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School Improvement RFP of the Week (1): Preschool Services for Los Angeles and Adjacent Counties

RFPs identify business opportunities, but they are also a neglected primary source for research on k-12 policy and operations. From Monday's issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: State Preschool Program Re-Bid Due August 25 (Jul 11), California Department of Education

Their Description: The California Department of Education (CDE), Child Development Division (CDD) announces the availability of part day State Preschool (CPRE) program funds to provide direct services for an existing CPRE contract for children age from three to five....

The Budget Act of 2007 appropriated over $2.5 billion for the California Department of Education’s (CDE), Child Development Programs in a mix of 77 percent state funds and 23 percent federal funds. Over 1,500 contracts are dispersed through approximately 786 public and private agencies statewide to support and provide services to almost 500,000 children.....

Eligible Applicants.... Any agency willing to provide part day CPRE direct services in order to immediately take over a current contract.... Approximately $1,623,036 is available for distribution....

CDE contracts are agreements between an agency and the CDE... These... are cost reimbursement contracts based on service earnings.... The Maximum Reimbursable Amount (MRA)... will be negotiated based on the agency’s proposed service level and budget....Contractors may subcontract all or part of their contracts to another center-based agency.... Contractors must submit monthly reports containing detailed family and child information via the internet.... Contractors must submit fiscal and service data reports....

The contractor may be allowed... up to
15 percent of the award amount, to be designated as a “Start-up Allowance” .... portion of the contract funding that may be earned without serving the required enrollment during the first year of enrollment....

After the initial contract period, the contractor’s eligibility for continued funding each subsequent year is contingent upon compliance with the following:

• Program requirements and FT&C (Funding Terms & Conditions)
• Evidence of satisfactory contract performance
• Compliance with all relevant state and applicable federal reporting requirements
• Approval by the CDE....

The CDD recognizes the following as characteristics of high-quality child care and development environments:

• Settings are safe, provide small group sizes, and offer adult-to-child ratios that encourage the best opportunities for development and have low staff turnover.
• Teachers or caregivers have experience and are trained in early childhood development;

• Learning materials and teaching styles are age-appropriate and respectful of children’s cultural and ethnic heritages;

• Learning opportunities promote children’s success in school.

The CDD measures each contractor’s child care and development program performance qualitatively and quantitatively.... Each child care and development contractor will be required to... submit an Agency Annual Report. The self-evaluation utilizes internal instruments and indicators.... Contractors must submit an annual financial and compliance audit to the CDE.... The CDE will conduct program reviews periodically using the appropriate CPM/CMR Instruments....

My Thoughts:
New contracting concepts inevitably build on existing contractual models. Consider this as one starting point for the terms of school contracting. The payment process seems designed to make life hard for contractors. The very notion of such a contract is bound to upset teachers unions. Might there be a better way?

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