The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) opened grant applications for the upcoming year on March 1, 2018, marking the earliest time ever that Arizona schools could apply for grants. The flood of early applications has demonstrated how popular the new practice has been with traditional districts and charters.
“We have been working over the past year to overhaul and streamline the Department’s internal grants management practices,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “The goal is to allocate grant money to schools as soon as possible. The heavy lifting and hard work performed by my finance, grants and program area staff appears to be paying off.”
Since the application window opened, 345 applications have been initiated, including more than 17 percent of the entitlement grants available for this year. The Department is now well on its way to achieving the goal of schools receiving their grant allocations before the start of the new school year in July. This change in the grants process was created to ensure that schools did not receive their grant allocations after the beginning of the school year, which had been common practice in previous years.
“It was simply unacceptable to have schools waiting until after the school year had started to receive grant funds,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Schools need to know the extent of their funding before the school year has started so they can budget their finances accordingly. Schools already have enough financial concerns on their plate without external factors complicating their processes any further.”
Under the leadership of Superintendent Douglas, ADE has been working diligently to ease any procedural burdens on Arizona’s public schools. Opening the grant funding applications in March will not only help get grant money to schools earlier, but it will also streamline the application process, create a consistent schedule for opening funding applications and awarding grant funds, as well as provide districts and charters with more proactive planning opportunities.