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From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part IV

Department of Education


Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and Office of 
Special Education Programs: Grant Award for FY 1999; Notice

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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and 
Office of Special Education Programs; Grant Award for FY 1999

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice inviting applications for a new award for one Regional 
Resource Center in Region I for Fiscal Year 1999.


SUMMARY: On February 24, 1998, a notice was published in the Federal 
Register (63 FR 9376) inviting applications for a new FY 1998 award for 
six Regional Resource Centers (RRCs) to help States improve their 
special education programs. Five of the six RRCs were funded. An 
approvable application was not received from Region I.
    The purpose of this notice is to invite applications for a Regional 
Resource Center in Region I (the Center) which will become a key 
component of OSEP's expanded systems change efforts, serving not only 
in its traditional capacity as a technical assistance provider and as a 
resource for information requests from all States within the region, 
but also as a broker of technical assistance for SEAs, LEAs and their 
    This notice provides the closing date and other information 
regarding the transmittal of applications for a fiscal year 1999 
competition under one program authorized by IDEA, as amended: Special 
Education--Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services 
and Results for Children with Disabilities.
    This notice supports the National Education Goals by helping to 
improve results for children with disabilities.

Waiver of Rulemaking

    It is generally the practice of the Secretary to offer interested 
parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. However, 
section 661(e)(2) of IDEA makes the Administrative Procedure Act (5 
U.S.C. 553) inapplicable to the priority in this notice. In order to 
make awards on a timely basis, the Secretary has decided to publish 
this priority in final under the authority of section 661(e)(2).

General Requirements

    (a) The project funded under this notice must make positive efforts 
to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with 
disabilities in project activities (see section 606 of IDEA);
    (b) Applicants and the grant recipient funded under this notice 
must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals 
with disabilities in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project 
(see section 661(f)(1)(A) of IDEA); and
    (c) The project funded under this priority must budget for a two-
day Project Directors' meeting in Washington, DC during each year of 
the project.

    Note: The Department of Education is not bound by any estimates 
in this notice.

Special Education--Technical Assistance and Dissemination to 
Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program is to provide 
technical assistance and information through such mechanisms as 
institutes, regional resource centers, clearinghouses and programs that 
support States and local entities in building capacity, to improve 
early intervention, educational, and transitional services and results 
for children with disabilities and their families, and address 
systemic-change goals and priorities.
    Eligible Applicants: State and local educational agencies, 
institutions of higher education, other public agencies, private 
nonprofit organizations, freely associated States, and Indian tribes or 
tribal organizations, the Region I as defined in the following section.
    Geographic Regions: The RRC funded under this priority shall serve 
the following States (referred to as Region I): Connecticut, Maine, 
Massachussetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, 
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 85, and 86; and (b) The selection criteria for this competition 
are drawn from the EDGAR menu--TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE program area.

    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of 
higher education only.

    Priority: Under section 685 and 34 CFR 75.105(c) (3), the Secretary 
gives an absolute preference to applications that meet the following 
priority. The Secretary funds under this competition only those 
applications that meet this absolute priority:

Absolute Priority--Regional Resource Center in Region I (84.326R)


    State educational agencies (SEAs) are increasingly being asked to 
make changes to their systems for providing early intervention, special 
education, and transition services to improve results for children with 
disabilities and their families. Recent findings on educational change 
suggest that in order to create successful and lasting ``systemic 
change'': (1) Decisions should be data-based; (2) multiple aspects of 
the system should be considered, including policies and practices at 
national, State, district, classroom, teacher, and student levels; (3) 
change should be driven from both the top-down and the bottom-up; (4) 
barriers to systemic change, such as fragmented policies and 
complicated administrative requirements should be eliminated; and (5) 
changes to one sector of the system should be directly linked to 
changes in all other system sectors (for example, personnel development 
and teacher certification must be linked to curriculum content and 
student outcomes). Furthermore, SEAs striving for such complex 
transformations will be required to establish new partnerships, 
translate validated research findings into practice, and provide 
personnel with specialized knowledge and skills.
    In order to help States improve their special education programs, 
the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has supported Regional 
Resource Centers (RRCs) which employ a variety of strategies, including 
needs assessment, staff training, policy and product development, and 
information dissemination. Historically, these strategies, although 
requested and well received by SEAs, have focused primarily on specific 
policy or program issues. They have seldom addressed the SEA's systemic 
    For over a decade, OSEP has supported State system change efforts 
through a number of discretionary projects. These projects, although 
successful, were limited in number and scope, focusing specifically on 
secondary transition and the education of children with severe 
disabilities. The IDEA Amendments of 1997 specifically authorize 
technical assistance on assisting SEAs and their partners in planning 
and implementing systemic change. In this regard, the following 
priority would require the Center to assist SEAs and LEAs in including 
genereal educators in systems change efforts designed to improve 
results for children with disabilities.
    The Center will become a key component of OSEP's expanded systems 
change efforts, serving not only in their traditional capacity as 
technical assistance providers, but also as brokers of technical 
assistance for SEAs, LEAs, and their partners. This new role would 
require the Center to serve as a link

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between SEAs and appropriate technical assistance providers at 
national, State, and local levels that can assist States in achieving 
systemic change and improving results for children with disabilities 
and their families.
    Consistent with the Regional Resource Centers' central mission of 
helping States improve their special education programs, the following 
priority requires the Center to address the general technical 
assistance needs of SEAs and their partners related to the development 
and implementation of State Improvement Plans under the new State 
Program Improvement Grants for Children with Disabilities (or SIG 
program). The SIG program supports competitive grants designed to 
assist State educational agencies and their partners in reforming and 
improving their systems for providing educational, early intervention, 
and transitional services, including their systems for professional 
development, technical assistance, and dissemination of knowledge about 
best practices, in order to improve results for children with 
disabilities. Because the Center is funded to provide technical 
assistance and to serve as a resource for information requests from all 
States within Region I, and must do so on an equitable basis across 
those States, the Center is prohibited from helping a State draft its 
SIG application, providing technical assistance on what to include in 
the application or how to draft the application contents, or performing 
any other function that could be viewed as providing a competitive 
advantage to one potential SIG program applicant over another. On the 
other hand, helping States, for example, with needs assessments, 
project implementation, and evaluation, and other activities related to 
the State improvement plan are consistent with the Center's general 
role and are authorized under the following priority.


    The Secretary establishes an absolute priority for the purpose of 
supporting a Regional Resource Center in Region I. The Regional 
Resource Center, through written technical assistance agreements with 
SEAs, LEAs, and other entities must--
    (a) Increase the depth and utility of information in on-going and 
emerging areas of priority needs as identified by States, local 
educational agencies, and participants in the new State Program 
Improvement Grant (SIG) partnerships that are in the process of making 
systemic changes. To expand information depth and utility, the Regional 
Resource Center must, for example, cooperate with the Federal Resource 
Center in collecting and sharing information on current practices, 
policies, and programs relevant to State implementation of IDEA.
    (b) Promote change through a multi-State or regional framework that 
benefits States, local educational agencies, and participants in SIG 
partnerships pursuing systemic-changes. To promote change, the Regional 
Resource Center must conduct activities such as--
    (1) Identifying general and special education technical assistance 
providers funded by the Department of Education at national, State, and 
local levels, and linking them with SEAs to help them achieve systemic 
change and improved results for children with disabilities and their 
    (2) Collaborating with other Department-funded programs that 
address special needs related to school-based reform (e.g., school-wide 
and other programs under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act).
    (3) Participating in Department of Education program coordinated 
reviews whose purpose is to ensure that technical assistance activities 
of all the Regional Resource Centers are coordinated with those of 
other technical assistance providers to meet State identified needs in 
a comprehensive and efficient manner. The program coordinated reviews 
conducted by the Department focus on areas in which technical 
assistance is needed across programs such as standards and assessments, 
parent involvement, professional development, transition from school to 
work, and education reform.
    (c) Promote communication and information exchange among States, 
local educational agencies, and participants in SIG partnerships based 
on the needs, concerns, emerging issues, and trends identified by these 
agencies and participants. Such bases may include, for example:
    (1) Persistent problems that arise as States comply with IDEA 
requirements (e.g., identifying appropriate settings for infants and 
toddlers, transition issues, shortages of related service personnel, 
alternate assessment strategies, or determining appropriate uses of 
    (2) Issues faced by local, regional, and State entities in 
implementing systemic reform, (e.g., placement issues, training and 
support for teachers, developing useful curricular materials based on 
sound instructional principles, managing children who exhibit 
challenging behaviors).
    (3) Variance in practices, procedures, and policies of States, 
local educational agencies, and participants in SIG partnerships.
    (4) Accountability of States, local educational agencies and 
participants in SIG partnerships for improved early intervention, 
educational, and transitional results for children with disabilities.
    (d) Provide technical assistance to State educational agencies and 
their partners related to State improvement plans under the SIG 
program. Technical assistance activities may include--
    (1) Developing general models for SEAs to use in developing their 
State improvement plans under the SIG program (See Sec. 653 of IDEA);
    (2) Helping SEAs conduct needs assessment activities stipulated in 
the State improvement plan (See Sec. 653(b) of IDEA);
    (3) Helping SEAs and their partners implement systemic changes 
specified in the State improvement plan (See Sec. 653(c) of IDEA);
    (4) Helping to evaluate the systemic outcomes of State improvement 
activities (See section 653(f) of IDEA); and
    (5) Serving as a technical assistance facilitator to establish 
mentoring relationships between SEAs that have successfully implemented 
State improvement activities under the SIG program and those seeking 
funding under the SIG program.
    (e) Assist States in developing and implementing strategies to 
comply with IDEA requirements such as establishing performance goals 
and indicators under section 612(a)(16). To assist States, the Regional 
Resource Center may conduct activities such as--
    (1) Designing LEA systems for ensuring compliance, (e.g., LEA 
monitoring, eligibility, complaint resolution);
    (2) Developing and assisting in the implementation of corrective 
action plans in response to U.S. Department of Education monitoring 
findings; and
    (3) Assisting in coordinated program reviews conducted by the U.S. 
Department of Education.
    (f) conduct, every two years, a results-based evaluation of the 
technical assistance provided. Such an evaluation must be conducted by 
a review team consisting of three experts approved by the Secretary and 
must measure elements such as--
    (1) The type of technical assistance provided and the perception of 
its quality by the target audience:
    (2) The changes that occurred as a result of the technical 
assistance provided; and

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    (3) How the changes relate to State plan goals and objectives.
    The services of the review team, including a two-day site visit to 
the Center are to be performed during the last half of the Center's 
second year and may be included in that year's evaluation required 
under 34 CFR 75.590. Costs associated with the services to be performed 
by the review team must also be included in the Regional Resource 
Center's budget for year two. These costs are estimated to be 
approximately $4,000.
    Applications Available: October 19, 1998.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Application: November 23, 1998.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: January 22, 1999.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

    Note: The maximum funding level and estimated number of awards 
in this notice do not bind the Department of Education to a specific 
level of funding or number of grants.

    Project Period: Up to 52 months.
    The first budget period will be 4 months and the subsequent budget 
periods will be 12 months.
    Maximum Award: $400,000 for the first budget period; and $1,075,000 
for subsequent budget periods.

    Note: The Secretary will reject without consideration or 
evaluation any application that proposes a project funding level 
that exceeds the stated maximum award amounts per budget period. The 
Secretary may change the maximum amounts through a notice published 
in the Federal Register.

    Page limits: In Part III of the application, the application 
narrative is where an applicant addresses the selection criteria that 
are used by reviewers in evaluating an application. An applicant must 
limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 40 double-spaced 
pages, using the following standards: (1) A ``page'' is 8\1/2\'' x 11'' 
(on one side only) with one-inch margins (top, bottom, and sides). (2) 
All text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in 
charts, tables, figures, and graphs, must be double-spaced (no more 
than 3 lines per vertical inch). If using a proportional computer font, 
use no smaller than a 12-point font, and an average character density 
no greater than 18 characters per inch. If using a nonproportional font 
or a typewriter, do not use more than 12 characters to the inch.
    The page limit does not apply to Part I--the cover sheet; Part II--
the budget section (including the narrative budget justification); Part 
IV--the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, 
resumes, bibliography, and letters of support. However, all of the 
application narrative must be included in Part III. If an application 
narrative uses a smaller print size, spacing, or margin that would make 
the narrative exceed the equivalent of the page limit, the application 
will not be considered for funding.
    For Applications and General Information Contract: Requests for 
applications and general information should be addressed to the Grants 
and Contracts Services Team, 600 Independence Avenue, SW., room 3317, 
Switzer Building, Washington, DC. 20202-2641. The preferred method for 
requesting information is to FAX your request to: (202) 205-8717. 
Telephone: (202) 260-9182.
    Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the TDD number: (202) 205-8953. Individuals with disabilities 
may obtain a copy of this notice or the application packages referred 
to in this notice in an alternate format (e.g. Braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Department as listed 
above. However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an alternate 
format the standard forms included in the application package.
    This program is approved under OMB control number 1820-0028.

Intergovernmental Review

    All programs in this notice are subject to the requirements of 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. The 
objective of the Executive order is to foster an inter-governmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism by relying on processes 
developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of 
proposed Federal financial assistance.
    In accordance with the order, this document is intended to provide 
early notification of the Department's specific plans and actions for 
those programs.

Electronic Access to This Document

    Anyone may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or 
portable document format (pdf) on the World Wide Web at either of the 
following sites:


To use the pdf you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
Search, which is available free at either of the pervious sites. If you 
have questions about using the pdf, call the U.S. Government Printing 
Office toll free at 1-888-293-6498.
    Anyone may also view these documents in text copy only on an 
electronic bulletin board of the Department. Telephone: (202) 219-1511 
or, toll free, 1-800-222-4922. The documents are located under Option 
G--Files/Announcements, Bulletins, and Press Releases.

    Note: The official version of a document is the document 
published in the Federal Register.

    Dated: October 5, 1998.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 98-27237 Filed 10-8-98; 8:45 am]