DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program; Eligibility, Application Process and Funding Level
[38 Pa.B. 619]
[Saturday, February 2, 2008]
The act of July 20, 2007 (P.L. 278, No. 45) amending the Public School Code of 1949 to add the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program, requires the Department of Education (Department) to publish both on its Internet web site and in the Pennsylvania Bulletin the process through which eligible providers may apply for grant funds, the criteria used to select approved providers for grant funds and the per-student funding levels of approved providers, by county.
The Department developed an application form, available on the Department's web site in its eGrants section of the web site. Interested eligible applicants were invited to attend any of seven bidders' conferences and nine teleconferences to receive informational and technical assistance on the program, its requirements, the application process and program implementation expectations.
To accomplish the goal of targeting PA Pre-K Counts funds to areas with the highest number or percentage of at-risk young children, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning used its Program Reach and County Risk Assessment data for Fiscal Year 2005-2006 to determine the approximate amount of the total appropriation for 2007-2008 that should be dispersed to each county. This Risk and Reach data compiled information on the number of children served and funding levels for early childhood programs supported by State and Federal investments and an analysis of educational and family risk factors for each county. This Risk and Reach data is available on the Department's web site at www.pde.state.pa.us/early_childhood/lib/early_childhood/ProgramReachCountyRiskAssessment_6.07_final.pdf.
Eligible PA Pre-K Counts providers were invited to submit a competitive proposal application that demonstrated the degree to which they proposed to increase high quality services to children age-eligible for the program, their capacity to target services to children most in need, their plans to work in partnership with other providers in the community, their capacity to undertake cooperative and collaborative planning with other agencies and programs serving young children, the degree to which they planned to incorporate the elements of high quality programming and the degree to which their budgets reflected a sound framework for program success. The previously listed factors served as the criteria for selecting approved providers. In addition, the Department gave priority in grant funding to approved providers serving the highest number of highest percentage of at-risk eligible students and attempted to ensure geographic dispersal of the available funds.
Grants were awarded on a per-child basis. A program offering a 2 1/2 instructional day for 180 days could provide justification for Pre-K Counts funding for up to $3,950 and a program providing 5 instructional hours for 180 days could go to $7,900. In this year, the participating providers were able to justify these amounts per child.
GERALD L. ZAHORCHAK, D. Ed.,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-183. Filed for public inspection February 1, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]
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