On March 1, 2007, the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) released the 2007-2008 Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) Grant Application. Through the ABC program, the DCCECE encourages the development of early childhood education programs to help educationally deprived children develop intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally in order to be prepared for kindergarten. The program is funded under Act 212 of 1991, Act 1132 of 1997,and Act 49 of 2003, and applicable legislation from the 85th General Assembly.
While the 86th General Assembly has not approved appropriation for ABC funding at this time, the Governorís Office has requested an additional $40 million in new funding for the program. In order to prepare for this possibility, DCCECE will begin soliciting grant applications for the next school year.
The application may be downloaded from the ABC website at www.arkansas.gov/childcare/abcpro.html. If problems occur downloading the application, call the ABC office at 501-682-9699. The application comes available as an Excel spreadsheet and must be completed using a computer. Applications must be E-MAILED back to email@example.com no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 2, 2007. If the application is hand-delivered, it must be in electronic form on a CD-ROM.
Applications for new and expansion programs will be scored competitively using an established matrix. A copy of the matrix may also be downloaded from the website. In order to be eligible for funding, an application must achieve a minimum score of 80 points (out of 100). Once applications have been scored by early childhood professionals, funding shall be awarded according to the priority areas established by Act 49 of 2003. Areas with school districts in academic distress, containing schools in school improvement or in which more than 75% of 4th grade students scored below proficient on benchmark exams, will receive first priority for funding. After priority areas have been funded, other areas will be funded on the basis of need. For more information, contact Paul Lazenby, Associate Director, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education at 501-682-4836 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DCCECE will be conducting required training sessions on preparing a budget using the financial guidelines. All training sessions will be held in the 1st Floor Conference Rooms at the Department of Health and Human Services, 700 Main Street, Little Rock. Trainings are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and should be finished no later than 3:00 p.m. on the following days: March 1, 6, 12, 19 and 22.
To register for these trainings, send an e-mail to Jennifer Spriggs in the ABC office at email@example.com. In the e-mail, include first and second choice of dates for attending the training, as well as the district name. Due to space, attendees are limited to two (2) per district, preferably one (1). Attendees should bring budget forms, a pencil, and calculator.
THE ISSUANCE OF THE ARKANSAS BETTER CHANCE GRANT APPLICATION DOES NOT IMPLY AN AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS. FUNDING FOR THE 2007-2008 ACADEMIC YEAR IS CONTINGENT UPON LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION AND APPROVAL OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.