Funds are available through the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program for the purpose of expanding the ABC program to children who qualify under ABC guidelines as established in the ABC rules and regulations. As required by Act 1132 of 1997, grantees receiving funding through ABC must document a local match of 40% of the total program cost. ABC funds are available to support a maximum of 60% of the total program cost.
This Request for Proposal (RFP) encourages the development and expansion of early childhood education programs, designed to provide positive, nurturing experiences essential to helping educationally deprived children, ages birth to five, develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. ABC programs should reflect coordination with the educational strategies and principles on which the Smart Start Initiative is based.
Total ABC grant funds available specific to this RFP shall not exceed $350,000.00 for all programs. It is anticipated that six - eight new programs will be funded. Two areas have been designated by the State Board of Education to ensure continuation of ABC services in specific communities: Earle (Crittenden County) $75,000.00 available and Lonoke (Lonoke County) $88,000.00 available.
The attached RFP is available for Local Education Agencies (LEA) or school districts only. Priority will be placed in school districts that are academically distressed, have a high percentage of children receiving free/reduced meals, and have no other preschool programs in place. The proposed preschool program may be a center-based program or a home-based program. An LEA or school district may propose a collaborative program with a community based/non-profit child care program in the community, but the school district must provide verification of their support for the program and a specific memorandum of agreement for the community-based/non-profit program to make the application and serve as lead agency.
Proposals must be received in the Division office by 4:30 PM, Friday, September 24, 1999. Faxed copies will not be accepted.
Recommendations for funding will be presented to the Arkansas State Board of Education at their November meeting. Notification to grantees will follow.
To obtain an ABC Informational packet (ABC Rules and Regulations, Quality Approval packet and Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework) call the contact listed above.