QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Non-Abbott School District
Early Childhood Program Aid (ECPA)
2002-2003 Operational Plans
November 9, 2001

Q. The 2002-2003 ECPA allocations are not available yet. How do I complete the plan without these numbers?

A. Please use your current year (2001-2002) allocation as the basis for projecting your needs and activities in the 2002-2003 plan. When your actual 2002-2003 allocation is announced, you will submit amendments of your plan and budget to your county superintendent, reflecting the new information.

Q. How many sets of forms do I need to complete?

A. Please complete one Cover Page, Enrollment Projection (Part I), and Statement of Assurances for your entire submission. For the Personnel Detail (Part II), Program and Component Activity Form (Part III), and Budget Statement Form (Part V), you should submit one set of these forms for each age group and program length (half-day vs. full-day).

Q. How do I plan for a mixed-age setting?

A. Complete a set of the age-specific forms (Parts II, III, and V) for your mixed-age settings or sites. Make a note at the top of these forms that they pertain to a mixed-age setting or site.

Q. Is the five-year operational plan mentioned on Page 2 still applicable?

A. No. It was mentioned by mistake. The five-year plan that was required in the past expires in the 2001-2002 school year. Beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, districts will submit one-year operational plans.

Q. Should I justify my costs?

A. Yes. It is in your best interest to justify your costs, especially for any expenses that may appear unusually high, or otherwise out of the ordinary. This will minimize the need for the department to contact districts when questions arise about budgeted items in the plan. Space has been provided in the Personnel Detail (Part II), and Program and Component Activity Forms (Part III) for districts to include narrative explaining program and personnel expenses.

Q. May I supplement the department’s suggested methodology for calculating the universe of eligible children?

A. Yes. The department’s suggested methodology does not take into account children in nonpublic schools, and it will result in an undercount, especially in districts with high numbers of nonpublic school students. If you have ready access to such data, you should supplement the department’s suggested methodology with such data to obtain more accurate counts.

Q. Do I have to list every site in the district, regardless of whether the site receives ECPA funds, under item 4 on page 9?

A. No. Include only those sites – in-district and/or community provider – that will operate an early childhood education program under ECPA in the 2002-2003 school year.

Q. Can I allocate all of my ECPA funds for preschool and kindergarten personnel expenses?

A. Some districts may choose to use their entire ECPA allocation for salaries and benefits. This is permissible if districts use other resources, such as local funds, to pay for the other costs associated with operating the required early childhood education program. Such districts must still complete the Program and Component Activity Forms (Part III) to describe the program in the form of objectives, activities, and evaluation measures.

What salary figures should I use if our teachers union is still negotiating its contract with the district?

Use your current contract to complete the plan. When next year’s contract is finalized, submit an amendment to your plan and budget to your county superintendent.

Q. When should I prorate personnel expenses?

A. You should prorate personnel expenses when an employee’s salary and benefits are being paid in part by ECPA, and that employee performs duties that are unrelated to implementing the ECPA-funded early childhood education program. Prorate the employee’s salary and benefits by the proportion of time spent on ECPA-related activities.

Q. What is a "Community-Based Child Care Center?"

A. In Tables 2A and 2B, "Community-Based Child Care Centers" are those DHS-licensed centers that districts contract with to provide the ECPA-funded early childhood education program. Do not include children in non-contracted centers in this line. Children served by local providers without a district contract would be listed in Tables 2A and 2B under "Not Enrolled in Any of the Above," and in Table 3 under the appropriate line.

Q. How do I fill in the salaries and benefits in the Personnel Detail (Part II) and the "Major ECPA Costs" column in the Program and Component Activity Forms (Part III), if I use a contracted community provider?

A. Since the costs associated with serving children through a contracted community provider are wrapped into a negotiated rate per child, these costs cannot be broken out in Parts II and III. Simply note "Community Provider" in the appropriate column in these forms. Districts using community providers, however, must still include objectives, activities, and evaluation measures in their plans, as they are still required to demonstrate how they will meet the five required components of the ECPA program. Districts should work with their contracted community providers to complete the plan and develop commonly agreed upon objectives, activities and evaluation measures.

Q. May I use ECPA funds to serve children in grades 1-3?

A. If a district is able to meet all the ECPA requirements associated with providing a half-day preschool program to four-year-olds and a full-day kindergarten program to five-year-olds, the district may use remaining funds to serve grades 1-3. If the district chooses to do so, it must submit a separate Budget Statement Form (Part V) detailing the expenses for grades 1-3, and attach a narrative statement describing in detail how the district intends to spend its excess funds.

Q. In the Budget Statement Form (Part V), what do I put under "Amount transferred to other funds?"

A. Please ignore this line item. It is no longer applicable to ECPA.

Q. How does the Department of Education define equipment?

A. Any one item priced at $2,000 or more is considered equipment.

Q. What happens to my plan after I submit it?

A. Your county education specialist will review your plan for basic completeness before the formal review process commences. If there are any missing pages or forms, you will be notified and asked to provide the missing information as soon as possible. Completed plans will then undergo a formal review by county education specialists and staff members from the Division of Early Childhood Education. County superintendents will be responsible for plan approvals. If a plan requires additional information, changes, or clarification after the formal review, your county office will work with you to address those issues and approve the plan. Amendments to the plan and budget, such as revisions to reflect the actual 2002-2003 allocations, will be submitted to the county superintendent for approval.

Q. Who can I contact if I have any questions about the plan?

A. Please contact your county education specialist if you have any questions about the plan.