How to Apply for the Latest Education Facilities Clearinghouse Grant

Campus and local law enforcement can help their school districts and institutions of higher education apply for this $1 million grant that is designed to help identify best practices in school facilities. Some of that funding can be used to improve campus safety.

The quality of a school’s environment is linked to its educational outcomes, according to mounting research. A well-designed school facility can lead to higher academic achievement and fewer inequities and safety issues. The Education Facilities Clearinghouse program is offering a $1 million competitive grant to identify best practices in school environment—running the gamut from planning to design to operation to maintenance.

The Education Facilities Clearinghouse (EFC) grant intends to highlight how school facilities can help reduce inequities in education, increase student achievement, and assist schools with facility retrofitting to improve security and student safety. In addition, the Clearinghouse hopes the grant will better align its work with the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program that aims to reduce environmental impacts and costs.

Educational Agencies, Universities, and Public Agencies Invited to Apply

State and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other public and private agencies, organizations and institutions are invited to apply. Campus and local law enforcement agencies are ideal application partners to help identify and improve safety issues within the school or university environment.

This is a cooperative agreement grant, meaning that the Department of Education will have substantial involvement with the grantee for the duration of the three-year project period and will ensure that the resources presented are supported by evidence and comprehensive in nature.

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The EFC grant has one absolute priority: to support the establishment of a clearinghouse to recognize the connection between the school facility and three areas: 1) academic instruction; 2) student and community well-being; and 3) school fiscal health. Using the best practices uncovered by the clearinghouse data, the Department of Education hopes to increase the capacity of states and districts to support long-term, positive changes and improvements to school facilities.

The Clearinghouse will help education stakeholders maximize the use of education facilities in order to close achievement gaps and turn around low-performing schools. In addition, the Department of Education hopes to better understand the links between school facilities and community health and safety. Cost-savings opportunities through procurement, energy efficiency and preventative maintenance will also be explored, as well as increasing the use of facilities and their respective outdoor spaces (e.g. school gardens and outdoor classrooms). Finally, the Department of Education strives to improve capacity to identify hazards through facility design to increase safety against natural disasters, intruders and more.

Applications Must Address These 4 Requirements

The Clearinghouse has established four requirements that must be addressed by the applicant:

  • Requirement 1 is the establishment and maintenance of a dedicated web site about the process of designing, planning, financing, procuring, constructing, operation and maintenance of the school facilities. Law enforcement agencies can provide content for the website relating to school safety issues and design.
  • Requirement 2 is the tracking, development and recording of best practices and resource materials related to proposed school facility activities. Law enforcement agencies can support the gathering of best practices by tracking successful programs and suggesting modifications to existing programs to improve safety and security of facilities and students.
  • Requirement 3 is conducting a minimum of two training programs per year for school leaders involved in the construction and maintenance of school facilities. Topics for training sessions must include information on school facility activities to improve the capacity of trainees to make quality decisions regarding safe, healthy, and high-performing facilities. As experts in minimizing safety risks, law enforcement agencies can lead training sessions to help local schools design buildings and programs that promote a safer environment.
  • Requirement 4 is providing on-site or online technical assistance to schools and districts related to school facility activities, including consultation to help address hazards and security concerns and suggestions for cost-effective measures to enhance school safety. Law enforcement agencies can offer consultation to local schools to identify and mitigate safety issues.

Apply by Aug. 12, 2013

The grant deadline is August 12, 2013, with an awardee announced in September.  The project period for this grant is 36 months, estimated to run from September 30, 2013 to September 30, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed based upon the quality of the Project Design (40 points), Project Services (30 points), Project Personnel (20 points), and Project Evaluation (10 points).

Dr. Paula Love is president of www.RFPMatch.com, a company that provides custom bid searches for security funding and other types of grant opportunities. She can be reached at paula@rfpmatch.com.

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Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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