter school’s alignment with each quality standard; however, the Required Attachment Checklist (pages 44-46) of the grant guidance document does not allow for most of this evidence to be included to support the narratives. Can we add additional documentation to the grant documents folder in FedReporting.com?

Yes, please feel free to add additional documentation. If you have any troubles uploading please email admin@fedreporting.com.

If our school submitted an application for less than the full amount it was eligible for would it negatively impact the review and rating of our application (negatively impact our chances to receive an award)?

The applications are being reviewed by the independent peer review team. You can see all of the rubrics that we will provide the Peer Review Team, and there is no direction to score applications according to need. With that being said, the reviewers will see your budget and the PACSP team cannot speak to how they will evaluate this issue. We’ve done all we can to remove any potential conflict of interest, and to make sure the applications are scored by at least 5 evaluators.

Are architectural fees an allowable costs?

Please page 26 of our allowable cost guide: activities for which an architect and/or engineer must be utilized is not allowable.

 

What are some creative funding uses we may consider?

We have heard of a few creative, yet allowable uses of funding for construction. One of which is click and lock flooring, completely movable if you ever decide to move. Another examples is to bolt playground equipment to the ground instead of cementing, again completely movable if necessary.

 

I noticed that the school’s governing body is supposed to vote to submit this Letter of Intent, and it is to be signed by the Board president. We discussed this grant last week at Board of Trustees meeting. Does the letter of intent require a public vote with minutes in order to go forward?

As long as you have discussed it and agreed to move forward, we will just need the signature of the board president. We do not need further documentation of a vote.

 

Where can I find more information on Qualified Opportunity Zones?

More information regarding qualified opportunity zones and a map tool can be found at U.S. Dept of Treasury Opportunity Zones Resources.

 

Can staff be funded with PACSP subgrant funds?

Yes, however there are conditions involved. Please refer to PACSP’s Allowable Cost Guide, pages 15-17 and 24.

 

Where do I provide responses for meeting my expected enrollment targets?

Applicants can provide responses within both the Project Specific Narrative and Competitive Preference Priority Plan.

 

If we are awaiting our charter approval and not able to apply for the grant in this round, will we still be able to create a FedReporting account to start preparing our application for the next round of grant applications?

No, please do not submit a request unless you are eligible and applying for year 1. You can plan offline for upcoming rounds.

 

What is the timeline for year 2?

We will be running the subgrant competitions annually in February. Timeline will be similar from year to year.

 

If not awarded for Year 1, are we encouraged to re-apply in Year 2?

Why not! If you still meet the eligibility criteria you can consider re-applying.

 

Are e-signatures allowed for the certification/assurances document, given remote work conditions due to COVID?

Yes, e-signatures in the form of DocuSign, Adobe Fill and Sign, and formats similar to these examples will be accepted.

 

Other than the Excel document and the items that need to be PDF for signatures, are we uploading the Word documents or printing to PDFs and then uploading?

The School Project Budget spreadsheet must be uploaded in Microsoft Excel Macro format. The narrative responses can be submitted in word of PDF format. Please see the Application Webinar Slides page 19 for more detail.

 

Letter of Intent – we should upload then Submit for Review?

All documents that are required to be uploaded must be attached in the grant documents folder in FedReporting.com. There is no “submit for review button” in this window, the applicant is required to click on the edit document icon to attach their file.

 

How do I enter phone numbers in the FedReporting.com application?

Any field that asks for phone/cell/fax numbers is set as a numeric field. Do not include dashes, only type in the numbers.

 

When submitting the Executive Summary, Application Narrative, Project Specific Narrative, Competitive Preference Priority Plan, and Track Record . . . do you want these all as one PDF document, with appropriate headings and appropriately numbered pages?  What do you want the naming convention to be?
-or-
Do you want each as a separate PDF document uploaded in to FedReporting.com?  If so, what do you want the naming conventions to be for each narrative?

Please upload separately and see the grant documents folder in FedReporting.com for naming. Below is a snapshot of the first couple items in the grant documents folder. They are labeled in same fashion as the RFA, so attach them by clicking on the edit document icon on the far right.

 

The Track Record Rubric makes reference to evidence supportive of each of the 21 items to be reviewed, yet the Required Attachments Checklist does not include options for many of the artifacts that would be required to “provide evidence” of compliance for most of these items.
For example, Track Record Rubric #5 states that a School’s admission practices comply with applicable Federal and State laws, including part B of the individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and local civil rights laws, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as applicable.

We used the Philadelphia School Districts performance framework to create ours. You can find a listing of Track Record suggested evidence documents here. 

 

TR15. Debt Service Coverage Ratio: Whether a school can meet its debt obligations in the coming year, calculated as net income divided by annual principal, interest and lease payments. A school meets the standard if the debt ratio is at least 1.1. A school does not meet standard if the debt ratio is less than 1.05
The ratio appears as it is because there are no annual principal, interest and lease payments to divide by. We do have “lease payments” but they are not capital leases and they are already expensed  in the “net Income” number.
How should we respond to this particular requirement in our application?

DSCR should only be a relevant metric for applicants that have long-term debt service (i.e., mortgage or bond on their school building). For almost all applicants, they won’t have a DSCR as they’re simply in a 10-year lease with a landlord.

So, for your case, you would disregard that requirement and then let the PRT know that they should disregard this number unless the school has borrowed funds to purchase its school facility.

 

The Required Attachments Checklist #23 requires internal financials up to the last three years.  Our school produces monthly internal financial statements.  Do we need to upload monthly financial statements for 36 months or do you want the internal June 30th financials for three years?

June 30th financials for 3 years is great.

 

The Required Attachments Checklist #19 requires Transportation policies and procedures.  Our charter school does not transport students as that is the responsibility of each student’s home district of residence.  What specifically do you want uploaded in this particular situation?

This attachment was meant as a backup to project specific narrative 6 ‘ A description of how the school will work with school districts to ensure students receive transportation consistent with the requirements of 24 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 17-1726-A.’ If your school does not provide any transportation, please let us know that. If your school does provide any transportation such as for SPED, after school programs, etc, we would like to see the policy and procedures for those occasions.

 

The Required Attachments Checklist #18 requires Artifacts for parent, family and community engagement.  What are the requirements associated with this grant opportunity?

This is intended as back up for the project specific narratives. The project specific narrative asks for ‘ A description of how the eligible applicant will support the use of effective parent, family, and community engagement strategies to operate each charter school that will receive funding under the SE’s program. Artifacts could be information about your Parent/Teacher organization, info from your website, the opt-eds you had your parents do, anything like that.

 

The Required Attachments Checklist #17 requires Approved charter school petition from a PA authorizer.  We are not sure what you mean by “Approved charter school petition”.  Do you mean approved charter?

Yes, we were using fed words, we are referring to a charter.

 

The Required Attachments Checklist #3 requires Qualifications and Resumes of Founding Coalition.  We are an existing/operating charter school.  Do you mean our Founding Coalition from back in 2001 when we began the pursuit of our original charter?   Many of those individuals are no longer involved and getting accurate resumes will be challenging.

This is geared towards new charters, we will make that clearer.

 

ESEA §4310(6) requires grant applications be provided to our charter authorizer and they “sign off” stating they received it.  Are we expected to complete the grant application, print the entire application with attachments, provide to the chartering district, and get their signature before March 18th?

The guidelines do require that the application be provided to the authorizer and signed off on. With that being said, all we need for our records is page 41.

 

What happens if the district refuses to cooperate and sign off on confirmation of receipt?  I anticipate this being the case for many charter schools?

Please let us know if this happens and we will address on a case by case basis.

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