Office of Intergovernmental Affairs,
Grants Administration, and Community Engagement
Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth-largest school district in the United States, comprised of 472 schools, more than 354,000 students, and nearly 39,000
full-time/part-time employees. Located at the southern end of the Florida peninsula,
the school district stretches over 2,000 square miles of diverse and vibrant communities ranging from rural and suburban to urban cities and municipalities. A truly global community, District students speak 56 different languages and represent 160 countries. The District has an annual capital and operating budget of approximately $5.1 billion.
Under the leadership of Associate Superintendent Iraida R. Mendez-Cartaya, the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Grants Administration, and Community Engagement handles legislative issues; intergovernmental relations on local, state, federal and international levels; grants management; compliance with the 2001 Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); and community engagement activities, including school volunteer and business partnership programs, student internships and other forms of support for student learning and parent involvement; and oversight of the District’s direct-support organization — the Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc.
The Intergovernmental Affairs team advances the School Board’s legislative program. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a vested interest in the legislative process, as a high percentage of the District’s operating revenues come directly from state funds and the state-mandated Required Local Effort (RLE) millage levy. The team also urges the President and Congress to invest in public education and fully fund the cost of implementing (ESEA) thus avoiding potentially damaging reductions in education funding and services. The office also manages twenty education compacts with various municipalities and the county. These partnerships are a vehicle for stronger community relations and serve to leverage resources for education needs.
Grants Administration maximizes federal, state, local and private funding to support programs designed to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness. Grants Administration works with staff from all areas of the District to facilitate grant submittal and align grant proposals with District priorities. In addition, Grants Administration serves as the liaison for the School Board, the Superintendent, and project managers in all official business with federal, state, and/or other agencies that provide funds for special projects. The Grants team is strategically divided into two units – Grants Development and Financial Reporting. Together these units secure and manage supplemental funding, including more than $370 million in total grants revenue.
The Community Engagement team encourages the community to support student success and the employees who dedicate themselves to that mission. Whether its volunteers serving as mentors and tutors or a local company providing student incentives or internship opportunities, these programs enrich the school environment. The goal is to enhance communication with parents and the community-at-large by providing opportunities for them to play an important role in public education. By mobilizing and channeling resources into the school system, the team is able to create partnerships that impact student learning and achievement.
Oversight of the District’s direct-support organization — the Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc., includes supporting initiatives that introduce students at every grade level to community arts venues, that equip students with wireless devices and schools with computer labs, and that provide students with valuable work experience through paid internships. The Foundation also seeks to enhance student achievement and community engagement by supporting The Parent Academy and other educational initiatives of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.