Title I, ESSER, and School Safety grants are just a few of many grant opportunities that are available to schools. Some of these funds have become a bedrock to education funding, while others serve as incentive-based bonuses or perks that may not have been built into the budget. With such a wide variety of grant opportunities through all levels of government, tracking opportunities and/or compliance can become unmanageable for schools.
Identifying Available Grant Opportunities The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) aims to assist schools in utilizing grant dollars to strengthen education programs statewide. In this effort, they have a page dedicated to State and Federal Grant Programs. That information can be accessed here. If your school has not already done so, review the grants identified by the IDOE and earmark those that your school may be interested in applying for if they have not done so already.
Drafting Grant Proposal The grant writing process can be prescriptive. But when there is an opportunity for you to personalize your proposal and tell your story, you should consider the following: (1) know your audience; (2) clearly explain the issues that are challenging your students; (3) identify your goals and objectives; and (4) explain how you are going to evaluate and track your success with evidence for why you think your solution will work.
2023 Policy Efforts The upcoming 2023 legislative session will be highly impactful budget session to education. As a budget year, we can anticipate that there will be a lot of attention given to education funding – including funding changes to grants. For example:
Special Education Excess Costs (SEEC) Fund In April 2022, the IDOE sent out a memo to schools to remind them that SEEC funding is finite at $24,070,000 for each fiscal year and to further remind LEAs that they must exhaust all other funding resources prior to submitting an SEEC application. Then, in June 2022, IDOE issued another memo stating that both applications and vendor rates have had a significant increase and there were new restrictions due to that issue. With evidence that past funding was not sufficient and the current climate with the number of violent, aggressive and dysregulated young children on the rise, as is inflation, we anticipate that there could be a significant increase in the SEEC fund.
School Safety Grant News of these awards just came out last month, and we saw the Indiana Secured School Safety Board grant 425 requests and distribute nearly $23 million for school security. Tragically, the safety of our students and educators has become even more of a priority for school personnel, parents, and the entire community. For the 2023 legislative session, we anticipate an increase in the school safety grant and flexibility in permitted use of the funds.
What is the legal lesson from this briefing? It is easy to get overwhelmed when you consider all the potential funding available and all the compliance that would go along with that funding. However, staying informed and organized when it comes to receiving and spending grant funds can set you and your student’s apart as you implement innovative programs, design unique learning opportunities, and/or deploy safety solutions.
Navigating state and federal regulations can be challenging. For more information, contact the KGR Education Law and Public Policy team.