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Technology Lending Program Grant

Frequently Asked Questions


All questions related to the Technology Lending Program Grant process should be sent to tlpg@region10.org.

 

Questions will be compiled and responses posted on a weekly basis throughout the grant application period. Latest updates will be at the top of each section.

 

 

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Completing the SAS Forms   Latest Update: 7-27-12

On page 3 of 21 of the TLPG application, I would like clarification on #2 under the Program-Specific Provisions and Assurances section.  The section reads:  The applicant assures that it will provide equitable access to lending technology and residential access to the Internet for all students, including economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. My question is:  Does providing residential access to the internet for all students refer to:  A) all students in our district, B) all students at the campus(es) applying for this grant, or C) all students receiving the Technology Lending Program Grant? 
The key word in this sentence is equitable – it is not intended to imply that you must provide internet service for all students, but that if you do provide internet service you do so equitably. It is entirely reasonable to recognize that grant funds will not be sufficient to serve all students within a district or within participating campuses. You are being asked to assure that the process for selecting those students who will participate is equitable, and that those who do participate are treated equitably.

 

The General and Fiscal Guidelines state that "All schedules must be complete and included in the application" (page 5). What is the appropriate completion process for schedules that are not applicable, such as schedule #4 Request for Amendment? Should those pages still be submitted blank or deleted from the submission?
Those pages/schedules that are not applicable should be left blank. The consistency in pagination will be helpful to the reviewers; however, there will be no penalty for not including the schedules relating to amending the application.

 

We currently have a lending agreement in place for grades 7-12.  Can we attach a copy of that agreement to satisfy Schedule #17, Program Requirement 8? 
Yes

 

I do not see schedule #7 in the SAS for the TLPG. Where can we download this schedule?
Schedule #7 has been omitted from the application because personnel costs are not an allowable cost for these grants.

 

In Part 1: Applicant Information, a field requests "Vendor ID #." Is this the district's 11-digit Texas ID number?
Yes. It is also sometimes referred to as the district�s Tax ID number.

 

Digital Content   Latest Update: 7-9-12

Does all the curriculum have to be digital for that subject?
See the definition from the Texas Education Code in part 2 of the requirements as outlined below.

 

Do dual credit online courses for English and History count as adoption of digital material?
See the definition from the Texas Education Code in part 2 of the requirements as outlined below.

 

We have adopted (insert name of vendor/program here) does this meet the eligibility requirement?
See the three parts of the eligibility requirement outlined below. 1) Adopted; 2) Access/Delivery mode; and 3) Foundational Subject Area. If the digital instructional content adequately addresses each of these the eligibility requirement would be met.


When the eligibility requirements state must have adopted digital instructional materials does that mean through EMAT or may the district have acquired materials through local sources?
EMAT would certainly be a primary source for digital instructional materials, but it would not be the exclusive source. The district/open enrollment charter school may have acquired materials via other local sources.

 

How is digital content defined?


There are three parts of this eligibility requirement that must be considered
:

 

  1. 1.  Adopted - the applicant must either already be using or must be planning to use the digital instructional materials during the 2012-13 school year.
  2. 2.  Digital Materials - As defined in the Texas Education Code (TEC 31.002) The term includes ... supplementary materials....computer software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, on-line services, or an electronic medium or other means of conveying information to the student or otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic means, including open-source instructional material.
  3. 3.  Foundational Subject Area - English Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

 

Districts and open-enrollment charter schools who meet all three parts of this requirement are eligible to apply. Meeting this eligibility standard does not guarantee that a grant will be awarded.

 

Internet Access   Latest Update: 7-17-12

Would purchasing Smart Phones with internet access but no phone capability work for providing Internet Access to students?
This may be a means for providing Internet access if the device adequately provides access to the digital content.

 

"The school district/open enrollment charter school may provide internet access for educational use to the homes of students where there is no existing internet access."

Does this mean we can still apply for the grant even though the school does not provide internet to student homes? 
It depends upon whether Internet access is needed for the students to access the digital content as adopted. If Internet access is needed to access the digital content, it follows that the student checking out a device would need access to the Internet.

 

Will students have to be responsible for their own internet service fees?
If Internet access is needed to access the digital content, the school district/open enrollment charter school will cover the associated costs. This is an allowable expenditure of grant funds.

 

The fourth paragraph on page 14 of the Program Guidelines states in sentence #2 that if we use a local ISP the school must pay. Can you clarify what �residential internet access� is and who pays?
Residential Internet Access means that student can access the internet from the student�s residence. A local ISP is one means of providing Internet access if such access is necessary to fully take advantage of the device and there is not already Internet access in the student�s residence. The school district/open enrollment charter school will cover the associated costs. This is an allowable expenditure of grant funds.

 

May we purchase 3G or 4G enabled devices instead of providing residential internet access?
Yes, this would be a viable option in many cases for providing internet access to a student at his/her place of residence. The district/open enrollment charter school would be responsible for the cost of a data plan if needed.

 

For student home computer use would the expense of an air card be covered under the grant?
Yes, this would be a viable option in many cases for providing internet access to a student at his/her place of residence.

 

Do we have to offer internet to all students if we offer to any?
Not necessarily � �districts and open enrollment charter schools may provide Internet access to the student�s place of residence� provided there is not already Internet access in the student�s residence� (Program Guidelines p.10). The lending policy should ensure that students in similar circumstances are treated equitably.

 

As part of the grant we want to provide an Internet connection in homes, through a local provider, or with 3G service on the device.  How do we meet expenditure deadlines if service providers require monthly payments?
For purposes of this grant, a contractual obligation to provide internet service to the homes of students for the remainder of the grant period shall be considered "expended" (ProgramGuidelines, p.4)


Do you have to provide internet for each laptop for the entire school year?  Is appropriation of TLPG funds for home internet access a requirement of the grant?
While the provision of Internet access is not required for all grantees, it certainly may be appropriate for the student to fully realize the benefit of having the device provided. If Internet access is provided along with a device, it should be provided for the duration of the term that the device is checked out to the student.

 

The application for the TLPG says "you may offer internet access," however, in the Region 10 requirements it says "Applicants must describe a plan for providing Internet access to the homes of students as needed. Does that mean the provision of home Internet access is a requirement?
The key phrase is "as needed"; it is expected that applicants will describe how the devices will be used to access the digital content adopted by the district/open-enrollment charter school. If Internet access is needed to access the digital content, it follows that the student checking out a device would need access to the Internet.


Our entire campus is an 802.11N wireless network that is available to all students.  Does this setup meet the condition?
This setup may address the means by which digital content is accessed on the campus. It does not address home access to the Internet if it is needed.

 

Data   Latest Update: 6-25-12

We are new charter schools opening in the fall and do not have PEIMS data. However, we do meet SES requirements. Are we still eligible?
Yes, if the SES status can be appropriately documented and the other eligibility criteria are met. For this unique situation, TEA will consider evidence other than PEIMS data that the charter's enrollment consists of more than 40% low SES.

 

Eligibility   Latest Update: 7-27-12

What effect does Instructional Materials Allotment expenditures or lack thereof have on a district's eligibility to apply for this grant? We have been told by a third party that we cannot apply for this grant if we haven't as yet expended all of our IMA funds.
The percentage of IMA funds spent by the district has no bearing on eligibility to apply for this grant.

 

In 2011 our district was listed at 35.5% economically disadvantaged. However in 2012 that number will be close to 45%.  Is there a process for challenging or providing updated economically disadvantaged numbers?
Yes, if the SES status can be appropriately documented and the other eligibility criteria are met, updated SES figures may be used.

 

If our high school has adopted the digital instructional materials, can I write a grant for our junior high?
Yes. Funds may be used to target students in specific grade levels/feeder patterns or other subgroups in a way that meets local needs/goals.

 

If your district is less than 40% ED, but you have a campus that is greater, can that campus apply as your district?
No - all eligibility criteria apply at the district or charter level. An eligible district/open enrollment charter may select the campus(es) to include in the application.


Is the TLPG grant available to individual schools or only school districts and open-enrollment charters?
The school district and/or open-enrollment charter school must apply on behalf of individual campuses. The entire district must meet the low SES requirement.


Are private schools eligible?
No. Public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are eligible.


Can we target specific grade levels rather than specific campuses?
Yes. Funds may be used to target students in specific grade levels/feeder patterns or other subgroups in a way that meets local needs/goals.

 

Can an Education Service Center (ESC) serve as author and grant manager for several districts and for each district to receive the $50,000? Can the ESC serve as Fiscal Agent for the TLPG?
No - The mechanism by which an ESC can serve as a fiscal agent for school districts is a Shared Services Arrangement. The Program Guidelines clearly state that SSAs are not eligible to apply.

 

Use of Funds   Latest Update: 7-27-12

If selected, we would like to use a portion of the Grant to set up a lending program of tablet devices and wifi hotspots for economically disadvantaged students in our districts to check out and use at their residence, while using another portion to create an in-school lending program that would allow teachers to check out the same type of tablet devices for classroom use of digital content. Is this acceptable, or does the grant have to be utilized solely for economically disadvantaged students? 
This would be an acceptable use of grant funds.

 

I noticed that TLPG decisions are made in August. If awarded the TLPG, when might the district expect to receive the funds?
Grant funds are available on September 4. Funds will be reimbursed to the district as the combined expenditure/progress reports are filed.

 

Regarding the purchase of the devices – can a grantee use the TASB Buy Board and/or the Department of Information Resources (DIR) lists to purchase the technology to allow for the requirement of expending 75% of the grant funds by the November date – and still be within state procurement rules?
A grantee may use any appropriate method to comply with state and district procurement rules, including Buy Board, DIR, etc. Three months should be adequate time for this to occur; however exceptions to the 75% requirement may be made if necessary. Any exception must be approved in advance.

 

Can we purchase the bandwidth in advance of actual usage as the grant requires all the funds expended by February and we want students using these devices and bandwidth until the end of the grant (august)?
Yes; please note the language on page 4 of the Program Guidelines “For purposes of
this grant, a contractual obligation to provide internet service to the homes of students for the remainder of the grant period shall be considered ‘expended’.

 

May grant funds be used for teacher stipends?
Personnel costs are not an allowable cost for these grants.

 

If our district is launching a 1:1 technology initiative in the fall, can the TLPG funds be used to enhance the project by providing Internet access for economically disadvantaged students? In other words, the money would be used solely for wireless Internet service for students and will not be spent on devices. The devices would be provided through other funding resources.
The provision of Internet service for students is an allowable cost for these grants. A significant component of the application addresses how the district/open enrollment charter school coordinates with and/or leverages other funding sources and existing resources to maximize the benefit derived via grant funds.

 

We are looking at buying (insert device here). Are we allowed to purchase above the expected amount of students?
To plan for some variation is reasonable and would be an allowable expense as part of the procedure to manage and maintain the devices.

 

As part of the budget for lending can a device for teachers be included with grant money?
No � grant funds are to be used for student devices.

 

What about a charging station for the devices to store them during summer months?
This would be an allowable expense as part of the procedure to manage and maintain the devices.

 

If a district has purchased digital instructional materials, can the funds be used to purchase additional Professional Development to ensure proper implementation?
Professional Development is not an allowable cost using grant funds. If professional development in the use of digital content has not already occurred or is not ongoing, it must be provided within the first three months of the grant using non-grant funds.


Can funds be used to purchase digital content?
In general, no; the funds are intended to provide devices so that students may access the content that has already been adopted. In circumstances where the applicant has an existing practice of bundling adopted content with a device, the purchase would be allowable if consistent with the existing practice.


Can funds be used to purchase software?
Software that is bundled or imaged on the device and  necessary for the functional operation of the device would be an allowable use of grant funds.

 

There is a budget line for personnel but it states that you cannot use any of the funds for personnel?
Personnel costs are not allowed. The line item for personnel in the budget summary is grayed out; there is no schedule for 6100 costs.


We have a campus in which we have a one to one program, but so many of the students are economically disadvantaged that they cannot afford the minimal $75 fee (that covers the costs for damages, retrieval from theft, insurance, etc.). Could the grant funds be used to supplement their payment for the fee to prevent additional hardships?
Yes. This is an allowable cost as stated on page 11 of Program Guidelines.


Can a district use a lease program from a vendor rather than purchasing the electronic devices provided students?
This will be an allowable cost subject to meeting the requirements specified in the section Reasonable Costs, showing there are no costs incurred with this type of arrangement that create an additional cost. The cost should be comparable to a purchased device. Careful explanation should be provided on why this type of arrangement would better serve the districts fulfillment of the grants goals.

 

Technology Lending Agreement   Latest Update: 7-2-12

Can the required signature be a digital signature? Our parents do not physically sign our agreement.

A digital signature would be adequate as long as this process is consistent with existing district policies and procedures.