PENNSYLVANIA PRE-K COUNTS REQUEST FOR APPLICATION ANNOUNCED-ACTION REQUIRED

  • Letter of Intent deadline: June 10, 2021, 3 pm
  • Application deadline: June 30,2021, 3 pm

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is announcing a competitive Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Application (RFA).

This RFA is intended to support providers in preparing to serve and enroll children by September 2021. The RFA is being released in May 2021 to give providers time to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and plan for implementing the program pending grant approval.

INTRODUCTION

Pennsylvania is committed to ensuring that all children begin school ready to learn and succeed in their schooling careers, as lifelong learners, and productive citizens. Research confirms what most parents already know: all children can tap into their innate potential to learn when they receive high-quality instruction that takes into consideration what is known about brain development and how young children learn. Early childhood education is a proven strategy that ensures a child’s readiness for school and school success.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts was established by Act 45 of 2007 (and amended in 2008 and 2010). Its purpose is to expand the number of children able to experience a pre-kindergarten program of high quality. The standards for the program ensure a high return on the investment made in preparing young children for school and will help close the achievement gap. Early education through Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, in the workforce, and in life.

Governor Wolf’s proposed 2021-22 state budget includes an additional $25 million for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts. With this expansion funding, the state will be able to increase the number of children served in high-quality pre-kindergarten.

RFA PROCESS

OCDEL will use a competitive application process to disperse available state expansion funding to select eligible grantees beginning in FY 2021-22.

The ceiling or limit on the potential number of slots that may be awarded to any applicant will depend upon a county’s unmet need percentages and the amount of funding available. Funding is contingent upon approval by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Grants are funded via state dollars and, therefore, carryover funds are not permitted. All grant dollars identified in this FY 2021-22 application must be encumbered or spent by June 30, 2022.

Pennsylvania continues to be committed to a mixed delivery system. As such, eligible applicants include existing Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grantees and new applicants from these five eligible entity categories:

  1. School districts;
  2. PDE Licensed nursery schools;
  3. Head Start grantees;
  4. Child care centers and group child care homes designated at Keystone STAR 3 or STAR 4; and
  5. A third-party entity applying for Pennsylvania Pre‐K Counts funding to administer the lead agency responsibilities for entities that are eligible to provide the classroom services under the categories listed above.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Eligible applicants must provide assurance that they operate in full compliance with Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance. Applicants should thoroughly review Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance prior to submission of a Letter of Intent to apply to ensure an understanding of the program requirements and expectations of compliance if an application is successful. The application review process will include evaluation of the extent to which the applicant demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute and Regulations.

LETTER OF INTENT

The Letter of Intent represents the applicant’s intent to apply for PA PKC funding and includes the legal name of the eligible agency that will apply, the AUN associated with the applying legal entity, preliminary information about requested funding, program model, provider type, and area to be served. Except for the legal entity and AUN, information submitted in the Letter of Intent may be modified in the final eGrants application.

Programs interested in applying must submit a fully completed Letter of Intent by 3 pm on June 10, 2021 to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov. Programs that do not submit a timely Letter of Intent will not be able to apply in the eGrants system. Late submissions will not be accepted. Those agencies submitting a fully complete Letter of Intent by the due date will be notified when the PA PKC application is open in eGrants.

PRE-APPLICATION WEBINAR AND SUBMISSION OF QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE APPLICATION PROCESS

A live pre-application webinar was held on May 17, 2021 via zoom. Please access the recording via YouTube to assist interested applicants in the completion of the application. The webinar will include information on the application process and program requirements.

All questions regarding this competitive RFA process should be directed to the Project Officer only. Inquiries should be sent to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov. To provide consistent messaging and an equitable application process, ONLY questions sent to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov, will be addressed. Questions and responses not already covered in either Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance or within the Application Guidance document will be included in an on-going Frequently Asked Questions document.

VENDOR NUMBER (SAP NUMBER) 

The supplied vendor number MUST align with the legal name and address provided in the application. A vendor number and account can be set up by registering at Vendor Number Registration. All agencies applying for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts (PKC) grants must be pre-registered. The Central Vendor Management Unit is a storage database. The Comptroller uses this account to store direct deposit information. If you have any questions about vendor numbers, please contact James Redd (jaredd@pa.gov, (717) 705-2910) or Brian Bell (bribell@pa.gov, (717) 346-0038) at OCDEL.

AUN NUMBER

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts applicants will need to supply a valid AUN number within the Letter of Intent. A Letter of Intent without a valid AUN that matches the legal name of the applying entity will not be accepted. To verify your AUN number or to check to see if you have one assigned to your agency, visit EDNA. If you are an Intermediate Unit, select Search for Intermediate Units. If you are not an Intermediate Unit, select Advanced Search, and search for your agency.

Applicants that are not already licensed by PDE and therefore do not have an AUN number should contact Brian Bell (bribell@pa.gov, (717) 346-0038) or James Redd (jaredd@pa.gov) at the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

MASTER PROVIDER INDEX NUMBER

The supplied Master Provider Index (MPI) number MUST align with the legal name and address provided in the application. All PA PKC applicants will need an MPI number if the application is approved. The number is requested as part of the application process to ensure timely contracting for successful applications. MPI numbers are used by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to identify legal entities and service locations that participate in any of its programs. As such, they are used in PELICAN as a common identifier for all OCDEL programs, including child care licensing, Early Intervention, PA PKC, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, and Keystone STARS. Legal entities are assigned a unique nine-digit MPI number. In addition, service locations are assigned a unique 13-digit MPI number, which is created by adding a four-digit extension to the nine-digit MPI of the legal entity. Legal entities and service providers currently participating in any of these programs should have an MPI number. Applicants that are not currently participating in any of these programs should contact the Early Learning Network (ELN) Help Desk at (877) 491-3818, option 2 and provide their Federal Tax ID to determine their MPI numbers. MPI numbers will not be provided without a Federal Tax ID number.

TAX ID NUMBER OR FEDERAL ID NUMBER

This is the number that an agency uses on its federal W-9 form. Applicants for PA PKC funds should consult with the person who handles tax, legal, or accounting matters for the agency to determine the federal ID number. Use the number that aligns with the legal name and address provided in this application. The correct number must be provided when requested to process an application. Failure to do so will result in significant delays in funding approved applicants. This number is often referred to as the “FEIN number” by OCDEL staff.

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