Program Memorandum - OVAE/DVTE - FY 99-8
|Date:||March 26, 1999|
|To:||State Directors of Vocational-Technical Education|
State Directors of Community, Technical and Junior Colleges
State Tech-Prep Coordinators
|From:||Patricia W. McNeil|
|Subject:||Distribution of Funds to Secondary School Programs in Fiscal Year 2000 and Succeeding Fiscal Years under Section 131(b) of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins III)|
Many States have inquired about possible problems with the data required for the distribution of funds under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins III) to secondary school programs in fiscal year 2000 and beyond. Under section 131(b)(1) of Perkins III, the eligible agency must allocate the 30% of the funds available for secondary programs to local educational agencies (LEAs) in proportion to the number of individuals aged 15 to 19 who reside in the school district served by the LEA in the preceding fiscal year compared to the total number of such individuals who reside in school districts served by all LEAs in the State for that year. We do not expect eligible agencies to have problems with the data needed to allocate this 30% of the funds under section 131(b)(1). The focus of this memorandum is on the data needed for the distribution of the remaining 70% of the funds.Availability of Data Described in Section 131(b)(2)
Under section 131(b)(2) of Perkins III, an eligible agency must allocate 70% of the funds available for secondary programs to each LEA based on "the number of individuals aged 15 through 19, inclusive, who reside in the school district served by such [LEA] from families with incomes below the poverty line (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually in accordance with section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) applicable to a family of the size involved for the fiscal year for which the determination is made compared to the number of such individuals who reside in the school districts served by all the [LEAs] in the State for such preceding fiscal year." The Department has received numerous inquiries from States concerning the required data.
The Department has explored the availability of the data required for the 70% distribution. We have determined that the most current Census Bureau data for the population described in section 131(b)(2) are from 1990. In addition to the age of the data, the data are incomplete in some States and are difficult to use since they are based on the boundaries of LEAs in 1990. The boundaries for LEAs have changed since 1990 in many States; new LEAs have been created; and some LEAs, such as charter schools that are LEAs or secondary schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), may have no geographical boundaries. The Census Bureau cannot adjust this database to reflect new LEA boundaries or LEAs without boundaries. Because the data required in section 131(b)(2) does not exist for the year required, we will grant eligible agencies waivers to use formulas based on other data.Waiver to Allow the Use of Alternative Data
Section 131(c) of Perkins III provides for a waiver for more equitable distribution if an alternative formula better targets funds on the basis of poverty. It provides:
(c) Waiver for More Equitable Distribution.--The Secretary may waive the application of subsection (b) in the case of any eligible agency that submits to the Secretary an application for such a waiver that -
(1) demonstrates that a proposed alternative formula more effectively targets funds on the basis of poverty (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually in accordance with section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) to [LEAs] within the State than the formula described in subsection (b); and
(2) includes a proposal for such an alternative formula.
Given this waiver option, the Department examined alternative databases that States could use and determined that the Census Bureau's estimate of the relative number of children in poverty aged 5-17 has a very high level of correlation with the relative number of poor individuals aged 15-19, the data required in section 131(b)(2). Among the advantages of the ages 5-17 database are that it was updated by the Census Bureau in 1995 and relates to LEA (NCES type 1 and 2 districts) boundaries for the 1995-96 school year. By law, the Census Bureau will update these data every two years.
This school district data can be found at the Census web site. Please go to http://www.census.gov/, and read the "README" file. That file explains the types of files in the directory and how to find the information you need.
(We note that the Census Bureau is now receiving comments from the States that will allow them to correct transcription errors; this comment period will end on March 22, 1999. Changes made to these estimates because of these corrections will be posted on that site in mid-April, 1999.)
The Department has concluded that, if an eligible agency were to use the 5-17 database described above in its alternative formula as a substitute for the data required by section 131(b)(2), we would accept the substitution as meeting the requirements of section 131(c) for the 70% part of the formula in section 131(b)(2). We also would consider an eligible agency's use of these 5-17 data to result in a formula that more effectively targets funds based on poverty than the factors in section 131(a), which are the same as those used under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (Perkins II). Further, we would accept an eligible agency's use of the 5-17 database as the criterion to judge whether a different proposed waiver formula from the eligible agency meets the more equitable distribution test under section 131(c). An eligible agency may request a waiver as part of the State plan or separately.Adjusting the 5-17 Database
The 5-17 database should be adjusted by State personnel to reflect changes in LEA boundaries since 1995 and to include LEAs without geographical boundaries such as charter schools that are LEAs and secondary schools funded by the BIA. Under section 131(i), an eligible agency must treat secondary schools funded by the BIA as LEAs for the purposes of distributing the secondary school funds. In addition, under section 133(d), an eligible agency must distribute funds to charter schools in the same manner as to other schools. The eligible agency's allocation plan must ensure that charter schools receive the appropriate funds for which they are eligible in accordance with the Charter School Expansion Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-278). Further guidance will be forthcoming from the Department on these requirements.
Since the 5-17 data are also being used for allocations under Title I of Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we recommend that State vocational education directors coordinate their efforts to reflect changed LEA boundaries and LEAs without boundaries with the State's Title I personnel.
Please note that this memorandum has not been assigned an OMB control number under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) because it is not intended as an information collection instrument. Therefore, you are not required to respond to it as an information collection. Please see section VI of the State plan guide for more detailed information on addressing these financial requirements in your State plan. If you have any questions or need additional information on these matters, please contact Mr. Jon Weintraub at (202) 205-5602.