Responsibilities for Extension Council/District Administration of Extramural Funds Form
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K-State Research and Extension Policy
for Extension Council/District Extramural Funds Approval
[excerpt from Chapter I, Kansas Extension Service Administrative Handbook, item E2]
Extramural Fund Proposals Involving County/District Extension Personnel
The Kansas extension laws concerning county Extension Council/District finances are specific. All expenditures of funds from whatever source derived, must have the approval of the Executive Board/Governing Body and the Director of Extension. Therefore, the solicitation of extramural funds through grant proposals or other means such as collaborations or contracts with other organizations, requires the approval of the Executive Board/Governing Body and the Area Extension Director who serves as the Director of Extension's authorized representative. (Kansas County Extension Council and Extension District Laws - Kansas Statutes Annotated, Sections 2-608 through 2-622 and 2-623 through 2-628)
The approval process will include a proposal discussion concerning sponsor(s), project, capacity, and relevance considerations. This discussion will involve the County/District Director, Executive Board/Governing Body, and the Area Extension Director. Before the proposal is submitted, a Responsibilities for Extension Council/District Administration of Extramural Funds Form will be completed and signed by the County/District Extension Director, the Executive Board/Governing Body Chair, and the Area Extension Director. Answers to a set of standard questions indicate whether the grant will be administered through Kansas State University or the Extension Council/District.
Benefits and Challenges of Extramural Funded Programs
Extramural funds are often useful to address new priorities, expand on-going work to new audiences, and to implement new evidence-based practices or applications. However, grant acquisition and management may be costly, and there may be other more beneficial ways to generate resources. In order to make grants more manageable, several questions must be answered before the Council decides to pursue a grant and prepare a proposal for submission:
- Is the proposal consistent with the short- or long-term plan of work of the Extension Council/District?
- What is the cost/benefit of applying for the grant? One aspect of cost/benefit is determined by considering the average award and the percentage of grants made to the total number and value of proposals received. Then, consider the approximate cost to prepare the proposal.
- How closely does the Extension Council/District come to the type of organization the source has historically funded? If national and statewide organizations have received most previous awards, a grassroots/community-based group may have difficulty meeting the expectations.
- What kinds of strings (e.g., reporting requirements, marketing expectations, etc.) are attached as conditions of grant support?
- What type of management plan (staffing, fiscal, communication, reporting, etc.) is required to complete the objectives of the grant within the time frame allowed?
- Assess local ability to perform based upon the capabilities of the Extension Council/District as well as the adequacy of the grant funds. Will financial and human resources be sufficient to meet all responsibilities or will already over-committed staff be stretched even further? Grants provide for expanded services, efforts, and research. They should not be used to support existing infrastructure or to "bail-out" other budgets.
- What expectations will have been established in the community when external support ends? Will a necessary service be established that has little likelihood of continuing? While there may be an expectation that the program will continue, there must be an honest appraisal of the Extension Council/District's capacity to offer the program after grant funds run out.
Considerations For Effective Grant Management
There are many considerations for effective grant management in determining whether an Extension Council/District or Kansas State University is the appropriate entity to administer the grant.
Extension Councils/Districts may be able to compete more effectively for some grants than Kansas State University. Local visibility is enhanced when the Council/District is seen as a positive, contributing local agency. The Council/District can use local hiring and purchasing procedures and can determine salaries and wages based on local wage scales. Councils/Districts may be able to charge indirect costs if they have an approved policy and if the granting agency will pay these costs.
There are also advantages for processing grants through Kansas State University. KSU can assist with cash flow and can also assist with local expenditures through use of a KSU procurement card. KSU would be responsible for audit expectations and is already familiar with grant accounting procedures and documentation requirements for match, if required. KSU procedures include appropriate consideration and protection of publication and intellectual property rights.
There are other considerations important to the administrative management decision process. Councils/Districts must still meet grant expectations if the principal investigator leaves before the project is finished. Proposals funding multiple counties or county blocks make it necessary to determine the lead Council/District to receive and monitor the funds if the grant is not administered through the University. If involvement of a content specialist is necessary, the Council/District may need to enter into a sub-contract, reimbursement process or Memorandum of Understanding in order to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal.
To facilitate the decision process, a Responsibilities for County Extension Council/District Administration of Extramural Funds Form will be completed by the County/District Extension Director, Executive Board/Governing Body, and Area Extension Director during the very initial stages of the process. After completing the checklist, the parties determine whether the funds are best administered through the County Extension Council/District Governing Body or the University.
PROCEDURES REGARDING GRANTS AND CONTRACTS
The County/District Extension Director, the Executive Board/Governing Body and Area Extension Director, representing the Director of Extension, assess a proposed project's compatibility with priority programs when considering whether or not to seek outside funding and discuss how to manage the funds if an award is granted. This process includes evaluating the feasibility of achieving expected outcomes and how or if the program will be funded after the grant ends.
- Proposals for grants affecting the County Extension Council, including cooperative projects involving grants received and managed by other agencies, should be reviewed and approved by the County/District Extension Director, Executive Board/Governing Body and Area Extension Director prior to submission.
- Grant administration (whether through the Extension Council/District or processed through Kansas State University) will be determined after careful consideration of administrative responsibilities during the discussion of the proposal. The County/District Extension Director, Executive Board/Governing Body and the Area Extension Director will jointly make this determination and will all sign the Responsibilities for County Extension Council/District Administration of Extramural Funds Form.
- When the Extension Council/District is responsible for the grant (including but not limited to signing vouchers, signing checks, hiring and terminating grant-funded county employees [county hires, not KSU employees] and reviewing accountability reports), the Area Extension Director will review all financial reports on a monthly basis to provide additional accountability.
- The County/District Extension Director will present the Area Extension Director the following reports for each grant awarded: details on each voucher/check, monthly budget-to-actual report, monthly itemized category report, and programmatic report.
- When the grant will be administered by the Extension Council/District Governing Body, the proposal should clearly state that the award will be made to the ________ County Extension Council or the __________ Extension District and not made to Kansas State University or K-State Research and Extension.
Grants, contracts and other sources of extramural funds are, and will continue to be important contributors to budgets, research, and educational programs of Extension Councils/Districts. K-State Research and Extension supports appropriate pursuit of grants that align with local and statewide priorities.
Revised December 10, 2003
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