FR Doc 06-5272
[Federal Register: June 9, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 111)]
[Page 33577-33579]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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Part IV

Department of Education


Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview 
Information; State Personnel Development Grants Program; Notice 
Inviting Applications for New Awards for FY 2005 (to be Awarded in FY 
2006); Notice

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Office of Special Education Programs--State Personnel Development 
Grants Program

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority for State Personnel Development Grants 


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Office of Special 
Education Programs--State Personnel Development Grants Program 
authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA). This priority may be used for competitions held in fiscal year 
(FY) 2006 and later years. We take this action to assist State 
educational agencies (SEAs) in reforming and improving their systems 
for personnel preparation and professional development in early 
intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve 
results for children with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective July 10, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Wexler, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4019, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7571 or via Internet:

    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 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the State Personnel 
Development Grants (SPDG) program is to assist SEAs in reforming and 
improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional 
development in early intervention, educational, and transition services 
in order to improve results for children with disabilities. The SPDG 
program provides a vehicle for helping States to ensure that SEAs and 
local educational agencies (LEAs) take steps to recruit, hire, and 
retain highly qualified special education teachers and to ensure that 
the professional development of special education teachers and other 
personnel is aimed at providing them with the knowledge and skills to 
deliver scientifically-based instruction that is likely to improve 
outcomes for children with disabilities.
    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for this program 
in the Federal Register on March 2, 2006 (71 FR 10656). The NPP 
included a background statement that described our rationale for 
proposing this priority. There are no differences between the NPP and 
this notice of final priority (NFP).

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, two parties submitted 
comments on the NPP. An analysis of the comments follows.
    Comment: One commenter asked that the focus of the SPDG be expanded 
to include the opportunity for a State to work with LEAs to meet the 
measurable and rigorous targets of its State Performance Plan (SPP). In 
particular, the commenter requested that SPDG grantees be permitted to 
use funds to assist LEAs to read and understand data so that they can 
make improvements in student outcome areas, such as dropout, 
graduation, post-high school education and suspension and expulsion.
    Discussion: SEAs applying for assistance under the SPDG program 
must ensure that their applications are for activities that are 
allowable under section 654 of the Act and consistent with the final 
priority established in this NFP. Under this priority, professional 
development activities, including training to assist personnel (as 
defined in section 651(b)) to read, understand, and use data as 
identified by the commenter, are an allowable use of funds if they are 
conducted for purposes of improving the knowledge and skills of 
personnel in the use of scientifically based instruction to improve 
results for students with disabilities, or the recruitment, retention, 
and training of highly qualified special education teachers. We do not 
believe that it is necessary to make the change that the commenter is 
suggesting because under the priority established in this NFP, SPDG 
program funds can be expended for a range of allowable activities 
conducted at the SEA and LEA levels relating to personnel preparation 
and professional development aimed at improving results for students 
with disabilities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter supported the priority, but suggested that 
further examination of the connection between professional development 
and improved student outcomes is needed. This commenter also requested 
the opportunity to review any efforts supported by State Improvement 
Grant (SIG), SPDG or other similar projects that have linked 
professional development to improved student outcomes.
    Discussion: As part of their evaluation, projects funded under the 
SPDG program are encouraged, but not required, to demonstrate a 
relationship between project activities and student outcomes. SIG and 
SPDG annual performance reports, which can be found at:
, describe efforts demonstrating 

a relationship between professional development activities and improved 
student outcomes.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, 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 preference priority 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets 
the competitive preference priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    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)).


    The Assistant Secretary establishes a priority to assist SEAs in 
reforming and improving their personnel preparation and professional 
development systems for teachers, principals, administrators, related 
services personnel, paraprofessionals, and early intervention 
personnel. The intent of this priority is to improve educational 
results for children with disabilities through the delivery of high 
quality instruction and the recruitment, hiring and retention of highly 
qualified special education teachers.
    In order to meet this priority an applicant must demonstrate that 
the project for which it seeks funding--(1) Provides professional 
development activities that improve the knowledge and skills of 
personnel as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA in delivering 
scientifically-based instruction to meet

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the needs of, and improve the performance and achievement of infants, 
toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities; (2) Implements 
practices to sustain the knowledge and skills of personnel who have 
received training in scientifically-based instruction; and (3) 
Implements strategies that are effective in promoting the recruitment, 
hiring, and retention of highly qualified special education teachers in 
accordance with section 602(10) and section 612(a)(14) of IDEA.
    Projects funded under this priority must also:
    (a) Budget for a three-day Project Directors' meeting in 
Washington, DC during each year of the project;
    (b) Budget $4,000 annually for support of the State Personnel 
Development Grants Program Web site currently administered by the 
University of Oregon (; and

    (c) If a project receiving assistance under this program authority 
maintains a Web site, include relevant information and documents in a 
form that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for 

Executive Order 12866

    This NFP 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 NFP 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 NFP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the final priority 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.

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.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 300.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site:

    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.

    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:

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.323A State Personnel 
Development Grants)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1451-1455.

    Dated: June 6, 2006.
John H. Hager,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 06-5272 Filed 6-8-06; 8:45 am]