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Competitive/Discretionary Grant Proposal Review Process

Policy TitleCompetitive/Discretionary Grant Proposal Review Process
Policy CategoryContracts and Grant (CNTR)
Policy IDCNTR-001
Policy Date1998-04-02
Previous Policy Dates09/04/1992, 12/04/1992

Formerly TCS-O-001

This policy was developed to assure the Board that all project proposals have been evaluated fairly and on merit without bias or favoritism and all approval criteria for selection have been followed.  The DPI will follow the policy when considering federal, state, or other funds available for use.

Definition:  Competitive projects are those projects for which the DPI or SBE solicits proposals from eligible applicants and which are evaluated against a set of approved criteria to determine the recommendations for funding.

All funding sources are covered by this definition.

Criteria for Competitive/Discretionary Projects.  All projects will be evaluated on the applicant's written response addressing the items outlined in Section I.  All proposals will go through the review process outlined in Section II.  Some projects may be subject to federal or state funding priorities, in which case review procedures will be altered accordingly.

Eligibility.  All applicants must be eligible according to requirements of law, regulations, policy and other directions provided by the funding source.  Only eligible applicants should respond to the RFP.  Applicants should clearly establish eligibility according to guidelines in the RFP.

SECTION I:          Applicant's Response to a Request for Proposals (RFP)

All eligible applicants will include the eight items outlined below in each proposal.                

  1. Objectives and Intended Outcome.  All objectives of the project must be stated in measurable terms that clearly establish time frames and expected outcomes. Describe how outcomes will benefit both students and teachers.
  2. Narrative Description.  Prepare a narrative description of the project.  Include all preliminary steps to implementation such as special training, designation of personnel and purchases. Provide a schedule of activities and the dates when each will be accomplished.  Include background research information used to formulate the proposal.  Also elaborate on ways in which the proposal is linked to the school system's total plan, as well
    as state priorities.  Conclude the narrative by stating ways the project can be continued or replicated after the funding period.
  3. Proposed Budget.  Present annotated budget information according to requirements in the RFP.  All locally prepared budgets must conform to the DPI chart of accounts.
  4. Community Involvement.  Describe how the project will involve the local community beyond the local school system.  Detail any anticipated participation of parents, citizens, or business.
  5. Statement of Need.  Cite data that supports need statement.  Also, use evidence of socioeconomic status of area, demographic data, and population statistics to support needs.
  6. Dissemination.  Describe how project information will be shared with other school systems throughout the state.  Include the methods that will be used to share best practices among school personnel.
  7. Local Evaluation and Procedures.  Describe local evaluation procedures and methods of evaluation for the project.  Time frames for completing local evaluations must be included.

SECTION II.       Application Review Process

Each application will be reviewed and compared to others through the process outlined below.


    Applicant's eligibility is determined.  Information is recorded on a cover sheet to reflect the presence of basic components:  proposal sections, applicant and partner signatures, and other essentials outlined in the RFP.
    1. The DPI appoints a review team of at least 3 persons who meet the following qualifications.
        • All familiar with subject areas
        • All impartial
        • RFP requirements will determine if team members are internal or external to DPI
    2. Each review team is assigned a specific number of applications to evaluate.  Each team member must use professional judgement in examining the proposals.  Division directors should specify components which
      are especially vital to consider in the review process, and may direct the review team to rate the proposal on its merit within each individual

    3. After all proposals are evaluated by individual team members, the entire review team discusses each proposal as a group and comes to a consensus on the final rating.  Each proposal shall be included in one of the five following quality bands.
        • Excellent
        • Strong
        • Average
        • Weak
        • Unacceptable

4.  After consensus, each review team shall prepare comments on each proposal to be used in the approval/rejection letters sent to the applicants.

5.  Each review team Chairperson will present findings to the division director.


Applications recommended for funding by the review team will be reviewed by a smaller team of reviewers (which may include the division director and review team chairpersons).  These reviewers will use the following criteria and will align applications with specific funding priorities.


    1. SBE/DPI Priorities.  The applicant's attention to agency priorities will be taken into consideration.
    2. Geographic Area Needs.  Needs will be considered in the various geographical areas of the state.  Attention will be given to appropriate statewide distribution of funds.
    3. Socioeconomic Needs.  The socioeconomic standing of each applicant will be taken into consideration.
    4. Number of Projects and Total Funding Received.  All projects and total amounts funded to each applicant during the current year and prior years will be compared with other applicants to ensure reasonable distribution of funds.
    5. Applicant's Prior Performance.  The applicant's prior and current performance in related areas will be examined to ensure a high probability of success.


Using evaluation forms from the review teams, the division director, the appropriate associate superintendent, chief technology officer and the state superintendent/deputy jointly determine final selections.


The division director will oversee the distribution of approval/rejection letters, create and maintain a file, and prepare materials to be presented to the State Board of Education.  Upon approval by the State Board of Education, approval/rejection letters will be prepared using comments listed during review team sessions.

SECTION III.      Evaluation/Review Results


    The division director (or program director) is responsible for ensuring that a file is available and maintained which contains information applicable to all sections of this policy.  Files will be open to public inspection.  All proposals submitted for consideration must be listed in alphabetical order in the file.  An asterisk should be placed on the left side of the folder of each project to be funded.  Ratings must be shown for each proposal by showing evaluation information and/or by grouping projects into quality bands such as excellent, strong, average, weak, and unacceptable.

    • A list of all project proposals submitted
    • The corresponding quality band for each acceptable proposal
    • Any information regarding weighting of categories
    • The list of recommended projects for funding
    • An assurance that the process has been followed without deviation

SECTION IV.      Assurances

The appropriate assistant superintendent will insure that all proposals have been evaluated fairly and on merit without bias or favoritism and that all approved criteria for selection has been followed.

SECTION V.       Exceptions

Any additional criteria, amended process, or further changes made to the above procedures must be approved by the deputy state superintendent.

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