The following questions were gathered during the 2021/22 K12 SWP - Bidders' Conference Webinar and through Helpdesk requests over the past months.

Updated 9/30/2021

1. Given the addition of the positive consideration section, please clarify the maximum score being 110 for a new applicant with a new program or pathway.
In an effort to encourage applicants who have not applied in the past rounds and to also encourage existing applicants to develop new CTE pathways/programs, these incentive points are being given.

2. Would a consortium application comprised of middle and charters schools who have never received K12 SWP funds as a Lead or K–12 Partner Agency, receive positive consideration points if the consortium fiscal lead has received prior K12SWP funds?
Yes, because the application will include a new applicant, then the application will receive the positive consideration points. 

3. If we are currently a lead LEA for the 2020-2021 K12 SWP award, are we eligible to apply for an additional award as a lead LEA under the 2021-2022 RFA?
Yes, you are eligible to apply as the lead LEA under the 2021-2022 RFA, but will not be eligible for New LEA positive consideration points. If the application introduces programs that create new pathways, the application will be eligible for those positive consideration points.

4. Can a Charter School network that has three high schools that fall under the network, qualify for the Positive Consideration points if only one of the high schools is a previous awardee of K12 SWP funds? Would the other 2 high schools be considered “new applicants”?
Yes, the 2 new high schools on the application are considered new and would qualify for the additional points.

5. If an LEA was included as a partner school in a previous round but did not receive funding directly (only services), are they considered a new applicant for the Positive Considerations?
Yes, you are considered a new applicant if you are requesting funds this round.

6. Can a new CTE program be introduced by an existing applicant and qualify for the Positive Consideration points? 
Yes. As long as it aligns in partnership with a Community College/District and must be in a High-Wage Sector.

7. How is the 10 points for new programs fair to existing applicants?
This has no impact on existing applicants. In an effort to encourage applicants who have not applied in the past rounds and to also encourage existing applicants to develop new CTE pathways/programs, these incentive points are being given.  

8. Is the language specific to these new “Positive Considerations” included in the legislation? How were the 2 new “Positive Considerations” identified? 
Yes, Positive Considerations are included in the legislation. The Chancellor’s Office developed the two positive considerations through an iterative process with the field. After each round, the Chancellor’s Office requested and received feedback from the Selection Committees and all applicants, and these two considerations were highlighted in that feedback. 

9. Do the new pathways have to be new to the LEA or can they be new to a specific site?
“New” can be new to the school and/or district, but must align in partnership with a Community College/District and must be in a high-wage sector.

1. Please clarify what grade levels are eligible to apply for funds?  Specifically are funds for middle school students (Grades 6-8) eligible?
K12 Strong Workforce Program grant funds can only be used to improve, expand, or develop new CTE pathways/programs for grades 7-12. If a middle school that serves grades 6-8 would like to apply, they will need to identify and ensure that K12 SWP funds will only go to CTE pathways/programs that are serving students in grades 7-8.

2. Can Transitional Age Youth (TAY) students (18-24) be served in addition to the <18 age students as long as the % of <18 students is greater than that of TAY youth?
Yes, TAY students may be served if they are 18 and younger and in grades 7-12.

3. Can funds be used for TK-12? 
K12 Strong Workforce Program funds can only be used to improve, expand, or develop new CTE pathways/programs for grades 7-12. 

1. If the SWP funds are used to provide services, supplies/equipment, teachers, and professional development to our K-12 partners, will this count as “funds” given to those partners?   Or, is it necessary to allocate them actual dollars from the grant?  Is this a new requirement? 
If the Partner Agencies ADA is going to be used in the overall ADA total on the application, then the Lead LEA is required to allocate the budgeted funds to the Partner Agency.

2. If an LEA was a partner agency in a prior year, but did not receive K12 SWP funds (only services), should it still identify as a past partner agency in the Pathway Identification section?
No, if your LEA was not awarded funds in previous rounds, you are not required to identify as a Partner Agency in the Pathway Identification section.

3. Are Collaborative Partners eligible to receive funds?
Collaborative Partners can only receive services and not funding. Collaborative Partners include businesses and industry organizations, workforce development agencies, government offices, and philanthropies, among others. Only Partner Agencies who’s ADA was used in the application are eligible to receive K12 SWP funds.

1. Can we use K12 SWP funds to lease space for one of our pathway programs?
The legislation establishing the K-12 SWP specifically calls our investments in CTE buildings and infrastructure: 

  • 88830 (c) The K–12 Selection Committee shall also give positive consideration to programs to the extent they do any of the following: 
  • (2) Make significant investments in career technical education infrastructure, equipment, and facilities.  

So yes, you may pay for a lease with the following provisions:

  • If the leased space is to be used for purposes other than serving the students and programs that are the focus of the grant, the charge to the grant should be proportional to the use of the facility by the grant supported programs.    
  • Given that the K12 SWP funds are to be used to build capacity, rather than sustain on-going programs, it would be appropriate in your application to address whether the program would continue to use the leased space after the grant has ended, and if so, how the costs of the lease would be covered. 

2. We're including some field trips in our grant proposal budget, and I want to make sure I'm listing the driver cost under the correct object code. Would that be 2000 for classified staff or 5000 for other services? 
5000 is the correct Object Code for this expense.

3. In the first 3 rounds of K12 SWP, equipment purchases of over $5,000 required approval from the Regional Consortium.  Round 3 RFA reads, “(purchases of) equipment with a value higher $5,000 must obtain prior approval before purchase from the Regional Consortia”.  There is no similar language around prior approval or any approval needed for these capital outlay purchases in Round 4.  The assumption is that approval is not needed for equipment purchases.  Will you please clarify or confirm this? 
If the value is over $5,000, then prior approval is still required.   

1. Will the Assurances page that is now required to be signed by participating districts/charters be available for digital signature(s)? 
Yes, Digital Signature wills be allowed.

2. Can you tell us what the statement of assurances from LEAs should look like? Is it agreeing to the general assurances on page 29 of the RFP? Or would it look more like a letter of support that outlines agency roles and responsibilities, as we have included in previous grant rounds?
A template for the Statement of Assurances can be downloaded on the K12 SWP Request for Application page or in the NOVA System. This template should be added to the Lead LEAs letterhead and uploaded into the NOVA system under the Supporting Documents tab. As a requirement of this grant, LEAs will certify in the NOVA System that they are attesting to the same Assurances under the Pathway Identification tab. 

3. On page 30, Supporting Documentation, it does not state that letters of commitment from business partners or the local regional consortia are required. It also says that documents other than those listed will not be reviewed. Will you please confirm that we do not need to include these letters of commitment?   
Letters of commitment from business partners and/or local regional consortia are not required. If your application will include Partner Agencies where ADA is being used in the applications ADA total, then a Statement of Assurance will need to be signed by both the Lead and the Partner Agency. This document template can be found on the K12 SWP - Request for Application page and will need to added to the Lead Agencies letterhead.

1. We need some clarification regarding the allowable indirect cost rate for the K-12 Strong Workforce Program grant (Resource Code 6388).  All three rounds of approved applications for our organization have shown our LEA’s Approved Rate under Indirect Cost, and when we are completing our quarterly reporting we are using our LEA’s Approved Rate as well, however according to SACS Query on CDE’s website the allowable rate is to be “4% or LEA Approved Rate, whichever is smaller” and our rate is larger. Can we please get some clarification as to which Indirect Cost Rate we should be using for this grant?  
The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office approved a maximum Indirect Cost rate of 4% and is the allowable rate for the term of the LEAs K12 Strong Workforce Program grant. 

2.Is that 4% of all direct expenditures may be claimed for indirect costs, like we do for community college SWP (Local)?  OR, is it only 4% of certain types of direct expenditures, following CDE rules. We need clarification on the rules to follow for the 4% indirect costs, all expenditures, or only certain expenditures?
The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office approved a maximum Indirect Cost rate of 4% and is the allowable rate for the term of the LEAs K12 Strong Workforce Program grant.

1. Can districts use funds they are allocating as match to an active CTE facilities grant, as match for the K12SWP application in that same CTE pathway?
No, this is not an allowable form of Match.

2. Can CARES ACT funds be used as Match?  
CARES Act II Funds may be used as Match. 

3. Can the cost of student internships paid by another entity be used as a match? 
Yes, this an acceptable form of match. 

4. Does all match funding have to be goal-coded 3800?
No, you will need to align the match with the appropriate Object Code.

5. Can an applicant propose to use CARES Act ESSER funds as match?
Yes, as long as the match is within the defined scope of Cares Act ESSER.

6. Why is the requirement for a 2:1 LEA match when the Strong Workforce Program does not require a match from the Community Colleges?
This requirement is in legislation and we do not have the authority to change that, per Education Code, Sections 88828, (c)(1)(A)(B).

7. What is in-kind match?
In-kind match can be classified as non-monetary donations, staff time, facilities, and use of equipment. In-kind match is not allowed per the legislation for this program.

8. Has there been any advancement in conversations relating to match from the Community Colleges? Some applicants are able to get match from their Community College(s) while other applicants are not able to get match from their Community College(s).
LEAs are encouraged to have planning conversations with their local Community College partners to obtain match for these grants. The ability to provide SWP match dollars to an SWP K12 proposal is a local decision. Therefore, LEAs are encouraged to establish partnerships in advance of funding cycles to have the ability to access SWP dollars.

9. Which school year does the match need to come from?
Match funds need to come from the same year as the K12 SWP funding.     

1. Starting on page 11 and then repeating throughout the document, the statement is made that all LEAs must submit data through CAL-PASS.  Page 14 states that if an ROCP is submitting the grant, "The ROCP needs to be the Lead Agency on the application". ROCPs are unable to submit to CAL-PASS.  There is no language in the RFA addressing the need to exclude ROCPs from having an MOU with CAL-PASS as stated on page 22.  The assurance that is required to be signed also does not address the inability for ROCPs to be registered in CAL-PASS. 
Unduplicated student data is reported to CAL-PASS by partnering school districts.  ROCP data would be duplicating those numbers as they are the same students.
How should ROCPs proceed without being penalized since they are unable to access the system being required by the RFA?

If the lead LEA is an ROCP on an application, they will be asked in the Lead & Partner Agencies section of the NOVA System to identify which LEAs will be submitting your institution's data to Cal-PASS Plus. No data will be duplicated.

2. If an ROP creates an application with their partner districts do they just look at the total ADA of the LEA’s on an application?  The LEA's don’t have to give a percentage to the ROP like they have to in CTEIG correct?  Or do they? 
The total ADA of the LEAs is populated into the NOVA application.

1. Is the split along applicants ADA new this year?
No. These funding distributions were used in previous rounds as well.

2. School District XYZ identifies equity issues affecting LatinX females. Regional Plan and LMI identify the need for a pipeline of employees trained in emergency response. District designs pathway to establish competitive emergency response program for LatinX females and receives K12SWP funding.  Recruiting LatinX females is one of the activities listed in the application.  Is the district required to limit spending K12SWP pathway recruiting $ to the recruitment of LatinX females?
Yes, if the intent and the request for those dollars was to target LatinX Females for a Competitive Emergency Response Program, then the dollars could only be allocated for those activities.

3. Page 25 in Section II, Application Format and Instruction, (D) 6(a) says the following for the Problem Statement (#4): Use data to identify equity gaps of how student subgroups (e.g., race, gender, socioeconomics) access, experience opportunities, and complete high school course work that are aligned to STEM and high-potential CTE programs at disproportionate rates. Specifically, include evidence from demographic, enrollment, and completion data to substantiate the targeted student population to be served. This is the only mention of STEM in the application and it seems out of place.  Please define “STEM” in context of the K12 SWP work and explain what evidence/data would be necessary in the Problem Statement regarding alignment to STEM.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math - provide evidence of students who are designated CTE that may be enrolled in stem courses.  Data that we will accept include enrollment, demographic and completers.

4. How can countywide support and services be captured in a grant if it is serving the districts and not necessarily within a certain pathway nor within any one district? I see in NOVA you are required to select CDE pathways that the application is writing to.
The data should be extrapolated through the districts database for those targeted pathways.

5. A new charter school is planning on opening in the fall of 2022.  The school is built around the CTE Sector of the Construction and Building Trades and has dual enrollment agreements in place with local community colleges. Given that it won't have students at the time of the application can it still apply for SWP funding?
Unfortunately, no. If the school will not have students at the time of the application, then there would be no ADA to determine the funding band that the school would qualify for.

6. On the Bidder’s Conference FAQ, #2 under Eligibility reads: Can a new CTE program be introduced by an existing applicant and qualify for the Positive Consideration points? Yes. As long as it aligns in partnership with a Community College/District and must be in a High-Wage Sector. And General Questions, #2 reads: Do the new pathways have to be new to the LEA or can they be new to a specific site? “New” can be new to the school and/or district, but must align in partnership with a Community College/District and must be in a high-wage sector.  The intent of SWP is to “prepare students for high-wage employment” and the objectives include developing and implementing pathways that “identify and close equity gaps by improving access to and completion of high-skill/high-wage CTE opportunities”.  However, is it a requirement to build new pathways only in “high-wage sectors”?  This is not clear in the RFA and appears for the first time in the bidder’s conference Q&A.  If it is now a requirement, will you please define “high-wage sector”?
No, it is not a requirement to only build pathways in high wage sectors, however applicants are to align their pathways with the community college region priority.  If you choose an area outside your region's priority sector, if efforts or partnerships have already begun, you should provide evidence for growth in that sector.  Use your advisory information or other labor market information to justify your investment idea.  The labor market data should show ow an increase in a pathway can improve the unemployment rate, and lead students from secondary to post-secondary.

7. Pg. 34 of the RFA says “the K12 grant recipients must submit the required end-of-the-year files to CDE by November 1, immediately following the fiscal year of which data are being reported.”  It goes on to say “grant recipients must also notify the region’s K14 TAP that data has been reported by the due date.”  Is this referring to CALPADS?  Please also clarify if this is a separate requirement than the CalPASS Plus due dates provided on Table 9, pg. 35.
This is referring to data that will be reported into Cal-PASS Plus.

8. Does the ADA consider District or Site Numbers?
NOVA calculates the ADA of the LEA applying. Under legislation those LEAs can consist of Districts, Regional Occupation Center or Program (ROC/P), Charter Schools, or County Offices of Education (COE).

9. Do we have to wait until Spring/Fall 2022 to create the new pathways or are pathways new this fall fundable for their second semester? 
The performance period for the Round 4 K12 Strong Workforce Program begins in January 2022 and these grant funds cannot be allocated for an activity until the performance period begins.

10. If we plan on working on all 4 strategies, do we just list one, or can we list all 4?
Yes, you may list all 4 strategies.

11. When we enter the strategies, do we put the strategies we are using the funds for, or the strategies for our program in the 2021-22 school year? For example, if we are adding a pathway, but we are using other funds for that, should we mention that? 
You are not required to list the pathway if you are using other funds. You are encouraged to share how the K12 Strong Workforce Program is leveraging other resources. 

12. During the presentation, it was mentioned that quarterly reporting was going to be required, but in the RFA it is stated that 5 Progress and Expenditure Reports via the NOVA system, 3 Annual Course Data Reports via Cal-PASS Plus, and 1 Final Expenditure and Outcome Report via the NOVA system would be required?
The slides did not reflect the new reporting deadlines. Progress and Expenditure reporting will be on a bi-annual timeline.