FR Doc 05-12225
[Federal Register: June 21, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 118)]
[Notices]               
[Page 35652-35655]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Safe and Drug-Free Schools Programs, Final Priority and Other 
Application Requirements

AGENCY: Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority and other application requirements.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools 
announces a priority and other application requirements under the 
Emergency Response and Crisis Management Grants program. We may use 
this priority and these application requirements for competitions in 
fiscal

[[Page 35653]]

year (FY) 2005 and later years. We take this action to focus Federal 
financial assistance on an identified national need. We intend the 
priority to support grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to 
improve and strengthen emergency response and crisis management plans.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The priority and other application requirements are 
effective July 21, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Strizzi, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3E320, Washington, DC 20202. 
Telephone: (202) 708-4850 or via Internet: sara.strizzi@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The events of September 11, 2001, made 
schools and communities aware that, in addition to planning for 
traditional crises and emergencies, schools must now plan to respond to 
possible terrorist attacks on campus or in the community. The purpose 
of this program is to support LEA projects to improve and strengthen 
emergency response and crisis management plans, at the district and 
school-building level, addressing the four phases of crisis planning: 
Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Plans must 
include: (1) training for school personnel and students in emergency 
response procedures; (2) coordination with local law enforcement, 
public safety, public health, and mental health agencies; and (3) a 
method for communicating school emergency response policies and 
reunification procedures to parents and guardians.
    We published a notice of proposed priority and other application 
requirements for this program in the Federal Register on April 14, 2005 
(70 FR 19736).

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed priority 
and other application requirements, three parties submitted comments on 
the proposed priority and application requirements. An analysis of the 
comments and of any changes in the priority and other application 
requirements since publication of the notice of proposed priority and 
other application requirements follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes and 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority.
    Comment: One commenter requested clarification regarding the 
implementation date of September 30, 2005 for requirements under the 
National Incident Management System (NIMS). The commenter noted that 
the proposed July 29, 2005 application due date does not allow adequate 
time to complete implementation of the NIMS requirements by September 
30, 2005.
    Discussion: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has 
established minimum NIMS compliance activities and deadlines for the 
State, territorial, and local levels for FY 2005, which ends on 
September 30, 2005. The activities and deadlines listed in the notice 
of proposed priority and other application requirements reflected these 
requirements. However, as FY 2005 is a start-up year for NIMS 
implementation, full compliance with the NIMS is not a requirement to 
receive FY 2005 grant funds. LEAs that have not completed all FY 2005 
NIMS requirements by September 30, 2005 should leverage preparedness 
assistance to complete NIMS implementation by September 30, 2006.
    Change: We have revised the priority to clarify NIMS implementation 
deadlines. The priority now allows for LEAs that have not completed all 
FY 2005 NIMS requirements by September 30, 2005 to complete 
implementation of the requirements during FY 2006.
    Comment: One commenter suggested substituting ``local public health 
agencies'' for ``local health agencies'' in the priority and 
application requirements.
    Discussion: We agree that the priority and other application 
requirements would be clearer with the change recommended by the 
commenter. The term ``public health'' is used consistently at the 
Federal, State, and local levels to describe an agency or entity that 
performs essential functions including public health programs, 
activities, or services. Public health agencies are directly 
responsible for critical aspects related to emergency planning and 
response. According to DHS, public health agencies are the primary 
entities responsible for conducting one or more of the following 
functions or activities: monitoring health status to identify community 
health problems; diagnosing and investigating health problems and 
health hazards in the community; informing, educating and empowering 
people about health issues; mobilizing community partnerships to 
identify and solve health problems; developing policies and plans that 
support individual and community health efforts; enforcing laws and 
regulations that protect health and ensure safety; evaluating the 
effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-
based health services; and researching for new insights and innovative 
solutions to health problems. The term ``public health agencies'' more 
accurately reflects the role of the health care system in emergency 
planning and response.
    Change: We have substituted ``local public health agencies'' for 
``local health agencies'' in the priority and application requirements.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the priority allow for 
funding State educational agencies (SEAs) in order to encourage 
standardization and involvement at the State level as well as the local 
level.
    Discussion: Generally, we believe that LEAs are better positioned 
to support the development of emergency response and crisis management 
plans that are specific to individual school sites--the primary focus 
of this grant program. LEAs must identify local first responders and 
mental health professionals to help schools respond to crises and to 
support students and their families and staff in the recovery process. 
LEAs also work with schools directly in developing plans that address 
unique local threats and conditions. While some issues associated with 
response and recovery lend themselves to a degree of standardization 
(for example selection of communication equipment and communication 
protocols), even standardized processes or plans must be modified to 
address unique local needs and issues. We believe that SEAs have a very 
significant and valuable role to play in the development of Statewide 
or regional protocols, practices, and templates related to crisis 
prevention, response and recovery, but that those plans must be adapted 
and practiced at the LEA and school building level if they are to 
provide school personnel and other first responders with the skills and 
confidence they need to effectively manage a crisis situation. We 
encourage SEAs to work in collaboration with individual districts and 
to provide guidance as needed.
    Change: None.


    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority and other application

[[Page 35654]]

requirements, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal 
Register. When inviting applications we designate the priority as 
absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. The effect of 
each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the competitive priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that 
does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Priority

Improvement and Strengthening of School Emergency Response and Crisis 
Management Plans

    The priority supports local educational agency (LEA) projects to 
improve and strengthen emergency response and crisis management plans, 
at the district and school-building level addressing the four phases of 
crisis planning: Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and 
Recovery. Plans must include: (1) Training for school personnel and 
students in emergency response procedures; (2) coordination with local 
law enforcement, public safety, public health, and mental health 
agencies; and (3) a method for communicating school emergency response 
policies and reunification procedures to parents and guardians.

Other Application Requirements

    1. Partner Agreements. To be considered for a grant award, an 
applicant must include in its application an agreement that details the 
participation of each of the following five community-based partners: 
Law enforcement, public safety, public health, mental health, and the 
head of the applicant's local government (for example the mayor, city 
manager, or county executive). The agreement must include a description 
of each partner's roles and responsibilities in improving and 
strengthening emergency response plans at the district and school-
building level, a description of each partner's commitment to the 
continuation and continuous improvement of emergency response plans at 
the district and school-building level, and an authorized signature 
representing the LEA and each partner acknowledging the agreement. If 
one or more of the five partners listed is not present in the 
applicant's community, or cannot feasibly participate, the agreement 
must explain the absence of each missing partner. To be considered 
eligible for funding, however, an application must include a signed 
agreement between the LEA, a law enforcement partner, and at least one 
of the other required partners (public safety, public health, mental 
health, or head of local government).
    Applications that fail to include the required agreement, including 
information on partners' roles and responsibilities and on their 
commitment to continuation and continuous improvement (with signatures 
and explanations for missing signatures as specified above), will not 
be read.
    Although this program requires partnerships with other parties, 
administrative direction and fiscal control for the project must remain 
with the LEA.
    2. Coordination with State or Local Homeland Security Plan. All 
emergency response and crisis management plans must be coordinated with 
the Homeland Security Plan of the State or locality in which the LEA is 
located. All States submitted such a plan to the Department of Homeland 
Security on January 30, 2004. To ensure that emergency services are 
coordinated, and to avoid duplication of effort within States and 
localities, applicants must include in their applications an assurance 
that the LEA will coordinate with, and follow, the requirements of 
their State or local Homeland Security Plan for emergency services and 
initiatives.
    3. Support of the National Incident Management System. Applicants 
also must agree to support the implementation of the National Incident 
Management System (NIMS). In accordance with Homeland Security 
Presidential Directive/HSPD-5, the NIMS provides a consistent approach 
for Federal, State, and local governments to work effectively and 
efficiently together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover 
from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.
    LEAs, working in collaboration with State and local resources, are 
encouraged to achieve full NIMS implementation by September 30, 2005. 
To the extent that full compliance is not possible by September 30, 
2005, LEAs, working in coordination with State and local resources, 
should leverage federal preparedness assistance to complete NIMS 
implementation by September 30, 2006. To be considered eligible for 
funding, an application must include an assurance that the LEA has 
completed, or will complete by September 30, 2006, the following steps 
to support NIMS implementation:
     Administer the NIMS Awareness Course: ``National Incident 
Management System (NIMS), An Introduction'' (IS 700) to key district 
and school staff. This independent study course, developed by the 
Emergency Management Institute (EMI), explains the purpose, principles, 
key components, and benefits of the NIMS. The course is available 
online and will take between forty-five minutes to three hours to 
complete. The course is available on the EMI Web site at: 
http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is700.asp
     Formally recognize the NIMS and adopt NIMS principles and 

policies. Districts and/or their local government should establish an 
executive order, resolution, or ordinance to formally adopt the NIMS.
     Establish a NIMS baseline to determine which NIMS 
requirements have been met by the LEA. Districts should coordinate with 
their community partners to assess the district's overall compliance 
with the NIMS, and determine gaps in compliance that need to be closed 
in order to reach full implementation of the NIMS.
     Establish a timeframe and strategy for full NIMS 
implementation.
     Establish the use of the Incident Command System (ICS). 
The ICS has been established by the NIMS as the standardized incident 
organizational structure for the management of all incidents. Districts 
should coordinate with community partners listed above in 
institutionalizing the use of the ICS in a manner that is consistent 
with the concepts and principles in the NIMS.


    Note: Since LEAs are integral to local governments, an LEA's 
NIMS compliance must be achieved in close coordination with the 
local government and with recognition of the first responder 
capabilities held by the LEA and the local government. As LEAs are 
not traditional response organizations, first responder services 
will typically be provided to LEAs by local fire and rescue 
departments, emergency medical service providers, and law 
enforcement agencies. This traditional relationship must be 
acknowledged in achieving NIMS compliance in an integrated NIMS 
compliance plan for the local government and the LEA. LEA 
participation in the NIMS preparedness program of the local 
government is essential to ensure that first responder services are 
delivered to

[[Page 35655]]

schools in a timely and effective manner. Additional information 
about NIMS implementation is available at http://www.fema.gov/nims.



    4. Individuals with Disabilities. The applicant's plan must 
demonstrate that the applicant has taken into consideration the 
communication, transportation, and medical needs of individuals with 
disabilities within the school district.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of final priority and other application requirements 
has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the 
terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits 
of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the notice of final priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of final priority and other application 
requirements, we have determined that the benefits of the final 
priority and other application requirements justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    We summarized the costs and benefits in the notice of proposed 
priority and other application requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.
    You may also view this document in text or PDF at the following 
sites:  http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan, http://www.ed.gov/programs/dvpemergencyresponse/index.html.


    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html
.


(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.184.E-Emergency 
Response and Crisis Management Grant program.)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7131.

    Dated: June 16, 2005.
Deborah A. Price,
Asistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
[FR Doc. 05-12225 Filed 6-20-05; 8:45 am]

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