[Federal Register: March 31, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 61)]
[Notices]               
[Page 15439-15440]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr31mr03-63]                         

Download: PDF Version

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Proposed Extension of Project Period and Waiver

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed extension of project period and waiver.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to waive the requirements in Education 
Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), at 34 CFR 75.250 
and 75.261(a), that generally prohibit project periods exceeding 5 
years and project extensions involving the obligation of additional 
Federal funds to enable the currently-funded Regional Resource Centers 
(RRCs) to receive funding from June 1, 2003 until May 31, 2004.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 30, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments concerning this proposal to Debra 
Sturdivant or Marie Roane, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW., room 3527, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2641. If 
you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the 
following address:

Debra.Sturdivant@ed.gov or
Marie.Roane@ed.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Debra Sturdivant, Telephone: (202) 
205-8038, or Marie Roane, Telephone: (202) 205-8451.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) 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 persons listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed extension 
of project period and waiver.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this extension of project period and waiver in room 
3727, Switzer Building, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC, between the 
hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of 
each week except Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 
Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for this proposed extension of project period and 
waiver. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, 
you may call (202) 205-8113 or (202) 260-9895. If you use a TDD, you 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

Background

    On February 24, 1998, we published in the Federal Register (63 FR 
9376-9378) a notice inviting applications for new awards under the 
Regional Resource Center Program for Fiscal Year 1998. Based on this 
notice, the Department made six awards of 56 months under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA). Section 685 of IDEA authorizes the Secretary to support the 
establishment of Regional Resource Centers (RRCs). These Centers 
provide technical assistance and information that support States and 
local agencies 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. The grant period for the six centers ends May 31, 2003.
    In order to carry out activities related to implementing an 
initiative of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to 
identify and disseminate alternative approaches to identifying children 
with learning disabilities, it is necessary to issue continuation 
awards to the existing grantees. Specifically, the current RRCs are 
helping to conduct a survey in each of their regions to collect 
information on the ways that States identify children with learning 
disabilities.
    In particular, the Secretary plans for the RRCs to work with staff 
of OSEP, the Kennedy Center Research Program on Learning Accommodations 
for Individuals with Special Needs at Vanderbilt University, State 
educational agencies, regional in-state technical assistance systems 
and other State and local agencies to:
    (1) Develop a coordinated plan for identifying sites within each 
RRC region using alternative approaches for identification of children 
with learning disabilities;
    (2) Assist in efforts to provide or gather evidence of the value of 
more effective approaches for addressing the needs of children with 
learning disabilities; and
    (3) Use research-based dissemination, training, and technical 
assistance to extend and increase effective practices in the area of 
learning disabilities.
    The RRCs will also work with centers providing technical assistance 
to projects funded under the Training and Information for Parents of 
Children with Disabilities program to continue to foster improved 
collaboration on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and IDEA, which 
will improve results for children with disabilities.
    In addition, the Secretary plans for the RRCs to provide continued 
assistance to State educational agencies for Part B and the lead 
agencies for Part C in each region to support their implementation of 
continuous improvement and focused monitoring activities.

Reasons

    There is an immediate need to provide training and information to 
the populations that will be targeted by these efforts. Providing 
continuous support to existing grantees will help ensure the success of 
these efforts by avoiding the possible disruption or interruption of 
activities resulting from a change in grantees. Waiting until after a 
new RRC competition to begin this important work 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 IDEA Amendments of 1997 and are best suited to 
conduct this effort. We have determined that an additional period of 
time is needed to begin the additional technical assistance and 
training activities described in this notice.
    Therefore, the Secretary proposes to issue continuation awards to 
the current grantees for twelve (12) months. A one-year time extension 
beginning June 1,

[[Page 15440]]

2003 thru May 31, 2004 is being proposed to ensure the successful 
completion of the projects. However, to do so, the Secretary must waive 
the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250 and 75.261(c)(2), which prohibit 
project periods exceeding 5 years and period extensions that involve 
the obligation of additional Federal funds. We are proposing a waiver 
at this time in order to give the affected grantees early notice of the 
availability of an additional twelve months of funding.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waiver and extension of 
the project period will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The only small entities that 
would be affected are the six RRCs.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This extension and waiver does not contain any information 
collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to the requirements of 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
    Department of Education documents published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/legislation/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.

    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.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html
.


(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.326, Technical 
Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for 
Children with Disabilities.)
    Dated: March 25, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-7690 Filed 3-28-03; 8:45 am]

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