COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 170
November 20, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Availability of School-to-Work Funds to Localities

 
  As you may know, Virginia was recently awarded $6.3
  million by the U. S. Department of Labor under the
  School-to-Work Opportunities Act.  This is the first
  installment of a grant commitment totaling $33.6 million
  over the next four years.  The grant is being
  administered  by  the Virginia Business-Education
  Partnership (VBEP),  a program of  the office of
  Secretary of Education Wilbert Bryant.

  The School-to-Work Opportunities Act provides federal
  funding as short-term "seed capital" to support state and
  local education reform efforts and involves the community
  in education partnerships to increase student
  opportunities for school-based learning, work-based
  learning, and related activities.  It is not intended or
  expected to become a new and ongoing source of federal
  funds.

  Most of the funds that Virginia is receiving will be
  awarded to localities through Local Partnership Grants
  over the next 18 months.  Every school division will be
  able to obtain a three-year Local Partnership Grant by
  meeting the application requirements and obtaining local
  school board approval for the application.  School
  divisions will be able to apply on a regional basis for a
  Local Partnership Grant if the school boards involved 
  approve the application. More detailed information
  regarding Local Partnership Grants and approval by local
  school boards will be sent to you and school board
  members in the coming weeks.

  The Request for Proposals (RFP)  for the first round of
  Local Partnership Grants is expected to be released in
  early January 1999, with a 60-day period for submissions. 
  School division superintendents will be sent the RFP and
  application packet.  Pre-application workshops or
  conferences are also being planned and superintendents
  will be notified of those events.

  Ron Hedlund, the executive director of VBEP,  has
  informed me that, in broad terms, school-to-work funds
  will be used to promote and finance local partnerships
  that are designed to achieve the following objectives:

    Support increased student achievement of the
       Virginia Standards of Leaning;

    Promote student internships and other work
       experiences that support academic achievement and
       career exploration;

    Strengthen vocational and technical course offerings
       for students who choose them;

    Increase parental involvement of their children's
       schools and education; and

    Promote students' access to postsecondary education
       or training opportunities of their choice.

  Local school boards and school divisions will be
  encouraged to develop and implement proposals that can
  best serve their students in the context of the
  Commonwealth's overall education reform goals.  Grant
  amounts generally will be based on the quality of the
  proposal and the student population of the area served. 
  Assuming that all school divisions obtain these grants,
  the estimated funding per student for each year of the 
  grant will be $10.72 in year one, $8.04 in year two, and
  $5.36 in year three.  These grants will also carry a
  matching requirement of 50 percent in year one, 75
  percent in year two, and 100 percent in year three.

  Funds are currently available to award grants to school
  divisions covering approximately one-third of the public
  school student population.  Any school divisions not
  funded during the upcoming grant competition will be
  eligible to be funded in late 1999 or 2000.

  In addition to planned mailings to school division
  superintendents, the Virginia Business-Education
  Partnership has a website at http://www.state.va.us.vbep,
  for additional information regarding the Virginia 
  School-to-Work Initiative.

  If you have any questions regarding this information,
  please call Ron Hedlund at 804-692-0244.

  PDS/jd