[Federal Register: January 12, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 7)]
[Page 2109-2111]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Department of Education

Magnet Schools Assistance--Innovative Programs; Notice

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[CFDA No.: 84.165B]

Magnet Schools Assistance--Innovative Programs

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year 
(FY) 1999.


    Purpose of Programs: To award grants to local educational agencies 
(LEAs) or consortia of LEAs to enable them to conduct innovative 
programs that will assist in the desegregation of schools served by the 
LEA or LEAs.
    Eligible Applicants: An LEA or consortium of LEAs that (1) is 
implementing a plan undertaken pursuant to a final order issued by a 
court of the United States, a court of any State, or any other State 
agency or official of competent jurisdiction that requires the 
desegregation of minority-group segregated children or faculty in 
elementary and secondary schools of that agency; or (2) has voluntarily 
adopted and is implementing, or, if assistance is made available under 
the Innovative Programs section of the Magnet Schools Assistance (MSA) 
statute, will voluntarily implement the plan that has been approved by 
the Secretary of Education as adequate under Title VI of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964.
    Deadline Date for Transmittal of Applications: February 26, 1999.
    Deadline Date for Intergovernmental Review: April 28, 1999.
    Applications Available: January 12, 1998.
    Available Funds: $5,100,000.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $250,000-$500,000.
    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $360,000.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 14.

    Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 

    Project Period: Up to 36 months.
    Applicable Regulations: The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR Parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 85, and 86.


    While applicants may propose any project within the scope of 
section 5111 of the (MSA) statute, pursuant to 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) the 
Secretary is particularly interested in applications that meet one or 
more of the following invitational priorities. However, an application 
that meets one or more of the invitational priorities does not receive 
competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

Invitational Priority 1

    Elementary school projects that foster meaningful interaction among 
students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, beginning at the 
earliest stage of the students' education, through the use of 
strategies such as work-site schools, interdistrict programs, 
partnerships with community-based organizations, or other strategies 
(other than magnet schools).

Invitational Priority 2

    Secondary school projects that ensure that all students have 
equitable access to quality education that will prepare them to 
function well in a culturally diverse, technologically oriented and 
highly competitive global community, through the use of strategies such 
as interdistrict programs, partnerships with businesses, institutions 
of higher education or community-based organizations, innovative urban 
secondary school programs, or other strategies (other than magnet 

General Requirements

    Innovative Programs are authorized under the MSA statute. However, 
while these programs must carry out the purpose of the MSA statute, 
(e.g., assist in the reduction, elimination or prevention of minority 
group isolation), Innovative Programs must involve strategies other 
than magnet schools, such as neighborhood or community model schools. 
In addition, they must be organized around a special emphasis, theme, 
or concept and involve extensive parent and community involvement.
    In order to be eligible for an Innovative Programs grant, an LEA or 
consortium of LEAs must be implementing a required desegregation plan 
or have adopted and implemented (or agreed to implement if assistance 
is made available under the MSA statute) a voluntary desegregation 
plan. In addition to the particular data and other items for required 
and voluntary plans, described separately in the information that 
follows, an application must include:
    Signed assurances (included in the application package);
    A copy of the applicant's plan; and
    An assurance that the plan is being implemented or will be 
implemented if the application is funded.

Required Plans

    1. Plans Required by a Court Order:
    An applicant that submits a plan required by a court must submit 
complete and signed copies of the plan.
    2. Plans Required by a State Agency or Official of Competent 
    An applicant submitting a plan ordered by a State agency or 
official of competent jurisdiction must provide documentation that 
shows that the plan was ordered based upon a determination that State 
law was violated. In the absence of this documentation, the applicant 
should consider its plan to be a voluntary plan and submit the data and 
information necessary for voluntary plans.
3. Title VI Required Plans:
    An applicant that submits a plan required by the Office of Civil 
Rights under Title VI must submit a complete copy of the plan.

Voluntary Plans

    A voluntary plan must be approved each time an application is 
submitted for funding. Even if ED has approved a voluntary plan in an 
LEA in the past, the plan must be resubmitted to ED for approval as 
part of the application.
    An applicant submitting a voluntary plan must include in its 
application a copy of a school board resolution or other evidence of 
final official action adopting and implementing the plan, or agreeing 
to adopt and implement the plan upon the award of assistance.

Narrow Tailoring

    The purposes of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program include the 
reduction, elimination or prevention of minority group isolation. In 
many instances, in order to carry out these purposes, districts take 
race into account in assigning students to schools. In order to meet 
the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, applicants 
submitting voluntary plans that involve the use of race in decision 
making must ensure that the use of race satisfies strict scrutiny. That 
is, the use of race must be narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling 
interest in reducing, eliminating, or preventing minority group 
    In order for the Department to make a determination that a 
voluntary plan involving a racial classification is adequate under 
Title VI the plan must be narrowly tailored. Among the considerations 
that affect a determination of whether the use of race in a voluntary 
plan is narrowly tailored are (1) whether the district tried or 
seriously considered race-neutral alternatives and determined that the 
measures have not been or would not be similarly effective, before 
resorting to race-conscious action; (2) the scope and flexibility of 
the use of race, including

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whether it is subject to a waiver; (3) the manner in which race is 
used, that is, whether race determines eligibility for a program or 
whether race is just one factor in the decision making process; (4) the 
duration of the use of race and whether it is subject to periodic 
review; and (5) the degree and type of burden imposed on students of 
other races.
    Each of the considerations set out above should be specifically 
considered in framing a district's strategy. Some examples follow, 
although it must be recognized that the legal standards in this area 
are developing.


    Before resorting to race-conscious action, school districts must 
try or seriously consider race-neutral alternatives and determine that 
they have not been or would not be similarly effective. For example, it 
may be possible to broaden the appeal of a given school by aggressively 
publicizing it, making application to it as easy as possible, and 
broadening the geographic area from which the school is intended to 

Use of Racial Criteria in Admissions

    It may be permissible to establish a procedure whereby race is 
taken into account in admissions only if race-neutral steps are 
considered and a determination is made that they would not prove 
similarly effective. Racial caps are the most difficult use of race to 
justify under a narrow tailoring analysis.
    The decision to consider race in admission decisions should be made 
on a school-by-school basis.

Scope and Flexibility

    Over time, the enrollment at a school may become stable and the 
school may attract a diverse group of students. At this point, use of 
race as a factor in admissions may no longer be necessary.
    In some instances, exceptions to the use of race in admissions--
where a relatively small number of students are adversely affected and 
their admission will not substantially affect the racial composition of 
the program--should be available.

Duration of the Program and Reexamination of the Use of Criteria

    The school or school district should formally review the steps it 
has taken which involve the use of race on a regular basis, such as on 
an annual basis, to determine whether the use of race is still needed, 
or should be modified.

Effect on Students of Other Races

    Where there are a number of schools involved in the voluntary plan, 
it may also be possible to assign students to a comparable school, if 
they are unable to gain admission to their first preference.
    Innovative Programs are exempt from certain provisions of the MSA 
statute, including section 5103 (Program Authorized), section 5106 
(Applications and Requirements), section 5107 (Priority), and section 
5108 (Use of Funds). Other MSA statute requirements apply to 
applications submitted under Innovative Programs. For example, under 
section 5109, grants may not be used for transportation or any activity 
that does not augment academic improvement and under section 5110, a 
grantee may not expend more than 50 percent of the funds received for 
the first year of the project for planning, not more than 15 percent of 
grant funds for the second year, and not more than 10 percent of the 
grant funds for the third year.

Selection Criteria:

    The selection criteria are included in full in the application 
package for this competition. These selection criteria were established 
based on the regulations for evaluating discretionary grants found in 
34 CFR 75.200 through 75.210.
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Room 3E112, 
Washington, DC 20202-6140. Telephone (202) 260-2476. Individuals who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 
p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request of the contact person listed in the preceding 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application 
package in an alternate format, also, by contacting that person. 
However, the Department is not able to reproduce in an alternate format 
the standard forms included in the application package.

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 previous 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 this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C.7211.

    Dated: January 7, 1999.
Gerald N. Tirozzi,
Assistant Secretary, Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 99-662 Filed 1-11-99; 8:45 am]