Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund (CENF)


2016 – 2017 Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund for Students with Disabilities (CENF)

All award letters will be sent to schools and CMOs by Monday, April 24, 2017. For reimbursements, please see the below information:

  • A webinar regarding the 16-17 CENF reimbursement process was held on Friday, April 28, 2017. If you were unable to attend the webinar, please click here to review the presentation prior to beginning the reimbursement process.
  • If you have not registered as a vendor with OPSB, nor received an award last year, please perform the following:
  • All schools must complete a Banking Information Request Form
  • Each school is permitted only one (1) Reimbursement Claim, which must include a Budget Detail Document & Supporting Documents
  • Each school 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.
  • Full reimbursement packages are due June 2, 2017 and must be uploaded the school’s designated Dropbox folder. Dropbox folder links should be found in school award letters.
    • If you are unable to locate the link to your school’s Dropbox folder link, please email OPSB Citywide Services Specialist, Katie Moore, at [email protected].
  • Questions pertaining to reimbursements can be either directed to the CENF Team at [email protected] or OPSB Assistant Controller, Katherine Phelan, at [email protected].


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 are due Friday, January 13, 2017. Schools must submit a new CENF application on or before Friday, January 13th for any student for whom the school did not apply to HCS.
  • Due to the fact that HCS allocations are still pending at the Louisiana Department of Education, the window for schools to submit HCS Rollover Applications will be extended an additional two weeks.
  • Please direct any application questions to [email protected].

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 [email protected] if you have any questions or encounter technical difficulties.


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
  • The cost to educate and provide services to the student exceeds $22,226, 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


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 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



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.

  • A 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 2016-17 and enrolled after the HCS application deadline passed and the student’s costs exceed $22,226, OR
  2. The student had a new evaluation/significantly revised IEP after the HCS application deadline passed and the student’s costs exceed $22,226, OR
  3. The student’s costs are above $22,226 but do not exceed the HCS threshold of $33,339.
  • An HCS rollover application may be submitted to fill the gap for students whose HCS application was approved but only partially funded by HCS.

For each student for which they are applying, LEAs and schools must include a reasonable cost estimate for the materials, services, supports, and/or personnel. The total cost per student must be greater than $22,226 for a full school year. 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.

The application should include an itemized list of the materials, services, and personnel necessary to provide a free appropriate education to the student. Please be as specific and descriptive as possible.

The total amount required to serve the student must be at least $22,226.

Costs for related service providers should be estimated based on the amount of service hours on the student’s IEP. (E.g. Student receives occupational therapy for 30 minutes twice a week. Cost for occupational therapy for the student is estimated to be $200 per week or $7,500 for the school year.)

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. Please enter the base cost of educating a student in the final row below.

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.

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 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.


For OPSB schools 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 [email protected] no later than November 16, 2016.

If you have questions and concerns, please contact Shayla Guidry Hilaire ([email protected]) as soon as possible.

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