Montana Quality Schools Program

Grant Administration Manual

A project’s approval by the Legislature does not, by itself, authorize the Quality Schools grant recipient to begin incurring costs that would be paid for with Quality Schools funds. School Districts selected for funding must meet a variety of start-up requirements and receive permission from the Department in order to have authorization to obligate Quality Schools funds for project activities. Quality Schools funds may only be used to reimburse project activities incurred from the project award date, and cannot be used to reimburse a Quality Schools grant recipient for costs incurred prior to Department approval of the Quality Schools project, unless the Department has specifically approved expenditures associated with application preparation or previous engineering studies or plans.

Quality Schools funds for reimbursing eligible expenditures will not become available until all Quality Schools start-up requirements have been complied and a contract with the Montana Department of Commerce has been negotiated and executed. At this time, the Quality Schools Grant recipient will have received both a Notice of Award letter and a Notice to Proceed letter from the Department. In the event that a school district is unable to meet any portion of start-up requirements, including contract execution, any costs incurred will be the responsibility of the school.

Quality Schools grant recipients have the option of arranging interim financing in order to advance before receiving a “Notice to Proceed.” However, Quality Schools grant recipients do so at their own risk; Quality Schools can reimburse the grant recipient only if and when all project start-up requirements are met.

Start-Up Requirements

In order to execute a contract with the Department, the grantee must submit the following items:

  • A certificate of liability insurance for $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate per year, naming the Montana Department of Commerce as Additional Insured and a Certificate Holder
  • Proof of the School District’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • A revised project budget that is acceptable to all of the funding sources identified. The budget should clearly identify the portion of the project being funded by the Quality Schools project grant, as described in the grantee’s award letter
  • An updated version of the project implementation schedule to reflect current conditions at the time of contract execution. 
  • A letter stating the firm commitment of other funding sources for the Quality schools project, including adequate documentation if necessary. Acceptable documentation could include a letter assuring us that the funding is available in the district budget, an award letter from another grant program, a commitment letter from private donors or trusts, etc; and
  • A completed grant management plan describing the responsibilities of those individuals who will be involved in the administration of the grant, including the processing and approval of requests for grant funds. The Management Plan Template is available on the Quality Schools website.
  • A completed and notarized Signature Certification Form for those individuals to be authorized to process and approve requests for grant funds. The Signature Certification Form is included as an exhibit to this Manual.
  • A complete description of the scope of work to be completed by the project

Notice to Proceed

Once the Department determines that all of the above project start-up conditions have been satisfied, the Department will issue a Notice to Proceed letter to the grant recipient. The letter will notify the grant recipient that it may begin to submit draw-down requests for funding for its Quality School project. 

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