March 7, 2016
Catholic Education News

Inside This Issue
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ESSA Rulemaking Update

On Friday, the Department of Education released its list of negotiators for its first rulemaking panel on ESSA.

 Unfortunately, the Department decided against including our nominee to represent the non-government school community (though managed to include two representatives of big business!).

Let us hope the panel sticks to its topics ("supplement not supplant" and testing), which do not impact our students as much, and does not venture into other areas.

On a more cooperative note, the Department's Office of Non-Public Education had us, NCEA, CAPE, and a number of other groups in for a listening session about the new law.

My focus was on the ombudsman role - requesting the position not be biased, not be paid for out of our student's proportionate share, and be fully in place for the 2017-18 school year (if not earlier).

Again, I would encourage you to reach out to your state education agency and be proactive in helping them design the ombudsman role, select/hire an ombudsman, and begin using him or her as soon as possible.
Opportunity for Security Grants

On February 16, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) - quite the alphabet soup!

In plain English, the federal government is offering grants for security improvements at urban nonprofits (i.e., schools, churches, etc.). There's $20 million available in the program this year.

I've pulled out some of the most information to help you decide if this is something you should pursue:

Which cities are eligible?

What can be funded?
Buying and installing security equipment such as cameras, alarms, motion sensors, safety lighting, metal detectors, and x-ray belts.

What are the key dates?
  • To receive funding, your organization must have a "DUNS Number" from the federal government. It can take weeks to receive one and the number is required for your application. It is suggested you obtain a number by March 18. You can find more info here.
  • Applications must go through your state government, so the deadline varies by state. The deadline for the state to forward your application to FEMA is April 25.
  • FEMA will make selections by June 29 and start sending funds in September 2016.
Where can I find more information?
If you think your school is a good candidate for this grant, all of the documents can be found here - the NOFO has the most information. (N.B., I have been told the "Investment Justification" is the most important document of your application.)

Have a great week,