Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund (CENF)

CITYWIDE EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS FUND FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

CENF AWARD PROCESS

All award letters will be sent to schools and CMOs by Monday, June 4, 2018. To claim award amounts, please see the below information:

  • Every school regardless of whether you are subject to an audit must submit a signed affidavit on the school/CMO’s letterhead. The affidavit must be signed by the Business Manager or the Head of School and emailed to ExceptionalNeedsFund@opsb.us by June 15, 2018.
  • You will be notified by your award letter if your school was randomly selected to participate in an audit.
  • For any questions related to audit, or to track an award amount, please contact either Ms. Katherine Phelan (kphelan@opsb.us) or Mr. Tracy Tingstrom (ttingstrom@opsb.us).

2017-2018 CENF APPLICATION PORTAL IS NOW CLOSED

The CENF Application Portal will close Tuesday March 20, 2018 at 5pm. The portal has already closed for new CENF applications. The portal will remain open for HCS Round 1 and 2 Rollover Applications only until March 20 at 5pm.

2017-18 APPLICATION GUIDELINES

The Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund for Students with Disabilities (CENF) is a special purpose fund created through a partnership between the Recovery School District (RSD) and Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to help all public schools in New Orleans meet the needs of their students with IEPs, especially those who are not adequately funded through the state’s High Cost Services allocation (HCS). The primary goal in creating this fund is to ensure that all public schools in New Orleans receive sufficient funding to cover the costs associated with serving students with significant disabilities.

Schools: Click here to apply now! Please note the following application deadlines:

  • New CENF applications were due Friday, February 16, 2018. 
  • HCS Round 1 and 2 Rollover applications are due Tuesday March 20, 2018 at 5pm. 

Please access the below documents for assistance in completing your school’s application(s):
Click here for a detailed application guide.
Click here for a CENF application FAQ document.
Click here for samples of application inputs.

Please email Exceptionalneedsfund@opsb.us if you have any questions or encounter technical difficulties.

STUDENT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

In order for a student to qualify for funds, the following eligibility requirements must be met:

  • The student lives in New Orleans and is enrolled in a public school in Orleans Parish
  • The cost to educate and provide services to the student exceeds $23,470, and causes a negative financial impact on the budget of the school
  • All services and supports listed in the application are included in the student’s IEP, evaluation, health plan, and/or behavior plan
  • The school applied first to the state High Cost Services (HCS) allocation if the student met the eligibility requirements

ELIGIBLE COSTS

The Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund is not intended to replace any existing state, federal or local special education funds. These funds are student-specific and cannot be used to support other students. Initial per pupil allocations are capped at $100,000 annually. If additional funds remain after meeting all student needs, allocations above the student cap may be considered.

Eligible costs, as reflected in the student’s IEP, and ineligible costs include, but may not be limited to:

Eligible Not Eligible
•   One-to-one nursing services and  paraprofessional support

•   Special transportation and/or special transportation aide

•   Related services, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, etc.

•   Specialized equipment or training such as wheelchairs, assistive technology, or specialized equipment

•   Basic costs of the classroom, such as supplies, and routine transportation

•   Legal fees, court costs or other costs associated with a cause of action brought on behalf of a student with a disability to ensure a FAPE

•   Costs that otherwise would be reimbursed as medical assistance for a child with a disability under the State Medicaid program

APPLICATION PROCESS

Schools/LEAs should submit a full Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund application here for each eligible student as well as rollover applications for the state’s High Cost Services allocation.

  • new CENF application may be submitted for a student meeting the qualifications of one of the following:
  1. The student newly joined your school in 2017-18 and enrolled after the HCS application deadline passed and the student’s costs exceed $23,470, OR
  2. The student had a new evaluation/significantly revised IEP after the HCS application deadline passed and the student’s costs exceed $23,470, OR
  3. The student’s costs are above $23,470 but do not exceed the HCS threshold of $35,205.
  • An HCS rollover application may be submitted to fill the gap for students whose HCS application was approved but only partially funded by HCS.

Persons submitting and reviewing applications must take appropriate actions to ensure the confidentiality of any and all personally identifiable data, information, and records collected or submitted throughout the process.

***NEW THIS YEAR FOR HCS ROLLOVER APPLICANTS***

A complete application must be submitted for the total costs associated with a student, regardless of the amounts received from HCS. Because this year’s HCS applications may have limited the amounts some schools could claim, an eGMS checklist may not reflect all and/or the total costs associated with a student. As such, all HCS rollover applicants must submit a complete CENF application for all costs associated with a student, along with the student’s IEP and the eGMS checklist received from the State. This will allow calculation of the total cost of services for a student; we will then subtract the amount received from HCS so that the full CENF gap is considered.

***NEW THIS YEAR FOR ALL APPLICANTS***

STANDARDIZED COSTS

 To ease in the application and review process, some common costs have been standardized as follows:

Service Standardized Cost
Adapted Physical Education (APE) $75/hour

$1.25/minute

Occupational Therapy (OT)/Physical Therapy (PT)/Speech Therapy (ST)/Counselor/Social Worker $80/hour

$1.33/minute

New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program (NOTDP) (school with enrollment less than 250 students) $180/day
NOTDP (school with enrollment more than 250 students) $225/day
ReNEW Therapeutic Program (student served less than 2 weeks) $150/day
ReNEW Therapeutic Program (student served more than 2 weeks) $3,000/month
Special Education (SPED) Teacher Salary $60,000 (including benefits) (divided by the number of hours in the IEP and of students sharing)
Paraprofessional (Para) Salary $38,000 (including benefits) (divided by the number of hours in the IEP and of students sharing)
Bus/Van Transportation $65,000 (divided by the number of students sharing)

The application portal has been updated to reflect these changes. Depending on the type of service the student receives, the school/LEA will be prompted to enter either the number of minutes per week served (as reflected in the student’s IEP), along with the number of weeks per year served, and the number of students sharing the service, or simply the number of students sharing the service provided. The application will then automatically calculate costs. For example, if a student receives 3 hours of individualized PT per week for 30 weeks, the application will automatically calculate the PT costs for that student to be $7,182. As an additional example, if a bus/van is shared between 15 students, the application will automatically calculate the bus/van transportation cost for a single student to be $4,333.

Similarly, costs for SPED teachers and Paraprofessionals will also be automatically calculated in the portal. Because IEPs provide for services in minutes, the SPED/Para’s per minute salary will be automatically calculated when applicants enter the total number of weeks in their school year. The applicant will then enter the number of minutes per week the student is served (as reflected in the student’s IEP), along with the number of weeks per year served, and the number of students sharing the service. As such, given the above standardized cost for a SPED teacher, a student who is served the full 35 week school year for 1200 minutes per week with 4 other students sharing the SPED teacher is eligible to receive $8,000.00 in allowable cost for that SPED teacher’s services.

Schools/LEAs should also submit costs and documentation for those services that are not standardized above. For such costs, LEAs and schools must include a reasonable cost estimate for the materials, services, supports, and/or personnel necessary to provide a free appropriate education to the student. Please be as specific and descriptive as possible.

Costs for materials and services should be prorated according to the specific use of the student. (E.g. Three students share assistive technology throughout the school day. Cost of assistive technology should be divided by three to determine cost per student. If the student has his/her own assistive technology device that is not shared by other students, the total cost can be attributed to the student.)

Basic costs of the classroom, such as supplies and routine transportation, may be included in the application but are not eligible for reimbursement.

***NEW THIS YEAR FOR ALL APPLICANTS***

REVISED COSTS

A revised cost is the cost of a SPED teach or Para which substantially deviates from the above standardized costs of $60k and $38k benefits included respectively. A revised costs substantially deviates if it is $5k more or less per year that the standardized costs. If a Para or SPED teacher’s yearly salary substantially deviates from the standardized costs above (more than $65k or less than $55k benefits included for a SPED teacher; more than $43k or less than $33k benefits included for a Para), the school/LEA is required to report this revised cost in lieu of the standardized cost. As such, the first section in the student application section of the portal is for revised costs for SPED teacher and Para salaries only.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

For the purpose of meeting eligibility criteria, all materials, services, supports, and personnel listed in the application must be supported by the following documentation:

  • For a new CENF application, schools must submit the student’s IEP, evaluation, health plan, and/or behavior plan with the application.
  • For an HCS rollover application, schools must submit the student’s IEP, evaluation, health plan, and/or behavior plan AND the eGMS checklist page with the application to demonstrate a gap in HCS funding.
  • For both types of applications, schools must submit the SER jurisdiction page with the application to demonstrate enrollment and services at the school site.

MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENTS

Costs that otherwise would be reimbursed as medical assistance for a child with a disability under the State Medicaid program or for which the school is already receiving other revenues may be included in the application but are not eligible for reimbursement. We understand that it can be difficult to predict Medicaid reimbursement amounts. Please enter a best estimate in the final column below as appropriate. For additional information on estimating Medicaid reimbursements, click here.

ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR SCHOOLS IN OPSB’S LEA

For schools in OPSB’s LEA requiring assistance in completing your application, the Program Specialist assigned to your school is available to help.

OPSB has prepared an Exceptional Needs Fund Application Data spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet includes an Instructions tab, Expenses tab, and a Sample Application tab.  Please use this spreadsheet to collect data needed for the Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund for Students with Disabilities (CENF) and return your completed spreadsheet to shayla_guidry@opsb.us no later than January 31, 2018.

If you have questions and concerns, please contact Shayla Guidry Hilaire (shayla_guidry@opsb.us) as soon as possible.

 

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