Additional Guidance for Local Solutions Grants Programs is now available.
The Commission is pleased to announce its intent to fund 41 LEAS for the Local Solutions to the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Grant. This funding will support LEAs to implement local solutions to recruit, prepare, develop support systems for, and retain special education teachers. Funding letters will be sent to grant recipients by early January 2019.
Additional Questions and Answers for the Local Solutions Grant RFP are now available
This document provides the responses to all questions received by September 11, 2018.
A school district, county office of education, charter school, regional occupational center or program operated by a joint powers authority may apply for funding of up to a maximum of $20,000 per teacher participating in the Local Solutions Grant Program to implement locally-identified solutions that address a local need for special education teachers. Grant program funding may be used for local efforts to recruit, prepare, develop support systems for, and retain special education teachers that include, but are not limited to, teacher service scholarships, student debt payment, living stipends for newly credentialed teachers who earned an education specialist credential, recruitment of former special education or other teachers who may be interested in working as special education teachers, signing bonuses for newly credentialed teachers who earn an education specialist credential, service awards, mentors for existing teachers, professional learning communities, teacher career pathways or other solutions that address a local need for special education teachers. Proposals must be received by the Commission by 5 p.m. PDT on October 30, 2018.
California Budget Provides $50 Million for Local Solutions to the Shortage of Special Education Teachers
The 2018-19 state budget includes funding to support the recruitment, preparation, and support of new special education teachers. A total of $50 million is available for competitive grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs). The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (Commission) will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) in fall 2018. Applicants may apply for grant funding of up to $20,000 per teacher participating in the applicant’s Local Solutions grant program. The grants will fund recruitment and retention efforts for up to five years, from 2018-19 through June 30, 2023; all grant funds must be expended by grant recipients by June 30, 2026. The grant funds are intended to supplement and not supplant local efforts.
This advisory provides information for any Local Education Agency (LEA) that intends to submit a proposal in response to the RFP. Eligible LEAs are school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and regional occupational centers or programs operated by a joint powers authority. Charter school management organizations are not eligible applicants. The Local Solutions grants enabling legislation is provided in Appendix A of this advisory.
Potential applicants should also note that the authorizing legislation requires a 100% match by the grantee LEA for each grant dollar received. The match may be actual funds and/or an in-kind match. Teachers supported by this grant through a service scholarship, signing bonus, or student debt payment have a service obligation to teach for four years in the LEA that supported them in this program.
The grant funds may be used in a variety of ways that meet local LEA special education staffing needs and could include but are not limited to:
- Supporting the costs of identifying, recruiting, and preparing new special education teachers and/or preparation costs for credentialed teachers interested in becoming special education teachers
- Assisting newly credentialed special education teachers with student debt payment
- Supporting the preparation costs of classified personnel, such as special education aides, to become special education teachers
- Supporting the preparation costs of special education candidates to complete an integrated undergraduate program of preparation for an Education Specialist credential
- Providing signing bonuses for newly credentialed special education teachers
- Providing induction for special education teachers
- Providing living stipends for newly credentialed special education teachers
- Other approaches to meeting local staffing needs that would result in increasing the supply of credentialed special education teachers.
The above list of potential solutions is not prescriptive or comprehensive in nature, and applicants are not restricted to the potential solutions indicated in the list. Potential grantees are encouraged to research other evidence of innovative programs and practices designed to recruit, prepare, support and retain special education teachers that may be applicable to the applicant’s local context.
Potential applicants should also note that this will be a competitive grant process and only the highest scoring LEA applications will be funded.
For potential applicants who may be interested in partnering with an Education Specialist teacher preparation program as a local solution to meeting the needs for special education teachers, Appendix B provides a listing of Commission-approved Education Specialist teacher preparation programs. Entities offering an integrated undergraduate program for Education Specialist candidates are noted by an asterisk (*).
The Commission anticipates issuing the RFP on or around September 1, 2018. The RFP will be posted on the Commission’s website and will also be available via the Professional Services Division’s weekly e-News. Please click here to subscribe to the PSD e-News. In addition, the Commission plans to offer webinar opportunities for potential applicants regarding successful practices and approaches to addressing the needs for credentialed special education teachers. Information about the upcoming webinar opportunities will be made available on both the Commission’s website and in the PSD e-News.