New Jersey Department of Education

Questions and Answers from the School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMHS) Grant Technical Assistance (TA) Session

Please note, additional questions and answers can be found in Appendix J of the NGO (pages 53-55). 

  1. Where can I find the application in EWEG?  
    • If you are having trouble finding the application within EWEG, email  
  2. Are administrative costs (10%) for the project management/leadership positions? Or can other funds be used to support their effort? 
    • No. Since the Project Director is a REQUIRED position, it is considered a programmatic function. Other funds can still be used to support efforts as needed, specifically locally available resources (Title I funds, ESEA funds, etc.) so long as they are not used to supplant existing allocations of Federal funds. 
  3. How are local educational agencies (LEAs) considering retention bonuses and other employee payment-related issues given LEAs have negotiated contracts (or pending contracts)?  
    • Newly hired staff could be hired as non-unit staff since this is a 5-year grant. Retention bonuses are one of the allowable uses of funds. Ultimately, it will be at the discretion of the applicant to determine the most appropriate use of funds that align with requirements set forth in the Notice of Grant Opportunity and local contexts. Stipends vs bonuses could be viewed more favorably. 
  4. Must we submit a signed LEA-Institute of Higher Education (IHE) agreement with the application or does that come later?  
    • Yes. The signed agreement submitted with the application will be considered a complete application. 
  5. Can we use funding to pay for the project director position that is required? 
    • Yes. This is a programmatic function and can be a salaried position.  
  6. Can we partner with multiple IHE's? 
    • Yes. If your LEA has the capacity to partner with multiple IHE’s you may do so. Please note you will have to submit one agreement form for EACH partnering IHE.  
  7. Can you provide contacts for IHE?  
    • A list of potential IHE’s with SBMH programs is included on page 43 of the NGO.  
  8. Is it correct that we are starting the year with an intern that could potentially be hired, as opposed to hiring staff and training future interns? 
    • This is at the discretion of the applicant. LEAs could hire interns for project period 1 or provide compensation (or additional compensation) for already placed interns and then hire them for project period 2. Certificated school-based mental health (SBMH) staff can also be hired in addition to interns.  
  9. Can we hire a school counselor and pay for interns with the grant?  
    • Yes, if the school counselor is spending at least 70% of their time performing SBMH activities and you have enough budget left over for interns. Just as a friendly reminder, only 50% of a full-time salary can be covered for school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists (page 31 of the NGO).  
  10. Can school districts apply if they already have a School Based Youth Services Program in place? 
    • Yes. As long as they meet the eligibility requirements of this grant, they may still apply.  
  11. Are we able to include the cost of health benefits in the total cost of any personnel we hire? 
    • Reimbursements may be requested for up to 50% of the cost of a hired person (including fringe benefits) which can be covered through the grant, as long as they comply with supplement not supplant requirements.  
  12. Are we able to continue a current partnership with a mental health provider/organization using the grant? 
    • The goal of this grant is to increase the number and diversity of school-based mental health providers. However, funds could be used to continue existing partnerships to support the implementation of project activities.   
  13. Can we use this for current staff that may be getting their certification as a School Social Worker? 
    • If that staff member needs to complete an internship and is attending a New Jersey IHE, that would be allowable so long as other requirements outlined in the NGO have been met.   
  14. Does the IHE have to be public? 
    • No. As long as the IHE is a New Jersey based institution that has a School Psychology, School Counseling, or Social Work program, it is allowable.  
  15. Can you please clarify partial salary on page 32?  
    • The allowable use of funds states, “Reimbursements may be requested for up to 50% partial salary for each new full-time social worker, school counselor, or school psychologist hired within project period one of the grant if the LEA can demonstrate a plan to cover complete salary and benefits for each requested position by the fourth project period of the grant.” An applicant may plan to pay up to 50% of the salary of a new SBMH staff member if they can demonstrate that they have a plan to sustain the position using local funding by the fourth project period.  
  16. Are we able to use the grant to fund the school-based services we have in the district? For example, expand an existing program in the high school and use it for middle school? 
    • The goal of the grant is to increase the workforce of certificated SBMH professionals. If you are using your funds to ultimately hire more staff to support the expansion of your program, then that would be allowable.  
  17. Is there another application period for the additional project periods?  
    • Yes. If your LEA is selected to receive an award for project period 1, there will be a continuation NGO each subsequent project period.  
  18. Can we use the entire grant for salary/benefits? 
    • As long as you are submitting all necessary documentation and have included all components of the application, those are both allowable costs. As a reminder, all staff must spend at least 70% of their time on mental-health related activities, and the awardees are only allowed to pay up to 50% of the cost of newly hired SBMH professionals in Project Period 1 of the grant program.   
  19. Any page limits on the sections?  
    • There are no page limits, however EWEG may have character limitations. It should be indicated in the text box. We suggest typing longer sections in a separate document so that you do not lose your content prior to submission.  
  20. Could we use this grant to transfer staff from a School -Based Youth Services (SBYS) program to build an in-district funded SBMH program? As long as we stay with the ratios? 
    • This is an allowable use of funding so long as the staff hired and project activities remain in accordance with requirements set forth in the Notice of Grant Opportunity.  
  21. If our enrollment increases to exceed 4,000 within the time periods, can our funding be increased? 
    • While it would not be able to be increased during the project period you were awarded, you may be able to apply during the continuation NGO for additional funding. Please note that funding is subject to availability, so there may not be additional funding to provide increased awards for subsequent project periods.  
  22. Are there carryovers from year to year or do the funds need to be spent during the project period?  
    • No. Funds will not carryover from project period to project period.   
  23. Can grant funds be used at all for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and mental health professional development and curricular resources for practicum students/interns from the IHE? 
    • You may use funding for any applicable training or professional development that you feel is appropriate. Please note, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will be working with the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists, New Jersey School Counselors Association, and New Jersey Association of School Social Workers to provide a Mental Health Training Series for participating LEAs.  
  24. If we contract with an IHE that will provide all mental health services for us and they hire new school-based mental health professionals, will those new positions count, or do we have to hire them ourselves? 
    • No, those positions would not count because the increased number of positions are calculated for the LEAs not the IHEs.  
  25. Will there be compliance monitoring visits by the NJDOE? 
    • Partner IHEs, the external evaluator, and/or the NJDOE Leadership Team will conduct site visits to each LEA, meet at least quarterly to review target data, discuss each grantee’s progress, and deliver technical assistance and support to each LEA to ensure they are on track to meet all recruitment, training, and retention goals. If an LEA is showing a weakness in one metric, the NJDOE will pair technical assistance from an IHE, or professional organization to provide support in partnership with the NJDOE project coordinator and external evaluator. 
  26. Is there a timeline for site-visits?  
    • That has not been decided at this time. A schedule will be developed once the number of awardees has been determined. The NJDOE is anticipating 10-25 awardees.  
  27. If we apply and receive the grant, do we automatically receive the award each additional year?  
    • No. Each selected LEA will need to submit and be awarded a continuation NGO each subsequent project period.  
  28. Can IHEs be added in future applications if you form new partnerships going forward? Additionally, can new partners be added during a continuation application? For example, can you start project period 1 with an IHE partner for a school psychology program and partner with a second IHE for social work during project period 2?  
    • Yes. This is allowable as long as you are able to provide the necessary supervision to all placed interns.  
  29. A lot of interns have found their placements for what would be project period 1. Can we hire certificated SBMH professionals for project period 1 and build in interns for subsequent project periods?  
    • Yes. We anticipate that most LEAs will not have as many interns during project period 1 due to the timing of the release. However, some interns are still seeking paid opportunities for the 2023-2024 school year. The NJDOE anticipates the subsequent cohort of interns will be more robust as more IHEs become aware of the program and share the opportunities with their graduate students.  
  30. Since we can only cover 50% of a full-time staff member, are we able to cover 100% of a part-time newly hired SBMHP?  
    • Yes. That is an allowable expense.  
  31. What is supplement not supplant?  
    • The supplement, not supplant provision requires that federal grant funds must add to (or supplement) and not replace (or supplant) other funds (state/local) in providing general educational services. The purpose of the provision is to ensure that federal funds are utilized to benefit the intended population in the authorizing statute and not being used to fund the basic education that the LEA would have provided in the absence of federal funds. 
  32. Can the IHE partner be budgeted as a “school-based mental health consultant” to support annual report writing, recruitment of interns, and exposure activities?  
    • Yes. This would be the role of a consultant. 

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