[Federal Register: March 26, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 58)]
[Notices]               
[Page 14789-14791]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr26mr98-143]


[[Page 14789]]

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Part III


Department of Education

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Regional Resource and Federal Center Programs; Notice


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Regional Resource and Federal Center Programs

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed waiver and additional activities.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to waive the requirements in EDGAR at 
34 CFR 75.261 as applied to the currently-funded Regional Resource 
Centers and to require the Centers to carry out certain additional 
activities. Section 75.261 sets forth the conditions for extending a 
project period, including the general prohibition against extending 
projects that involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. The 
Secretary proposes to issue continuation awards to the Regional 
Resource Center Programs in order to ensure the most efficient use of 
Federal funds. The Department is therefore soliciting public comment on 
the proposed waiver and the new activities that the RRCs would 
undertake.

DATES: Comments must be received on April 27, 1998.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning this proposal should be addressed to 
Debra Sturdivant or Marie Roane, U.S. Department of Education, 600 
Independence Avenue, SW., Room 3527, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 
20202-2641.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Debra Sturdivant, Telephone: (202) 
205-8038, or Marie Roane, Telephone: (202) 205-8451. Individuals who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 A.M. 
and 8:00 P.M. Eastern Standard 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 to the contact person listed in the preceding 
paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 14, 1992, the Department issued 
a Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards under the Regional 
Resource Center Program for Fiscal Year 1992. In this notice the 
Department announced that it would make six awards of up to 60 months 
under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) and the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (IDEA), which directed the Secretary to support the 
establishment of Regional Centers that provide consultation, technical 
assistance and training to State educational agencies and, through 
those State educational agencies, to local educational agencies and to 
other appropriate public agencies providing special education and 
related services and early intervention services.
    The grant period for the six centers ends May 31, 1998. In order to 
carry out activities relating to implementation of the IDEA Amendments 
of 1997 as stated by the Senate Appropriations Committee in its report 
accompanying the Department's fiscal year 1998 appropriations act, it 
is necessary to issue continuation awards to the existing grantees. 
Specifically, the Senate report states that the Secretary should 
provide training and disseminate information to State and local 
administrators, teachers, related services personnel, parents of 
children with disabilities, and other appropriate parties on the 
implementation of the 1997 amendments.
    The Department is utilizing a number of strategies to carry out 
this directive. Because the Regional Resource Centers (RRCs) have a 
primary role in assisting States in implementing the IDEA Amendments of 
1997, these organizations are well-positioned to play a key part in 
this training and information effort. In particular, the Secretary 
plans for the RRCs to conduct a series of regional institutes for 
educational excellence. The purposes of the regional institutes are:
    (1) To ensure that State education agency personnel, local school 
personnel and parents receive high-quality, accurate training on the 
IDEA Amendments of 1997 in order to improve results for students with 
disabilities through improved teaching and learning;
    (2) To build field support as part of the implementation of the 
IDEA Amendments of 1997 that is community-based and grounded in the 
context of improving schooling and results for children; and
    (3) To ensure the involvement of State education agencies, local 
school personnel, parents, Office of Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)--supported technical assistance and 
dissemination services, State technical assistance providers, and 
topical research centers in the development of strategies and models to 
implement the IDEA Amendments of 1997.
    Because the regional institutes would be held during the summer of 
1998, the project period for the current Regional Resource Centers must 
be extended to enable the RRCs to both plan and conduct the institutes. 
The Secretary believes that it is essential that the RRCs conduct the 
institutes given the RRCs technical assistance expertise and experience 
in carrying out similar activities.
    Based on the foregoing, the Secretary believes that it makes the 
most programmatic sense and is the most efficient use of Federal funds 
to issue continuation awards. However, to do so, the Department must 
waive the requirements in EDGAR at 34 CFR 75.261 as well as provide for 
the new activities stated in this notice. That provision includes a 
prohibition against project period extensions that involve the 
obligation of additional Federal funds.

Reasons

    There is an immediate need to provide training and information to 
the populations that will be targeted by the regional institutes. 
Waiting until after a new RRC competition to hold the institutes would 
severely hinder the Department's efforts to address the critical needs 
that are now present in the regions. The current RRCs have already 
conducted extensive training and information activities related to 
State implementation of the Amendments and are best suited to conduct 
the regional institutes.
    Therefore, the Department proposes to issue continuation awards to 
the current grantees for four (4) months.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waiver and additional 
activities would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    The small entities that would be affected by this proposal are the 
six Centers currently receiving Federal funds. However, the proposal 
would not have a significant economic impact on the Centers because the 
waiver and additional activities would not impose excessive regulatory 
burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision. The proposal would 
impose minimal requirements to ensure the proper expenditure of program 
funds, including requirements that are standard to continuation awards.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980

    This proposal has been examined under the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1980 and have been found to contain no information collection 
requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is 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 intergovernmental

[[Page 14791]]

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 
this program.

Invitation To Comment

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments and 
recommendations regarding this proposed waiver and additional 
activities.
    All comments submitted in response to this proposal will be 
available for public inspection, during and after the comment period, 
in room 3521, 300 ``C'' Street, S.W., Washington, D.C., between the 
hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday of each week 
except Federal holidays.

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:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/fedreg.htm
http://www.ed.gov/news.html

    To use the pdf you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
Search, which is available free at either of the preceding 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.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.028, Technical 
Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for 
Children with Disabilities)

    Dated: March 20, 1998.
Curtis L. Richards,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 98-7831 Filed 3-25-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P