FR Doc 05-14948
[Federal Register: July 27, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 143)]
[Notices]               
[Page 43403-43404]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of 
Education; Notice of Funding of Continuation Grants and Waiver for the 
Career Resources Network (CRN) Program

SUMMARY: The Secretary waives the requirements in Education Department 
General Administrative Regulations, in 34 CFR 75.250, that generally 
prohibit project periods exceeding five years and announces the funding 
of continuation grants for the CRNs. This waiver enables the current, 
eligible CRNs, which implement Statewide, systemic strategies for 
providing career information resources, to continue to receive Federal 
funding beyond the five-year limitation.

DATES: This notice is effective July 27, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon A. Jones, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 11108, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-7120. Telephone (202) 245-7803.
    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: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) 
(5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the 
opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, on July 14, 
2005, in accordance with section 553(b) of the APA, the Department gave 
actual notice to all current, eligible CRN grantees of our proposal to 
waive 34 CFR 75.250 and to fund continuation grants instead of holding 
a new grant competition, and invited comments on our proposal. This 
waiver enables the Secretary to provide additional funds to all 
current, eligible grantees for additional periods for as long as 
Congress continues to appropriate funds for the existing statutory 
program and during any transition to a new statutory authority. There 
are no substantive differences between the actual notice of our 
proposal and this notice of funding of continuation grants and waiver. 
Therefore, all affected parties were provided actual notice of the 
Department's proposal and an opportunity to comment in lieu of 
publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.

Comment

    In response to the actual notice of proposed funding of 
continuation grants and waiver, and our invitation to comment, thirteen 
parties submitted comments supporting the proposed waiver and the 
proposal to fund continuation grants for all current, eligible 
grantees. We did not receive any comments opposing the proposed waiver 
and proposal to fund continuation grants, and, therefore, no 
substantive changes have been made.

Waiver of Delayed Effective Date

    The APA requires that a substantive rule shall be published at 
least 30 days before its effective date, except as otherwise provided 
for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). We provided all 57 affected 
entities an opportunity to submit comments on the Secretary's proposal 
to waive 34 CFR 75.250 in order to continue eligible current grants. 
All comments received supported our proposal. In addition, given the 
fact that the extension of the project period is only for as long as 
Congress continues to appropriate funds for the existing statutory 
program or during a transition to any new statutory authority, and in 
order to make timely continuation grants to the entities affected, the 
Secretary has determined that a delayed effective date is unnecessary 
and contrary to the public interest.

Background

    The CRN program supports the implementation of Statewide, systemic 
strategies for providing career information resources, as authorized by 
section 118(a) of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical 
Education Act of 1998 (Perkins Act) (20 U.S.C. 2328(a)). The Congress 
is now in the process of reauthorizing the Perkins Act, and we do not 
believe it would be in the public interest to hold a new competition 
until Congress concludes that process.

[[Page 43404]]

    Eligible applicants for fiscal year (FY) 2005 funds under the CRN 
program are the entities designated by the Governor and the eligible 
agency under Title I of the Perkins Act for each of the 50 States, the 
Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of 
Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern 
Marianna Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The designated entities in 
the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of 
Micronesia are no longer eligible to receive funds under the CRN 
program and therefore cannot receive continuation grants from funds 
appropriated for FY 2005 or subsequent fiscal years, pursuant to 48 
U.S.C. 1921d(f)(1)(B)(iii).
    The nature of the CRN program, in which the universe of eligible 
applicants is defined in the law and all eligible entities are funded, 
allowed us to provide actual notice in lieu of publishing a notice of 
proposed rulemaking, consistent with section 553(b) of the APA. 
Pursuant to the requirements of section 553(b) of the APA, and in order 
to make timely grant awards in FY 2005, on July 14, 2005, we contacted 
CRN grantees directly and provided them actual notice of, and requested 
their comments on, our proposal to waive 34 CFR 75.250 and fund 
continuation grants.
    To avoid a lapse in the availability of career resources and 
related services and activities provided by the CRN grantees, the 
Secretary waives the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit 
project periods exceeding five years. With this waiver we can continue 
the CRN grants of all current, eligible grantees for as long as 
Congress continues to appropriate funds for the existing statutory 
program authority and during a transition to any new statutory program 
authority. It would be contrary to the public interest to have a lapse 
in CRN projects, especially as they are preparing for a new school 
year. This waiver of 34 CFR 75.250 means that: (1) current CRN grants 
will be continued at least through FY 2005 and possibly beyond, if 
Congress continues to appropriate funds for the CRN program under the 
current statutory authority or provides for a transition to any new 
statutory authority, and (2) we will not announce a new competition or 
make new awards in FY 2005.
    We waived the requirements of 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which prohibit 
project period extensions involving the obligation of additional 
Federal funds, in a notice published in the Federal Register on July 
31, 2002 (67 FR 49852). The waiver of 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2) is still in 
effect; therefore, we are not waiving this requirement in this notice.
    The waivers of 34 CFR 75.250 and 75.261(c)(2) do not exempt current 
CRN grantees from the account closing provisions of 31 U.S.C. 1552(a), 
nor do they extend the availability of funds previously awarded to 
current CRN grantees. As a result of 31 U.S.C. 1552(a), appropriations 
available for a limited period may be used for payment of valid 
obligations for only five years after the expiration of their period of 
availability for Federal obligation. After that time, the unexpended 
balance of those funds is canceled and returned to the Treasury 
Department and is unavailable for restoration for any purpose.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that this notice of funding of continuation 
grants and waiver will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The only entities that would be 
affected are the 57 current, eligible CRN grantees.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This notice of funding of continuation grants 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. The objective of the 
Executive Order is to foster an intergovernmental 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, we intend this document to provide 
early notification of the Department's specific plans and actions for 
this program.

Assessment of Educational Impact

    Based on our own review, we have determined that this notice of 
funding of continuation grants and waiver does not require transmission 
of information that any other agency or authority of the United States 
gathers or makes available.

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/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.

    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: 84.346 Career 
Resource Network State Grants)
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 2328.

    Dated: July 22, 2005.
Susan Sclafani,
Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.
[FR Doc. 05-14948 Filed 7-25-05; 1:28 pm]

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