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ECI Area Board Designation– General Policies

This document provides an overview of general policies associated with board designation.

Document Date:
Document Text Content:

ECI Area Board Designation– General Policies Tool N

Effective July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2022

I. Purpose: To receive ECI funds, the ECI State Board must designate the ECI area board. 

II. Legal References:

Iowa Code 256I.4(8):

8.  Develop and implement a designation process for area boards.  Allow for flexibility and creativity of area boards in implementing area board responsibilities and provide authority for the area boards to support the communities in the areas served.  The system shall provide for action to address poor performing areas as well as higher performing areas. The state board shall determine how often area boards are reviewed under the system.

The Early Childhood Iowa State Board will adopt policies and criteria to further define and implement the designation process.

III. Identification of Status


The board is designated as long as they follow the steps outlined in the guidance.

The Designation period is four (4) years unless a triggered change occurs. (Section VI)

Refer to the Designation Cycle Calendar (Section IX)

Conditional Designation:

A conditional designation means there are unmet requirements that need to be addressed.  A technical assistance team member is assigned to work with the area board to provide technical assistance.  The area board will develop an improvement plan and submit it within 30 days of receipt of the notification.  The improvement plan is approved by the assigned State TA Team member (within 15 days).  Six months from the date the area board is notified of the conditional designation status, the state TA team will provide an update and/or recommendation to the state board regarding progress in meeting the action steps in the improvement plan. 

During the conditional designation period, the technical assistance provided to the area board may include but is not limited to:  monthly phone meeting with the area board chair and ECI Area Director, attendance at board meetings, offer of ideas/suggestions to address items in the implementation plan, a referral to another ECI Area that may have expertise to share with this board. 

If after one year from the effective date the improvement plan is not completed, the TA Team and ECI State Board will conduct a comprehensive review with the area board and develop a recommendation.  Options may include:  creation of a new board or merge with another area. 

IV. Categories and Documentation Area Boards must submit through this Process:

The designation process is a continuous improvement process that reviews board operations and expectations within the following categories throughout the designation period.The ECI Designation Review Matrix identifies items submitted annually and items submitted during the designation cycle.

  1. Annual submissions
  • Annual report, including the comprehensive community plan update
  • Annual budget
  • Annual contract
  • Contract monitoring schedule
  • Fiscal audit


  1. Year of Designation submissions:

Items to be submitted electronically on or before October 31 of the year of designation. (Resource:  Tool NN)

  • Comprehensive community needs assessment
  • Comprehensive community plan
  • Board strategic plan (If this is a separate document from the comprehensive community plan.)
  1. Mid-Cycle Review:

Items reviewed between years two and three of designation include:

  • ECIA Quality Assurance Review of Contract Award and Monitoring (review of contracts issued by the area board.)
    • If there are issues with a contract, this can lead to a review of additional contracts or an in-depth discussion with the board about the identified issues.  Following that, it will be determined what actions are necessary.
  • Assurances listed in the annual contract.  (Sample selection of required assurances determined by the state TA Team.)
  • Policies and procedures as applicable

An improvement plan may be applicable throughout the four-year process and does not necessarily mean conditional designation.  For example, an area board may have an improvement plan when too much time has transpired in a board vacancy for a required perspective.

V. Procedures for On-Site Review/Review Schedule (See attached schedule):

The following on-site meetings will occur as part of the Designation process:




Responsibility/ Materials


Pre-meeting on day of Designation Review

ECI State TA Team     Reviewers

ECI Area Board staff

½ hour


Discuss any questions from the reviewers based on materials submitted

Board Discussion




ECI Area Board

ECI Area Board staff or Director

ECI State TA Team Reviewers

Community Partners/ Public

ECI State Board members are invited to attend as they are able

1.5 hours



ECI Area:

Determine preference for format of meeting. Options:

  • 30 minute presentation and 60 minute discussion with reviewers, or
  • 90 minute discussion with reviewers.


Secure location

Post mtg. for public notice



ECIA board – if choose to do a presentation, describe:

  • Community Plan’s role in driving work to support the system
  • ECIA board’s role as the organizing body of early childhood in area, including private/public partnerships
  • Knowledge of needs assessment process
  • Process to fund programs
  • Linkages/collaborative relationships with other organizations supporting the community supporting early childhood efforts

TA Team – 60 minutes:

  • Questions -  Review of materials
  • Discussion of area board goals for upcoming years
  • Discussion of areas of concern as well as strengths

Community Partner Meeting

ECI State TA Team Reviewers

Community Partners/Public

1 hour

ECI Area:

Secure location

Invite partners

Discuss partners’ participation and collaboration with the ECI Area Board

Follow-up Meeting on day of Review

ECI State TA Team     Reviewers

ECI Area Board staff or director

½ hour

TBD based on reviewers’ questions/needs for clarification

Discuss any questions from the reviewers based on materials submitted


Discuss any final questions from the reviewers


VI. Events that May Trigger an Improvement Plan and/or Review and possibly Change in Designation Status: 

There are times when a designation review must take place before the next scheduled review date. At the discretion of the State TA Team or the ECI State Board, the following may trigger a change in the review schedule or an on-site visit with the area board:

  • An ECI area director (coordinator) change*
  • Results from the State’s monitoring review
  • Findings from an independent financial audit*
  • Carry forward of more than 20% of either funding stream
  • A boundary change
  • A complaint by an ECI board member or an individual or agency within the ECI area

*The area board must notify the ECI Office within 10 business days of a change in the ECI area director (coordinator) or findings from an independent financial audit. 

VII. Completion of the Review Process – Final Steps: 

The Designation Review Team will discuss recommendations with the full State TA Team to make a recommendation.

The State TA Team will submit a recommendation of full or conditional designation.  Designation is for a period of four (4) years, even if the ECI area board is designated as a conditional for a period of time.  The State TA Team provides a summary with the recommendation, a copy of the review matrix and any other pertinent information to the ECI State Board.

The State Board will review and discuss the recommendations and:

  1. Approve the recommendation as presented;
  2. Not approve the recommendation as presented; or
  3. Seek additional information prior to approval/non-approval.

An appeal policy is available on the state ECI website under the state board policies.
VIII. General Timeline to assist with the process:

Annual Submissions

Date Due


January 15

Submit Mid-Year Financial Report

July 15

Submit annual budget

July 15

Submit annual contract.

September 15

Submit annual report information

September 30

Submit contract monitoring schedule

Third quarter following the fiscal year closed

Submit annual audit

Mid-Cycle Review (Between Year 2 and 3 of designation cycle)

Due Date


April – October

2 contract files from the last completed fiscal year (as selected by the State TA Team)

April – October

Proof of Assurances (Items selected by the State TA Team)

April – October

Polices & Procedures (Items selected by the State TA Team)

Year of Designation

Date Due


October 31st 


Comprehensive community needs assessment

Comprehensive community plan

Area Board strategic plan (if different from community plan)

November - April

The State reviews materials submitted and conducts site visit with the ECIA.

April and June Board Meeting

The State TA Team provides a summary with the recommendation, a copy of the review matrix and any other pertinent information to the ECI State Board.

The ECI State Board determines the area’s designation status.

July 1st  (beginning of next fiscal year)

Designation becomes effective


IX. Designation Cycle Calendar


Submit Materials -- October 31, 2018 (Mid-Cycle April – October 2020)

Benton Tama

Chickasaw Floyd Mitchell

Boone Story

Clarke Decatur Wayne

Bremer Butler Franklin Grundy

Clay Dickinson O’Brien Osceola

Cerro Gordo Hancock Worth

Des Moines Henry Louisa Washington




Submit Materials October 31, 2019 (Mid-Cycle April – October 2017)

Adams Ringgold Taylor Union

Emmet Kossuth Palo Alto Winnebago

Appanoose Davis Lucas Monroe

Harrison Monona Shelby

Buena Vista Crawford Sac

Jasper Marion Poweshiek

Cherokee Lyon Plymouth Sioux



Mahaska Wapello


Submit Materials October 31, 2020 (Mid-Cycle April – October 2018)

Adair Dallas Madison Warren

Cedar Jones

Allamakee Clayton Howard Winneshiek

Fremont Page

Audubon Carroll Greene Guthrie

Hardin Marshall

Black Hawk

Ida Woodbury

Calhoun Pocahontas Webster

Iowa Jefferson Keokuk

Dubuque (ECI State Board approved extension on 9-6-19.)



Submit Materials October 31, 2021 (Mid-Cycle April – October 2019)

Buchanan Delaware Fayette

Lee Van Buren

Cass Mills Montgomery


Clinton Jackson


Hamilton Humboldt Wright



Fremont Page – ECI State Board approved extension on 9-11-20.