FR Doc E9-20612[Federal Register: August 26, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 164)]
[Notices]               
[Page 43101-43114]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr26au09-38]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-2009-OESE-0010]
RIN 1810-AB06

 
School Improvement Grants--American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 
of 2009; Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

ACTION: Notice of proposed requirements.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Secretary of Education (Secretary) proposes 
requirements for School Improvement Grants authorized under section 
1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
1965, as amended (ESEA), and funded through both the Department of 
Education Appropriations Act, 2009 and the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The proposed requirements would define 
the criteria that a State educational agency (SEA) must use to award 
school improvement funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) with the 
lowest-achieving Title I schools that demonstrate the greatest need for 
the funds and the strongest commitment to use those funds to provide 
adequate resources to their lowest-achieving Title I schools in order 
to raise substantially the achievement of the students attending those 
schools. The proposed requirements also would require an SEA to give 
priority, through a waiver under section 9401 of the ESEA, to LEAs that 
also wish to serve the lowest-achieving secondary schools that are 
eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds. Finally, the proposed 
requirements would require an SEA to award school improvement funds to 
eligible LEAs in amounts sufficient to enable the targeted schools to 
implement one of four specific proposed interventions.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before September 25, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments only 
one time in order to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. In 
addition, please include the Docket ID and the term ``School 
Improvement Grants'' at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov 
     to submit your comments electronically. Information 
on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency 
documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on 
the site under ``How To Use This Site.''
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed requirements, 
address them to Dr. Zollie Stevenson, Jr., U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3W230, Washington, DC 20202-
7241.
     Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments 
received from

[[Page 43102]]

members of the public (including those comments submitted by mail, 
commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these submissions 
available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters 
should be careful to include in their comments only information that 
they wish to make publicly available on the Internet.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Zollie Stevenson, Jr.; Telephone: 
(202) 260-0826 or by e-mail: Zollie.Stevenson@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. We are particularly interested in comments on the measures 
of accountability described in Section II.A.7 of the proposed 
requirements and whether they are appropriate measures for Tier I and 
Tier II schools that implement one of the interventions proposed in 
Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d of this notice. To ensure that your 
comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of final 
requirements, we urge you to identify clearly the specific proposed 
requirement that each comment addresses.
    We invite you also to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
requirements. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of this program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also 
inspect the comments in person in Room 3W100, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: In conjunction with Title I funds for school 
improvement reserved under section 1003(a) of the ESEA, School 
Improvement Grants under section 1003(g) of the ESEA are used to 
improve student achievement in Title I schools identified for 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring so as to enable those 
schools to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) and exit improvement 
status.
    Appropriations for School Improvement Grants have grown from $125 
million in fiscal year (FY) 2007 to $546 million in FY 2009. The ARRA 
provides an additional $3 billion for School Improvement Grants in FY 
2009. The proposed requirements in this notice would govern the total 
$3.546 billion in FY 2009 school improvement funds, an unprecedented 
sum with the potential to support implementation of the fundamental 
changes needed to turn around some of the Nation's lowest-achieving 
schools.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6303(g).

Background

Statutory Context

    Section 1003(g) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6303(g)) requires the 
Secretary to award School Improvement Grants to each SEA based on the 
SEA's proportionate share of the funds it receives under Title I, Parts 
A, C, and D of the ESEA. In turn, each SEA must provide subgrants to 
LEAs that apply for those funds to assist their Title I schools 
identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under 
section 1116 of the ESEA. This assistance is intended to help these 
schools implement reform strategies that result in substantially 
improved student achievement so that the schools can make AYP and exit 
improvement status.
    To receive school improvement funds under section 1003(g), an SEA 
must submit an application to the Department at such time, and 
containing such information, as the Secretary shall reasonably require. 
An SEA must allocate at least 95 percent of its school improvement 
funds directly to LEAs, although the SEA may, with the approval of the 
LEAs that would receive the funds, directly provide assistance in 
implementing school reform strategies or arrange for their provision 
through such other entities as school support teams or educational 
service agencies. A subgrant to an LEA must be of sufficient size and 
scope to support the activities required under section 1116 of the 
ESEA. An LEA's total subgrant may not be less than $50,000 or more than 
$500,000 per year for each participating Title I school in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring. An LEA's subgrant is renewable for 
two additional one-year periods if the LEA's schools are meeting, or 
are on track to meet, their student achievement goals.
    In awarding School Improvement Grants, an SEA must give priority to 
LEAs with the lowest-achieving schools that, in their application to 
the SEA, demonstrate (1) the greatest need for the funds and (2) the 
strongest commitment to ensuring that the funds are used to provide 
adequate resources to enable the lowest-achieving schools to meet their 
goals for substantially raising the achievement of their students.

Overview of the Secretary's Proposal

    The Secretary views the large FY 2009 investment in school 
improvement funds made possible by the ARRA as a historic opportunity 
to face education's most intractable challenge: turning around or 
closing down our Nation's most persistently low-achieving schools. 
Although there are noted examples of successful school reforms, the 
vast majority of the lowest performers have not changed course, either 
because they have received insufficient support or because 
interventions have been ineffective. The Secretary is committed to 
turning around over five years the 5,000 lowest-achieving schools 
nationwide, and School Improvement Grants are a centerpiece of that 
strategy.
    The Secretary's strategy includes identifying and serving the 
lowest-achieving Title I schools in each State; supporting only the 
most rigorous interventions that hold the promise of producing rapid 
improvements in student achievement and school culture; providing 
sufficient resources over several years to implement those 
interventions; and measuring progress in achieving results.

Identifying and Serving the Lowest-Achieving Title I Schools

    To drive school improvement funds to LEAs with the greatest need 
for those funds, the Secretary would require each SEA to identify three 
tiers of schools:
     Tier I: The lowest-achieving five percent of Title I 
schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the 
State, or the five

[[Page 43103]]

lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater.\1\
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    \1\ These are the same schools as the Secretary has proposed to 
target in the Race to the Top competitive grant program and has 
proposed that States report on under phase two of the State Fiscal 
Stabilization Fund (SFSF) under the ARRA.
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     Tier II: Equally low-achieving secondary schools (both 
middle and high schools) in the State that are eligible for, but do not 
receive, Title I funds.
     Tier III: The remaining Title I schools in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring that are not Tier I schools in the 
State. The Secretary encourages an SEA to develop criteria to further 
differentiate among the schools in Tier III, either in the State as a 
whole or within an LEA.

An LEA that wishes to receive a School Improvement Grant would submit 
an application to its SEA identifying which Tier I, Tier II, and Tier 
III schools it commits to serve. The SEA would give priority to LEAs 
serving Tier I and Tier II schools.

Supporting Only the Most Rigorous Interventions

    In order to ensure that the large influx of school improvement 
funds is used most effectively to improve outcomes for students, the 
Secretary proposes to require an LEA to use those funds to implement 
four specific interventions in the lowest-achieving schools intended to 
improve the management and effectiveness of these schools. Thus, in its 
application to the SEA, an LEA would be required to demonstrate its 
strong commitment to raising student achievement by implementing, in 
each Tier I and Tier II school, one of four rigorous interventions:
     Turnaround model, which would include, among other 
actions, replacing the principal and at least 50 percent of the 
school's staff, adopting a new governance structure, and implementing a 
new or revised instructional program.
     Restart model, in which an LEA would close the school and 
reopen it under the management of a charter school operator, a charter 
management organization (CMO), or an educational management 
organization (EMO) that has been selected through a rigorous review 
process.
     School closure, in which an LEA would close the school and 
enroll the students who attended the school in other, high-achieving 
schools in the LEA.
     Transformation model, which would address four specific 
areas critical to transforming the lowest-achieving schools.

An LEA with nine or more Tier I and Tier II schools would not be able 
to implement the same intervention in more than 50 percent of those 
schools.

Providing Sufficient Resources Over Several Years

    The Secretary believes that it takes substantial funds in 
combination with rigorous interventions to break the cycle of failure 
and raise student achievement substantially in the Nation's lowest-
achieving schools. Therefore, he would require the SEA to allocate 
sufficient school improvement funds to an LEA to match, as closely as 
possible, the LEA's budget for implementing one of the four proposed 
interventions in each Tier I and Tier II school and the costs 
associated with closing such schools, as well as for serving 
participating Tier III schools. An LEA's total grant award would 
contain funds for each Title I school in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring that the LEA intends to serve, including 
$500,000 per year for each Tier I school that will implement a 
turnaround, restart, or transformation model.\2\ Once an LEA receives 
its School Improvement Grant, it has the flexibility to spend more than 
$500,000 per year in its Tier I and Tier II schools so long as all 
schools identified in its application are served. Recognizing that it 
takes time to implement rigorous interventions and reap results in the 
most persistently low-achieving schools, the Secretary would waive the 
period of availability of school improvement funds beyond September 30, 
2011 so as to make those funds available to LEAs for three years.
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    \2\ An SEA may award school improvement funds to an LEA based 
only on the Title I participating schools that the LEA identifies in 
its application. Tier II schools would, thus, not generate any funds 
because they are not Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring; however, the LEA could serve them, through 
a waiver requested by the SEA, with the school improvement funds it 
receives.
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Measuring Progress in Achieving Results

    Because measuring progress is essential to knowing whether an 
intervention results in improved student achievement, the Secretary 
would require an LEA to establish three-year student achievement goals 
in reading/language arts and mathematics. The LEA would hold each Tier 
I and Tier II school it serves with school improvement funds annually 
accountable for meeting, or being on track to meet, those goals with 
respect to the achievement of all students in each school, as well as 
each subgroup of students identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7),\3\ and for 
making progress on the leading indicators of school reform.
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    \3\ The subgroups identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7) include 
students from major racial and ethnic groups, economically 
disadvantaged students, student with limited English proficiency, 
and students with disabilities.
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SEA Priorities for Awarding School Improvement Grants

    Section 1003(g)(6) of the ESEA requires an SEA, in allocating 
school improvement funds, to give priority to LEAs with the lowest-
achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the 
strongest commitment to carrying out the purposes of the program. 
Consistent with his focus on reforming or closing the 5,000 lowest-
achieving schools in the Nation over the next five years, the Secretary 
proposes to require an SEA that receives a School Improvement Grant to 
define the terms ``greatest need'' and ``strongest commitment'' as 
follows to help accomplish this goal.
    Greatest need. The Secretary would require an SEA to define three 
tiers of schools in identifying those LEAs with the greatest need for 
school improvement funds.
    Tier I schools: The Secretary proposes to require each SEA to 
identify the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State or the 
five lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is 
greater. These are schools for which the data indicate that overall 
student achievement is extremely low and that little or no progress has 
occurred over a number of years. Under the proposed requirements, a 
school has not made progress if its gains on the State's assessments in 
reading/language arts and mathematics in the ``all students'' category 
are less than the average gains of schools in the State on those 
assessments. The Secretary is targeting these schools because of the 
urgency to provide their students with a high-quality education. 
Indeed, in school year 2007-08, based on data reported by each State, 
the average percentage of students performing at the proficient level 
in the lowest-achieving 25 Title I-eligible schools in each State, 
aggregated for the Nation, was approximately 32 percent in reading/
language arts and 25 percent in mathematics. Moreover, in most cases, 
despite years of earlier efforts to turn around the performance

[[Page 43104]]

of these schools, they have failed to make sufficient progress in 
improving student achievement and continue, year after year, to turn 
out students who are unprepared for further education or the workforce. 
And in the case of secondary schools, these lowest-achieving schools 
contribute disproportionately to the more than 1 million students who 
drop out each year, too often permanently. This diminishes the 
educational and employment prospects of these young people who deserve 
the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be 
successful in life and to be productive citizens. For these reasons, 
the Secretary is proposing to use school improvement funds to transform 
fundamentally the lowest-achieving schools in each State.
    Tier II schools: The Secretary also proposes to require an SEA to 
identify secondary schools (both middle and high schools) that are 
equally as low-achieving as the State's Tier I schools and are eligible 
for, but do not receive, Title I funds. Low-achieving secondary schools 
often present unique resource, logistical, and pedagogical challenges 
that require rigorous interventions. There are close to 2,000 high 
schools in the country in which graduation is at best a 50/50 
proposition.\4\ However, Department data indicate that fewer than half 
of these schools currently receive Title I, Part A funds. In order to 
reverse this high dropout rate and drive the attainment of better 
outcomes for these students, the Secretary also proposes to target some 
of these extremely low-achieving secondary schools (both high schools 
and their middle school ``feeder'' schools) that are eligible for, but 
do not receive, Title I funds.
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    \4\ Balfanz, R. & Legters, N. (2004). Locating the dropout 
crisis: Which high schools produce the nation's dropouts? Where are 
they located? Who attends them? Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins 
University.
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    Because of the importance of identifying and intervening in Tier II 
schools, the Secretary encourages an SEA to apply for a waiver under 
section 9401 of the ESEA to enable its LEAs to serve such schools. Such 
a waiver is necessary because section 1003(g) of the ESEA authorizes an 
LEA to use school improvement funds only in Title I schools in 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. If the provisions 
proposed in this notice become final, an LEA would not be required to 
include Tier II schools in its application; however, including Tier II 
schools would enhance an LEA's likelihood of funding because, as 
proposed in this notice, the SEA would be required to give priority to 
an LEA that commits in its application to serve both Tier I and Tier II 
schools.
    Tier III schools: The Secretary proposes that all Title I schools 
in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are not Tier I 
schools would be Tier III schools. To urge LEAs to differentiate among 
these schools in their use of school improvement funds, the Secretary 
encourages an SEA to establish criteria to give priority to 
applications from LEAs that, after addressing the needs of their Tier I 
and Tier II schools, focus school improvement funds on a subset of 
their Tier III schools. For example, an SEA's criteria might target 
Tier III schools that are in the lowest-achieving sixth to tenth 
percentile in the State or might reward and provide public recognition 
for Tier III schools that would have been in the lowest-achieving five 
percent but have made progress over several years. Similarly, an SEA's 
criteria might focus on clusters of Tier III elementary schools that 
are feeder schools to Tier I or Tier II secondary schools.
    Strongest commitment. In awarding school improvement funds among 
the LEAs with schools in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III (i.e., those 
with the greatest need), the Secretary would require each SEA to give 
priority to those LEAs with the strongest commitment to use school 
improvement funds to implement one of four specific interventions 
described in this notice. These interventions are based on research 
that suggests that the lowest-achieving schools--
    (1) Require rigorous interventions, including changes in 
leadership, staffing, time for learning, governance, operating 
conditions, student supports, and school culture;
    (2) Benefit from intensive, ongoing, coordinated technical 
assistance and support, such as technical assistance from external 
providers to build capacity so that LEAs and SEAs can provide them with 
more concentrated and sustained support; and
    (3) Need substantial funding over three to five years to plan, 
implement, and solidify rigorous interventions that change school 
culture and result in substantial increases in student achievement.\5\
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    \5\ See, e.g., Calkins, A., Guenther, W., Belfiore, G., & Lash, 
D. (2007). The turnaround challenge: Why America's best opportunity 
to dramatically improve student achievement lies in our worst-
performing schools. Boston: Mass Insight Education and Research 
Institute; American Institutes for Research. (in press). State and 
local implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, Volume IX--
accountability under NCLB: Final report. Washington, DC.
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    The Secretary believes that rigorous interventions are essential if 
LEAs are to reform the lowest-achieving schools and improve educational 
outcomes for their students. Incremental change in these schools that 
may result in marginal improvements is not enough to enable each 
student to achieve to high standards. Fortunately, the large increase 
in FY 2009 funding for school improvement available through the ARRA 
provides an unprecedented opportunity to implement intensive 

interventions. Accordingly, the Secretary proposes to define an LEA 
that demonstrates the strongest commitment as an LEA that would 
implement, in each Tier I and Tier II school that it commits to serve, 
one of the following four rigorous interventions: \6\
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    \6\ We note that some of the activities that an LEA would be 
required to implement as part of a proposed intervention are not 
allowable uses of Title I funds in a Tier I school that operates a 
targeted assistance program under section 1115 of the ESEA; 
therefore, an LEA that wishes to implement one of the proposed 
interventions in such a school would need to do so through a 
schoolwide program under section 1114 of the ESEA. To enable the LEA 
to serve a Tier I targeted assistance school below 40 percent 
poverty, the SEA would need to apply to the Secretary for a waiver 
of the poverty threshold in order that the LEA can operate a 
schoolwide program in its Tier I schools. See the Department's Title 
I, Part A Waiver Guidance available at: 
http://www.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/title-i-waiver.doc.
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    (1) Turnaround model. To implement a turnaround model, an LEA would 
be required to replace the principal and at least 50 percent of the 
staff; adopt a new governance structure, which may include, but is not 
limited to, reporting to a new ``turnaround office'' in the LEA or SEA, 
hiring a ``turnaround leader'' who reports directly to the 
Superintendent or Chief Academic Officer, or entering into a multi-year 
contract with the LEA or SEA to obtain added flexibility in exchange 
for greater accountability; and implement a new or revised 
instructional program. The LEA would also be required to incorporate 
strategies designed to recruit, place, and retain effective staff, and 
provide ongoing, high-quality job-embedded professional development 
designed to ensure that staff members are equipped to facilitate 
effective teaching and learning; promote the continuous use of student 
data (such as from formative, interim, and summative assessments) to 
inform and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual 
students; establish schedules and strategies that increase 
instructional time for students and time for collaboration and 
professional development for staff; and provide appropriate social-
emotional and community-oriented services and supports for students.
    (2) Restart model. Under this model, an LEA would close the school 
and

[[Page 43105]]

reopen it under the management of a charter school operator, a charter 
management organization (CMO), or an educational management 
organization (EMO) that has been selected through a rigorous review 
process. (A CMO is a non-profit organization that operates charter 
schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources 
among schools. An EMO is a for-profit or non-profit organization that 
provides ``whole-school operation'' services to an LEA.) A restart 
school would be required to admit, within the grades it serves, any 
former student who wishes to attend.
    (3) School closure. Under this model, an LEA would close the school 
and enroll the students who attended the school in other, high-
achieving schools within the LEA.
    (4) Transformation model. To implement a transformation model, an 
LEA would be required to address four specific areas, as defined in 
this notice, critical to transforming the lowest-achieving schools: (1) 
Developing teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) implementing 
comprehensive instructional reform strategies; (3) extending learning 
time and creating community-oriented schools; and (4) providing 
operating flexibility and sustained support.
    In determining the strength of an LEA's commitment to using school 
improvement funds to implement these interventions in its Tier I and 
Tier II schools, an SEA would be required to consider, for example, the 
extent to which the LEA's application shows the LEA's efforts to 
analyze the needs of its schools and match the interventions to those 
needs; design interventions consistent with this notice; recruit, 
screen, and select external providers to ensure quality; embed the 
interventions in a longer-term plan to sustain gains in achievement; 
align other resources with the interventions; modify its practices, if 
necessary, to enable it to implement the interventions fully and 
effectively; and sustain the reforms after the funding period ends. 
Moreover, the SEA would be required to consider the LEA's capacity to 
implement the changes it seeks to make. For example, the SEA could 
determine that an LEA with ten Tier I and Tier II schools has the 
capacity to serve only five of those schools at the level of intensity 
contemplated by the proposed interventions. Accordingly, the SEA may 
approve the LEA to serve only those schools for which the SEA 
determines that the LEA can fully and effectively implement one of the 
proposed interventions.

Providing Flexibility

    To fully support an LEA's efforts to intervene in low-achieving 
schools, the Secretary believes there is need for flexibility in 
several respects. First, so as not to penalize an LEA that has 
proactively implemented rigorous reform strategies prior to the 
publication of this notice, an SEA may award school improvement funds 
to an LEA that has implemented, in whole or in part, one of the 
interventions proposed in Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d in a Tier I 
school within the last two years. For example, an LEA might have 
replaced the principal of a Tier I school and begun to implement 
improvement activities that meet many, but not all, of the proposed 
requirements in this notice for a transformation model. In this case, 
the SEA could award the LEA school improvement funds to fully implement 
the transformation model in this school without needing to replace the 
new principal or duplicate the reform activities already in place. 
Second, an SEA could seek a waiver from the Secretary to permit a 
school that implements a turnaround or restart model in an LEA that 
receives a School Improvement Grant to ``start over'' in the school 
improvement timeline while continuing to receive school improvement 
funds. In other words, such a school in restructuring could exit that 
status even though it has not made AYP for two consecutive years and, 
thus, would not need to continue providing public school choice or 
supplemental educational services. Finally, an SEA could seek a waiver 
from the Secretary to enable a Tier I school that operates a targeted 
assistance program to instead operate a schoolwide program in order to 
implement one of the proposed interventions.

Awarding School Improvement Grants to LEAs

LEA Applications

    Under this proposal, any Title I LEA that can demonstrate the 
greatest need and strongest commitment, as defined by the SEA 
consistent with this notice, to reform its lowest-achieving schools 
would be eligible to apply to the SEA for a School Improvement Grant. 
In addition to providing information that the SEA may require, the LEA 
would be required to demonstrate its commitment to use the school 
improvement funds to provide adequate resources to each Tier I and Tier 
II school it commits to serve in order to implement fully one of the 
four proposed interventions described in this notice. If an LEA has 
nine or more Tier I and Tier II schools, the LEA would not be able to 
implement the same intervention in more than 50 percent of those 
schools.
    An LEA would be required to serve each of its Tier I schools, 
unless the LEA demonstrates that it lacks sufficient capacity or 
sufficient school improvement funds to undertake one of the four 
proposed interventions in each such school. For example, an LEA might 
demonstrate a lack of capacity to serve all of its Tier I schools if no 
EMOs or CMOs of sufficient quality are available to restart its 
schools. An LEA might also demonstrate a lack of capacity if it lacks a 
sufficient number of school leaders (e.g., principals, assistant 
principals, teacher leaders) capable of implementing one of the 
rigorous interventions proposed in this notice. Additionally, an LEA 
might decide that it can best impact student achievement by focusing 
resources heavily in a subset of Tier I schools, attempting to turn 
around some schools before proceeding to others. In such cases, the LEA 
would identify in its application the Tier I schools that it can serve 
effectively with one of the proposed interventions; such an LEA would 
not be permitted to use school improvement funds to serve a Tier I 
school that is not implementing one of the four interventions. An LEA 
would not be required to include Tier II schools in its application, 
although the SEA would be required to give priority to LEA applications 
that include both Tier I and Tier II schools. Once an LEA has 
identified all of the Tier I schools it has capacity to serve, it may 
also identify Tier III schools it will serve. No LEA would be required 
to apply for a School Improvement Grant; however, an LEA that has one 
or more Tier I schools would not be permitted to apply for a grant to 
serve only Tier III schools.
    An LEA would be required to include in its application for a School 
Improvement Grant a budget indicating the amount of funds needed for 
each Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III school the LEA commits to serve. In 
designing its budget, the LEA would be required to ensure, for each 
Tier I and Tier II school identified in its application, that its 
request is of sufficient size and scope to ensure that the LEA can 
implement one of the four rigorous interventions proposed in this 
notice. The Secretary believes that, in most cases, implementing these 
interventions (with the exception of closing a school) would require 
annual amounts that considerably exceed $500,000 per school, the 
maximum amount per year of school improvement funds that may be 
generated by a participating school under the statute. (Tier II schools 
would

[[Page 43106]]

not generate any funds because they are not Title I schools in 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; however, the LEA 
could serve them, through a waiver, with the school improvement funds 
it receives.) Accordingly, if the Secretary adopts the proposed 
requirements as final, the LEA should estimate the full cost of 
implementing its selected intervention in each Tier I and Tier II 
school it commits to serve and the costs associated with closing a 
school,\7\ as well as the costs of providing services in participating 
Tier III schools. In estimating costs, the LEA should consider such 
factors as the size of each school; whether the LEA plans to serve 
clusters of elementary schools that feed into Tier I or Tier II 
secondary schools; and whether the schools to be served are elementary, 
middle, or high schools. The Secretary strongly urges an LEA to develop 
its budget in a way that sufficiently concentrates school improvement 
funds to raise student achievement substantially by the end of the 
grant period in the schools served with those funds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Costs of closing a school may include, for example, parent 
and community meetings regarding the school closure, services to 
help parents and students transition to a new school, orientation 
activities at the new school, etc.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An LEA would also be required to establish, in its application, 
three-year student achievement goals in reading/language arts and 
mathematics. The LEA would be required to hold each Tier I and Tier II 
school it commits to serve annually accountable for meeting, or being 
on track to meet, those goals with respect to the achievement of all 
students in each school, as well as each subgroup of students 
identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7),\8\ and for making progress on the 
leading indicators described in Section III of this notice. If an LEA 
implements a restart model, it would also be required to hold the 
charter school operator, CMO, or EMO accountable for meeting these 
annual goals for student achievement and for making progress on the 
leading indicators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ The subgroups identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7) are students 
from major racial and ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged 
students, students with limited English proficiency, and students 
with disabilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SEA Responsibilities

    Under this proposal, to receive a School Improvement Grant, an SEA 
would submit an application to the Department at such time, and 
containing such information, as the Secretary shall reasonably require. 
That application would generally address the SEA's role with respect to 
school improvement funds, including, at a minimum: (1) Identifying Tier 
I and Tier II schools in the State; (2) establishing criteria related 
to the overall quality of the LEA's application and to the LEA's 
capacity to implement fully and effectively the required interventions; 
(3) allocating school improvement funds to the LEA; (4) monitoring the 
LEA's implementation of interventions in and the progress of its 
participating schools; (5) providing technical assistance to the LEA 
and its participating schools; and (6) holding each Tier I and Tier II 
school it has committed to serve annually accountable for meeting, or 
being on track to meet, the LEA's student achievement goals with 
respect to the achievement of all students in the school, as well as 
each subgroup of students identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7), and for 
making progress on the leading indicators described in Section III of 
this notice.
    An SEA would review and approve the applications for a School 
Improvement Grant that it receives from its LEAs. Before approving an 
LEA's application, the SEA would ensure that the application meets the 
requirements the Secretary establishes in a notice of final 
requirements, particularly with respect to whether the LEA has 
demonstrated that it has the capacity to implement one of the four 
proposed rigorous interventions in the Tier I and Tier II schools it 
has committed to serve and whether the LEA has budgeted sufficient 
funds to implement fully and effectively the selected interventions. If 
an LEA lacks the capacity to implement one of the four interventions in 
each of its Tier I schools, the SEA would adjust the size of the LEA's 
School Improvement Grant accordingly. Additionally, the SEA would 
consider the quality of the application, including the extent to which 
the LEA analyzed the needs of each school and matched an intervention 
to those needs, consistent with Section II.A.2; the design of the 
interventions consistent with this notice; whether the interventions 
are part of a long-term plan to sustain gains in student achievement; 
the coordination with other resources; whether the LEA will modify its 
practices, if necessary, to be able to implement the interventions 
fully and effectively; and how the LEA will sustain the reforms after 
the funding period ends. If an SEA does not have sufficient school 
improvement funds to award a grant to each LEA that submits an 
approvable application, the SEA would be required to give priority to 
LEAs that apply to serve both Tier I and Tier II schools and to LEAs 
that apply to serve Tier I schools before LEAs serving only Tier III 
schools.
    Section 1003(g)(5) of the ESEA requires an SEA to award a School 
Improvement Grant to an LEA in an amount that is of sufficient size and 
scope to support the activities required under section 1116 of the 
ESEA, which include taking corrective actions and restructuring the 
LEA's lowest-achieving Title I schools. An LEA's total grant may not be 
less than $50,000 or more than $500,000 per year for each participating 
Title I school (i.e., the Tier I and Tier III schools that the LEA 
commits to serve); however, the LEA has flexibility to spend higher or 
lower amounts in serving individual schools.
    Experts in implementing effective school reform strategies, such as 
those proposed in this notice, estimate that the cost of turning around 
a persistently low-achieving school of 500 students can range from 
$250,000 to $1,000,000 per year for at least three years; 
implementation in a larger school would likely cost more.\9\ Thus, in 
order to ensure that an LEA has sufficient resources to turn around its 
Tier I and Tier II schools, the Secretary proposes to require that an 
SEA allocate to each such LEA $500,000 per year in school improvement 
funds (the maximum per-school amount permitted under section 1003(g)(5) 
of the ESEA) for each Tier I school for which the LEA applies to 
implement one of the interventions in Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d of 
this notice and for which the SEA approves the LEA to serve. (Due to 
issues of capacity, an SEA could decide not to approve all the schools 
included in an LEA's application.) Additionally, the SEA would be 
required to allocate sufficient school improvement funds in total to 
the LEA, consistent with section 1003(g)(5), to match, as closely as 
possible, the LEA's budget for implementing the proposed interventions 
in each Tier I and Tier II school approved by the SEA and costs 
associated with closing those schools under Section I.A.2.c, while also 
serving participating Tier III schools, particularly those schools 
meeting additional criteria established by the SEA. Further, to provide 
the sustained support that available research suggests is necessary for 
successful interventions, the Secretary would require the SEA to 
apportion its FY 2009 school improvement funds so as to provide funding 
to LEAs over three

[[Page 43107]]

years, which the Secretary would make possible by waiving the period of 
availability beyond September 30, 2011.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Calkins, A., Guenther, W., Belfiore, G., & Lash, D. (2007). 
The turnaround challenge: Why America's best opportunity to 
dramatically improve student achievement lies in our worst-
performing schools. Boston: Mass Insight Education and Research 
Institute.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following examples illustrate how an SEA might determine the 
amount of a School Improvement Grant for three hypothetical LEAs, all 
of which have the same number of Title I schools in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring:
    LEA A: LEA A has ten Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring; three are Tier I schools and the rest are 
Tier III schools. The LEA also has one Tier II school. The LEA and SEA 
agree that the LEA has capacity to serve all of those schools. Under 
section 1003(g)(5), the maximum School Improvement Grant that the LEA 
may receive per year is $5,000,000 ($500,000 x 10 Title I schools to be 
served). Based on the LEA's proposed budget and capacity, the SEA 
awards the LEA a School Improvement Grant totaling $4,150,000 per year 
(consistent with section 1003(g)(5)). In spending the school 
improvement funds, the LEA uses, consistent with its budget, $1,500,000 
in one Tier I school; $1,000,000 in the Tier II school; $750,000 in 
each of the remaining two Tier I schools; $50,000 in each of two Tier 
III schools; and $10,000 in each of the remaining five Tier III 
schools.
    LEA B: LEA B has ten Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring; three are Tier I schools. The LEA also has 
one Tier II school. The LEA decides, however, that it has capacity to 
serve only two of its Tier I schools, no Tier II schools, and five of 
its Tier III schools. Under section 1003(g)(5), the maximum School 
Improvement Grant that the LEA may receive per year is $3,500,000 
($500,000 x 7 Title I schools to be served). Based on the LEA's 
proposed budget and capacity, the SEA awards the LEA a School 
Improvement Grant totaling $2,500,000 (consistent with section 
1003(g)(5)). In spending the school improvement funds, the LEA uses, 
consistent with its budget, $1,200,000 in one Tier I school; $800,000 
in the other Tier I school; and $100,000 in each of the five Tier III 
schools.
    LEA C: LEA C has ten Title I schools in improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring; none is a Tier I school, although two are 
among the lowest-achieving Title I schools in the State but are making 
significant progress. The LEA has one Tier II school. The LEA applies 
to serve all its Tier III schools as well as its Tier II school. Under 
section 1003(g)(5), the maximum School Improvement Grant that the LEA 
may receive per year is $5,000,000 ($500,000 x 10 Title I schools to be 
served). Based on the LEA's proposed budget and capacity, the SEA 
awards the LEA a School Improvement Grant totaling $2,500,000 
(consistent with section 1003(g)(5)). In spending the school 
improvement funds, the LEA uses, consistent with its budget, $1,000,000 
in its one Tier II school; $500,000 in each of the two Tier III schools 
making progress; and $62,500 in each of the remaining eight Tier III 
schools.
    Targeting resources in this manner may result in school improvement 
funds being concentrated in a small number of LEAs and schools, 
depending on where in a State the Tier I schools are located and the 
ability of an LEA to implement the proposed interventions. The 
Secretary believes such targeting is warranted by the significant needs 
of the students in the lowest-achieving schools and is fully consistent 
with the priorities stated in the statute.
    With the approval of its LEAs, an SEA could also directly implement 
the proposed interventions in a Tier I or Tier II school and provide 
services in a Tier III school or arrange for their provision through 
other entities such as EMOs, school support teams, or educational 
service agencies. An SEA also plays a critical role in building 
capacity at the State and local levels to raise achievement in the 
State's lowest-achieving schools, including by supporting efforts to 
increase the supply of effective teachers and principals who have the 
ability to implement one of the proposed interventions and to recruit 
external providers to support implementation of such interventions. The 
SEA might also establish a specific unit at the State level to provide 
support to its lowest-achieving schools. Moreover, the SEA should seek 
to eliminate barriers to the implementation of the proposed 
interventions, such as State laws, regulations, or policies that limit 
the SEA's authority to intervene in low-achieving schools, limit the 
number of charter schools that may operate in the State, or impede 
efforts to recruit and retain effective teachers and principals in low-
achieving schools.

Reporting Metrics

    Because data are critical to informing and evaluating the 
effectiveness of the rigorous interventions proposed in this notice, 
the Secretary proposes that SEAs and LEAs report specific school-level 
data related to the use of school improvement funds and the impact of 
the specific interventions implemented. Local educators need the data 
on an ongoing basis to evaluate the extent to which effective reform 
strategies are being implemented, to monitor the impact of changes, to 
track progress against their own goals, and to identify areas where, 
during implementation, assistance or adjustments are needed. SEAs can 
use the data to identify trends across schools and LEAs and to inform 
technical assistance efforts targeted to schools and LEAs receiving 
school improvement funds, as well as to other LEAs with schools in 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. Analyses of these 
data at the national level would inform the Nation's collective 
knowledge of what works in turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
    The Secretary proposes to collect data in three general categories: 
(1) Interventions (those an LEA is implementing); (2) Leading 
Indicators (instructional minutes per school year and teacher 
attendance); and (3) Student Achievement Outcomes (average scale scores 
on State assessments, in the aggregate and disaggregated by subgroup as 
identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7), and number of students enrolled in 
advanced coursework). These data, which are not currently available at 
the national level, would augment, and not duplicate, other important 
school-level data collected through EDFacts and through State Fiscal 
Stabilization Fund (SFSF) reporting that are identified in Section III 
of this notice. Turning around the lowest-achieving schools is 
particularly challenging; however, with the development and 
implementation of statewide longitudinal data systems, increased 
resources, and more concentrated focus on data, the Secretary believes 
that the availability of an increased body of knowledge in this area 
will help educators understand and meet this challenge.
    Coordination with Section 1003(a) Funds: \10\ Implementing 
intensive interventions that would dramatically turn around the lowest-
achieving schools in a State requires substantial planning at the LEA 
and school levels. Although the proposed requirements in this notice 
are being published for comment and thus are not final, they reflect 
the Secretary's expectation that school improvement funds will be used 
to support rigorous interventions in Tier I and Tier II schools. 
Because the identity of potential Tier I and Tier II schools will 
likely not change significantly from this year to next year,

[[Page 43108]]

the Secretary strongly encourages each SEA to allocate its FY 2009 
section 1003(a) funds to LEAs with these schools in order to provide 
the resources needed to remove barriers to, and set the conditions for, 
implementing the proposed interventions.\11\
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    \10\ In addition to school improvement funds available through a 
separate appropriation under section 1003(g) of the ESEA, an SEA 
must reserve under section 1003(a) of the ESEA four percent of the 
Title I, Part A funds the State receives for school improvement 
activities. Of this amount, the SEA must distribute at least 95 
percent to LEAs for schools identified for improvement, corrective 
action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA.
    \11\ If an LEA wishes to use FY 2009 section 1003(a) funds in a 
Tier II school, it would need to apply for a waiver from the 
Secretary, because Tier II schools do not now receive Title I funds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Secretary also encourages an LEA with Tier I and Tier II 
schools to conduct an analysis of these schools' and the LEA's ability 
to implement the proposed interventions; review student achievement 
outcomes; evaluate current policies and practices that may support or 
impede successful reform strategies; assess the strengths and 
weaknesses of school leaders, teachers, and other school staff; recruit 
and train principals with the needed skills to lead a school that would 
implement one of the proposed interventions; screen and identify 
necessary external partners (e.g., an EMO, institution of higher 
education, or educational service agency); and design a multi-pronged 
strategy for changing the school culture and reforming the lowest-
achieving schools. At the same time, an SEA should consider what steps 
it can take now to set the conditions for reform, especially those, 
such as taking actions to support changes to State laws, regulations, 
and policies that cap the number of charter schools or place 
restrictions on school calendars, that are not dependent on which LEAs 
ultimately receive a School Improvement Grant.
    Although not every LEA and school participating in this planning 
process would likely receive section 1003(g) funds, all LEAs and 
schools can become better positioned to implement interventions that 
improve student achievement. Using section 1003(a) funds to set the 
conditions for reform would also allow participating LEAs and schools 
that actually receive section 1003(g) funds to move more quickly in 
implementing the interventions as soon as they receive funds. Moreover, 
an LEA would be able to use the information gathered from this planning 
process to inform its application to the SEA for section 1003(g) funds. 
This information might also help the SEA determine the amount of 
funding that it would allocate to the LEA on behalf of individual 
schools. In addition, this planning would inform the SEA as to the 
kinds of technical assistance or external partners that would be needed 
in LEAs and schools that do not have the capacity to implement the 
rigorous interventions necessary to turn around their lowest-achieving 
schools.

Proposed Requirements

    The Secretary proposes the following requirements with respect to 
the allocation and use of School Improvement Grants.

I. SEA Priorities in Awarding School Improvement Grants

A. Defining Key Terms

    To award School Improvement Grants to its LEAs, consistent with 
section 1003(g)(6) of the ESEA, an SEA must define three tiers of 
schools, in accordance with the requirements in paragraph 1, to enable 
the SEA to select those LEAs with the greatest need for such funds. 
From among the LEAs in greatest need, the SEA must select, in 
accordance with paragraph 2, those LEAs that demonstrate the strongest 
commitment to ensuring that the funds are used to provide adequate 
resources to enable the lowest-achieving schools to meet, or be on 
track to meet, the LEA's three-year student achievement goals in 
reading/language arts and mathematics. Accordingly, the Secretary 
proposes to require an SEA to use the following definitions to define 
key terms:
    1. Greatest need. An LEA with the greatest need for a School 
Improvement Grant must have one or more schools in at least one of the 
following tiers:
    a. Tier I schools: A Tier I school is a school in the lowest-
achieving five percent of all Title I schools in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring in the State, or one of the five 
lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or 
restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater.
    (i) In determining the lowest-achieving Title I schools in the 
State, an SEA must consider both the absolute performance of a school 
on the State's assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics and 
the school's lack of progress on those assessments over a number of 
years as defined in paragraph (a)(ii).\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ As noted in footnote 1, these are the same schools as the 
Secretary has proposed to target in the Race to the Top competitive 
grant program and has proposed to require States to report on under 
phase two of SFSF under the ARRA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (ii) A school has not made progress if its gains on the State's 
assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics, in the ``all 
students'' category (as used in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(I) of the 
ESEA), are less than the average gains of schools in the State on those 
assessments.
    b. Tier II schools: A Tier II school is a secondary school (middle 
school or high school) that is equally as low-achieving as a Tier I 
school and that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I, Part A 
funds.
    c. Tier III schools: A Tier III school is a Title I school in 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is not a Tier I 
school. An SEA may establish additional criteria to encourage LEAs to 
differentiate among these schools in their use of school improvement 
funds and to use in setting priorities among LEA applications for 
funding.
    2. Strongest Commitment. An LEA with the strongest commitment is an 
LEA that agrees to implement, and demonstrates the capacity to 
implement fully and effectively, one of the following rigorous 
interventions in each Tier I and Tier II school that the LEA commits to 
serve:
    a. Turnaround model. A turnaround model must include--
    (i) Replacing the principal and at least 50 percent of the staff;
    (ii) Adopting a new governance structure, which may include, but is 
not limited to, reporting to a new ``turnaround office'' in the LEA or 
SEA, hiring a ``turnaround leader'' who reports directly to the 
Superintendent or Chief Academic Officer, or entering into a multi-year 
contract with the LEA or SEA to obtain added flexibility in exchange 
for greater accountability;
    (iii) Implementing a new or revised instructional program;
    (iv) Implementing strategies designed to recruit, place, and retain 
effective staff;
    (v) Providing ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional 
development to staff to ensure that they are equipped to facilitate 
effective teaching and learning;
    (vi) Promoting the continuous use of student data (such as from 
formative, interim, and summative assessments) to inform and 
differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students;
    (vii) Establishing schedules and strategies that increase 
instructional time for students and time for collaboration and 
professional development for staff; and
    (viii) Providing appropriate social-emotional and community-
oriented services and supports for students.
    b. Restart model. A restart model is one in which an LEA closes a 
school and reopens it under a charter school operator, a charter 
management organization (CMO), or an education management organization 
(EMO) that

[[Page 43109]]

has been selected through a rigorous review process. A restart model 
must admit, within the grades it serves, all former students who wish 
to attend the school.
    c. School closure. An LEA closes a school and enrolls the students 
who attended that school in other, high-achieving schools in the LEA, 
which may include charter schools.
    d. Transformation model. A transformation model must include each 
of the following strategies:
    (i) Developing teacher and school leader effectiveness.
    (A) Required activities. The LEA must--
    (1) Use evaluations that are based in significant measure on 
student growth to improve teachers' and school leaders' performance;
    (2) Identify and reward school leaders, teachers, and other staff 
who improve student achievement outcomes and identify and remove those 
who do not;
    (3) Replace the principal who led the school prior to commencement 
of the transformation model;
    (4) Provide staff ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional 
development (e.g., regarding subject-specific pedagogy, instruction 
that reflects a deeper understanding of the community served by the 
school, or differentiated instruction) that is aligned with the 
school's comprehensive instructional program and designed to ensure 
staff are equipped to facilitate effective teaching and learning and 
have the capacity to successfully implement school reform strategies; 
and
    (5) Implement strategies designed to recruit, place, and retain 
effective staff.
    (B) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other 
strategies to develop teachers' and school leaders' effectiveness, such 
as--
    (1) Providing additional compensation to attract and retain high-
quality educators to the school;
    (2) Instituting a system for measuring changes in instructional 
practices resulting from professional development; or
    (3) Ensuring that the school is not required to accept a teacher 
without the mutual consent of the teacher and principal, regardless of 
the teacher's seniority.
    (ii) Comprehensive instructional reform strategies.
    (A) Required activities. The LEA must--
    (1) Use data to identify and implement comprehensive, research-
based, instructional programs that are vertically aligned from one 
grade to the next as well as aligned with State academic standards; and
    (2) Promote the continuous use of individualized student data (such 
as from formative, interim, and summative assessments) to inform and 
differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students.
    (B) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other 
strategies for implementing comprehensive instructional reform 
strategies, such as--
    (1) Conducting periodic reviews to ensure that the curriculum is 
being implemented with fidelity, is having the intended impact on 
student achievement, and is modified if ineffective;
    (2) Implementing a schoolwide ``response-to-intervention'' model; 
or
    (3) In secondary schools--
    (a) Increasing rigor by offering opportunities for students to 
enroll in advanced coursework (such as Advanced Placement or 
International Baccalaureate), early-college high schools, dual 
enrollment programs, or thematic learning academies that prepare 
students for college and careers, including by providing appropriate 
supports designed to ensure that low-achieving students can take 
advantage of these programs and coursework;
    (b) Improving student transition from middle to high school through 
summer transition programs or freshman academies; or
    (c) Increasing graduation rates through, for example, credit-
recovery programs, smaller learning communities, and acceleration of 
basic reading and mathematics skills.
    (iii) Extending learning time and creating community-oriented 
schools.
    (A) Required activities. The LEA must--
    (1) Provide more time for students to learn core academic content 
by expanding the school day, the school week, or the school year, or 
increasing instructional time for core academic subjects \13\ during 
the school day;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Under section 9101(11) of the ESEA, ``core academic 
subjects'' are English, reading or language arts, mathematics, 
science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, 
history, and geography.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) Provide more time for teachers to collaborate, including time 
for horizontal and vertical planning to improve instruction;
    (3) Provide more time or opportunities for enrichment activities 
for students (e.g., instruction in financial literacy, internships or 
apprenticeships, service-learning opportunities) by partnering, as 
appropriate, with other organizations, such as universities, 
businesses, and museums; and
    (4) Provide ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement.
    (B) Permissible activities. An LEA may also implement other 
strategies that extend learning time and create community-oriented 
schools, such as--
    (1) Partnering with parents, faith- and community-based 
organizations, health clinics, the police department, and others to 
create safe school environments that meet students' social, emotional 
and health needs;
    (2) Extending or restructuring the school day to add time for such 
strategies as advisory periods to build relationships between students, 
faculty, and other school staff; or
    (3) Implementing approaches to improve school climate and 
discipline, such as implementing a system of positive behavioral 
supports or taking steps to eliminate bullying and student harassment.
    (iv) Providing operating flexibility and sustained support.
    (A) Required activities. The LEA must--
    (1) Give the school sufficient operating flexibility (including in 
staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a 
comprehensive approach to substantially improve student achievement 
outcomes; and
    (2) Ensure that the school receives ongoing, intensive technical 
assistance and related support from the LEA, the SEA, or a designated 
external lead partner organization (such as a school turnaround 
organization or an EMO).
    (B) Permissible activities. The LEA may also implement other 
strategies for providing operational flexibility and intensive support, 
such as--
    (1) Allowing the school to be run under a new governance 
arrangement, such as a turnaround division within the LEA or SEA; or
    (2) Implementing a weighted per-pupil school-based budget formula.
    In determining the strength of an LEA's commitment to using school 
improvement funds to implement these interventions, an SEA must 
consider, at a minimum, the extent to which the LEA's application shows 
the LEA's efforts to: (1) Analyze the needs of its schools and match 
the interventions to those needs; (2) design interventions consistent 
with this notice; (3) recruit, screen, and select external providers to 
ensure quality; (4) embed the interventions in a longer-term plan to 
sustain gains in achievement; (5) align other resources with the 
interventions; (6) modify its practices, if necessary, to enable it to 
implement the interventions fully and effectively; and (7) sustain the 
reforms after the funding period ends. Moreover, the SEA must consider 
the

[[Page 43110]]

LEA's capacity to implement the proposed interventions and may approve 
the LEA to serve only those schools for which the SEA determines that 
the LEA can implement fully and effectively one of the proposed 
interventions.

B. Providing Flexibility

    1. An SEA may award school improvement funds to an LEA for a Tier I 
school that has implemented, in whole or in part, an intervention that 
meets the requirements under Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d of these 
proposed requirements within the last two years so that the LEA and 
school can continue or complete the intervention being implemented in 
that school.
    2. An SEA may seek a waiver from the Secretary of the requirements 
in section 1116(b) of the ESEA in order to permit a Tier I school 
implementing an intervention that meets the requirements under Section 
I.A.2.a or 2.b of these proposed requirements in an LEA that receives a 
School Improvement Grant to ``start over'' in the school improvement 
timeline. Even though the school is no longer in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring, it may receive school improvement 
funds.
    3. An SEA may seek a waiver from the Secretary to enable a Tier I 
school that is ineligible to operate a Title I schoolwide program and 
is operating a Title I targeted assistance program to operate a 
schoolwide program in order to implement an intervention that meets the 
requirements under Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d of these proposed 
requirements.

II. Awarding School Improvement Grants to LEAs

A. LEA Applications

    1. An LEA may apply for a School Improvement Grant if it has one or 
more schools that qualify under the State's definition of a Tier I, 
Tier II, or Tier III school.
    2. In its application, in addition to other information that the 
SEA may require, the LEA must identify the Tier I, Tier II, and Tier 
III schools it commits to serve and demonstrate that it has the 
capacity to use the school improvement funds to provide adequate 
resources and related support to each of the Tier I and Tier II schools 
in order to implement fully and effectively one of the interventions 
identified in Section I.A.2 of this notice. If an LEA has nine or more 
Tier I and Tier II schools, the LEA may not implement the same 
intervention in more than 50 percent of those schools.
    3. The LEA must include in its application a budget indicating how 
it will allocate school improvement funds among the Tier I, Tier II, 
and Tier III schools it commits to serve. The LEA must serve each Tier 
I school using one of the four interventions identified in Section 
I.A.2 of this notice, unless the LEA demonstrates that it lacks 
sufficient capacity to undertake intensive interventions in each such 
school, in which case the LEA must indicate the Tier I schools that it 
can effectively serve. An LEA may not serve with these school 
improvement funds a Tier I school in which it does not implement one of 
the proposed interventions.
    4. The LEA's budget for each Tier I and Tier II school it commits 
to serve must be of sufficient size and scope to ensure that the LEA 
can implement one of the rigorous interventions identified in Section 
I.A.2 of this notice. A budget should cover three years. The LEA's 
budget may, and likely would, exceed $500,000 per year for each Tier I 
and Tier II school that implements an intervention in Section I.A.2.a, 
2.b, or 2.d in order to reform the school consistent with the LEA's 
application and the requirements in this notice. The LEA's budget may 
include less than $500,000 per year for a Tier I or Tier II school for 
which it proposes to implement the school closure intervention in 
Section I.A.2.c. In addition, a school closure typically would be 
completed in less than three years.
    5. The LEA's budget for each Tier III school it commits to serve 
must include the services it will provide the school, particularly if 
the school meets additional criteria established by the SEA, although 
those services do not need to be commensurate with the funds the SEA 
provides the LEA based on the school's inclusion in the LEA's School 
Improvement Grant application.
    6. An LEA in which a Tier I school is located and that does not 
apply to serve that school for reasons other than lack of capacity may 
not apply for a grant to serve only Tier III schools.
    7. An LEA must establish, in its application, three-year student 
achievement goals in reading/language arts and mathematics. The LEA 
must hold each Tier I and Tier II school it commits to serve annually 
accountable for meeting, or being on track to meet, those goals with 
respect to the achievement of all students in each school, as well as 
each subgroup of students identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7),\14\ and 
for making progress on the leading indicators described in Section III 
of this notice. If an LEA proposes to implement a restart model, it 
must also describe how it will hold the charter school operator, CMO, 
or EMO accountable for meeting, or being on track to meet, the LEA's 
student achievement goals and making progress on the leading 
indicators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ The subgroups identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7) include 
students from major racial and ethnic groups, economically 
disadvantaged students, students with limited English proficiency, 
and students with disabilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    8. An LEA must demonstrate how it will sustain the interventions 
implemented with its School Improvement Grant after the funding period 
for the grant has ended.

B. SEA Responsibilities

    1. To receive a School Improvement Grant, an SEA must submit an 
application to the Department at such time, and containing such 
information, as the Secretary shall reasonably require.
    2. An SEA must review and approve, consistent with the requirements 
in this notice, an application for a School Improvement Grant that it 
receives from an LEA. Before approving the application, the SEA must 
ensure that it meets the requirements of this notice, particularly with 
respect to: (1) Whether the LEA has agreed to implement one of the four 
rigorous interventions identified in Section I.A.2 of this notice in 
each Tier I and Tier II school included in its application; (2) the 
extent to which the LEA's application shows the LEA's efforts to 
analyze the needs of each school and match an intervention to those 
needs, consistent with Section II.A.2; design and implement 
interventions consistent with this notice; recruit, screen, and select 
external providers to ensure quality; embed the interventions in a 
longer-term plan to sustain gains in student achievement; coordinate 
with other resources; modify its practices, if necessary, to enable it 
to fully and effectively implement the interventions; and sustain the 
reforms after the funding period ends; (3) whether the LEA has the 
capacity to implement the selected intervention fully and effectively 
in each Tier I and Tier II school; and (4) whether the LEA has 
submitted a budget that includes sufficient funds to implement the 
selected intervention fully and effectively in each Tier I and Tier II 
school.
    3. An SEA must review and approve the LEA's three-year student 
achievement goals to ensure that they are sufficiently rigorous to hold 
each Tier I and Tier II school accountable for

[[Page 43111]]

meeting, or being on track to meet, those goals with respect to all 
students in the school, as well as each subgroup of students identified 
in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7), and for making progress on the leading 
indicators described in Section III of this notice.
    4. If an SEA does not have sufficient school improvement funds to 
award, for up to three years, a grant to each LEA that submits an 
approvable application, the SEA must give priority to LEAs that apply 
to serve both Tier I and Tier II schools.
    5. An SEA must award a School Improvement Grant to an LEA in an 
amount that is of sufficient size and scope to support the activities 
required under section 1116 of the ESEA and this notice. The LEA's 
total grant may not be less than $50,000 or more than $500,000 per year 
for each Tier I and Tier III school that the LEA commits to serve.
    6. In awarding the school improvement funds, an SEA must allocate 
$500,000 per year for each Tier I school that will implement a rigorous 
intervention under Section I.A.2.a, 2.b, or 2.d for which the LEA has 
requested funds in its budget and for which the SEA determines the LEA 
has the capacity to serve. The SEA must also allocate sufficient school 
improvement funds in total to the LEA, consistent with section 
1003(g)(5), to match, as closely as possible, the LEA's budget for 
implementing one of the four interventions in each Tier I and Tier II 
school it commits to serve, including costs associated with closing 
such schools under Section I.A.2.c, as well as for serving 
participating Tier III schools, particularly those meeting additional 
criteria established by the SEA.
    7. If an SEA does not have sufficient school improvement funds to 
allocate to each LEA with a Tier I or Tier II school an amount 
sufficient to enable the school to implement fully the specified 
intervention for three years, the SEA may take into account the 
distribution of Tier I and Tier II schools among such LEAs in the State 
to ensure that Tier I and Tier II schools throughout the State can be 
served.
    8. If an SEA has provided a School Improvement Grant to each LEA 
that has requested funds to serve a Tier I or Tier II school in 
accordance with this notice, the SEA may award remaining school 
improvement funds to an LEA with only Tier III schools that applies to 
receive those funds.
    9. In awarding School Improvement Grants, an SEA must apportion its 
FY 2009 school improvement funds, including those available through the 
ARRA, in order to make grants that are renewable for two additional 
years, which the Secretary will make possible by waiving the limitation 
on the period of availability beyond September 30, 2011.

C. Renewal for Two Additional One-Year Periods

    An SEA must renew an LEA's School Improvement Grant for two 
additional one-year periods if the LEA demonstrates that its Tier I and 
Tier II schools are meeting, or are on track to meet, the LEA's student 
achievement goals with respect to all students in the school, as well 
as each subgroup of students identified in 34 CFR 200.13(b)(7), and are 
making progress on the leading indicators described in Section III of 
this notice and that its Tier III schools are meeting the goals in 
their plans developed under section 1116 of the ESEA. If an SEA does 
not renew an LEA's School Improvement Grant because the LEA's 
participating schools are not meeting or on track to meet their student 
achievement goals, the SEA may reallocate those funds to other eligible 
LEAs, consistent with the requirements of this notice.

D. State Reservation for Administration, Evaluation, and Technical 
Assistance

    An SEA may reserve from the total FY 2009 school improvement funds 
it receives under section 1003(g) of the ESEA no more than five percent 
for administration, evaluation, and technical assistance expenses.

E. States Whose School Improvement Grant Exceeds the Amount the State 
May Award to Eligible LEAs

    In some States in which a limited number of Title I schools are 
identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, the 
SEA may be able to make School Improvement Grants, renewable for two 
additional years, to each LEA with a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III 
school without using the State's full allocation under section 1003(g) 
of the ESEA. An SEA in this situation may reserve up to five percent of 
its FY 2009 allocation of school improvement funds for administration, 
evaluation, and technical assistance expenses under section 1003(g)(8) 
of the ESEA. The SEA may retain sufficient school improvement funds to 
serve, for two succeeding years, each Tier I, II, and III school that 
generates funds for an eligible LEA in the 2010-2011 school year. The 
Secretary proposes to reallocate to other States, before September 30, 
2010, any remaining school improvement funds from the States with 
surplus funds.

III. Reporting and Evaluation

A. Reporting Metrics

    To inform and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions in 
this notice, the Secretary proposes to collect data on the metrics in 
the following chart. The Department already collects most of these data 
through EDFacts and will collect data on two metrics through SFSF 
reporting. Accordingly, an SEA must only report the following new data 
with respect to school improvement funds:
    1. A list of the LEAs that received a School Improvement Grant 
under section 1003(g) and the amount of the grant.
    2. For each LEA that received a School Improvement Grant, a list of 
the schools that were served and the amount of funds or value of 
services each school received.
    3. For any Tier I or Tier II school, school-level data on the 
metrics designated on the following chart as ``SIG'' (School 
Improvement Grant):

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Achievement
                  Metric                               Source                 indicators      Leading indicators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   School Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Which intervention the school used (i.e.,   NEW SIG.....................  ..................  ..................
 turnaround, restart, closed, or
 transformation).
AYP status................................  EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
Which AYP targets the school met and        EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
 missed.
School improvement status.................  EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 43112]]


                                     Student Outcome/Academic Progress Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Percentage of students at or above each     EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
 proficiency level on State assessments in
 reading/language arts and mathematics
 (e.g., Basic, Proficient, Advanced), by
 grade and by student subgroup.
Student participation rate on State         EDFacts.....................  ..................                  [check]
 assessments, by student subgroup.
Average scores on State assessments across  NEW SIG.....................                  [che..................
 subgroups--scale scores by quartile.
Title III LEP students English language     EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
 proficiency.
AMAO status for LEP students..............  EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
Graduation rate...........................  EDFacts.....................                  [che..................
Dropout rate..............................  EDFacts.....................  ..................                  [check]
Student attendance........................  EDFacts.....................  ..................                  [check]
Students enrolled in advanced coursework    NEW SIG HS only.............  ..................                  [check]
 (e.g., AP/IB), early-college high
 schools, or dual enrollment classes.
College enrollment rates..................  NEW SFSF phase two HS only..                  [che..................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Student Connection and School Climate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Discipline incidents......................  EDFacts.....................  ..................                  [check]
Truants...................................  EDFacts.....................  ..................                  [check]
Number of instructional minutes...........  NEW SIG.....................  ..................                  [check]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Talent
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Distribution of teachers by performance     NEW.........................  ..................                  [check]
 level on LEA's teacher evaluation system.  SFSF phase two..............
Teacher attendance........................  NEW SIG.....................  ..................                  [check]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Evaluation

    An LEA that receives a School Improvement Grant must participate in 
any evaluation of that grant conducted by the Secretary.

Executive Order 12866

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and to review by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 
defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely to 
result in a rule that (1) has an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more, or adversely affects a section of the economy, 
productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or 
safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments, or communities in a 
material way (also referred to as an ``economically significant'' 
rule); (2) creates serious inconsistency or otherwise interferes with 
an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) materially alters the 
budgetary impact of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or 
the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raises novel 
legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's 
priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive order. The 
Secretary has determined that this regulatory action is economically 
significant under section 3(f)(1) of the Executive order.

Potential Costs and Benefits

    The proposed costs have been reviewed in accordance with Executive 
Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, the Department has assessed 
the costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of these proposed requirements, the Department has 
determined that the benefits of the proposed requirements exceed the 
costs. The Department also has determined that this regulatory action 
does not unduly interfere with State, local, and Tribal governments in 
the exercise of their governmental functions.
    To assist the Department in complying with the requirements of 
Executive Order 12866, the Secretary invites comments on whether there 
may be further opportunities to reduce any potential costs or increase 
potential benefits resulting from these proposed requirements without 
impeding the effective and efficient administration of the program.

Summary of Costs and Benefits

    The Department believes that the proposed requirements will not 
impose significant costs on States, LEAs, or other entities that 
receive school improvement funds. As noted elsewhere, these proposed 
requirements would drive school improvement funds to LEAs that have the 
lowest-achieving schools in amounts sufficient to turn those schools 
around and significantly increase student achievement. They would also 
require participating LEAs to adopt the most effective approaches to 
turning around low-achieving schools. In short, the Department believes 
that the proposed requirements would ensure that limited school 
improvement funds are put to their optimum use--that is, that they 
would be targeted to where they are most needed and used in the most 
effective manner possible. The benefits, then, would be more effective 
schools serving children from low-income families and a better 
education for those children.
    The Department believes that the State and local costs of 
implementing the proposed requirements (including State costs of 
applying for grants, distributing the grants to LEAs, ensuring 
compliance with the proposed requirements, and reporting to the 
Department, and LEA costs of applying for subgrants and implementing 
the interventions) will be financed through the grant funds. The 
Department does not believe that the proposed requirements will impose 
a financial

[[Page 43113]]

burden that States and LEAs will have to meet from non-Federal sources.

Need for Federal Regulatory Action

    The proposed requirements are needed to implement the School 
Improvement Grants program in FY 2009 in a manner that the Department 
believes will best enable the program to achieve its objective of 
supporting comprehensive and effective efforts by LEAs to overcome the 
challenges faced by low-achieving schools that educate concentrations 
of children living in poverty. The proposed requirements for SEAs to 
target school improvement funds on schools that are among the very 
lowest-achieving in their State will ensure that limited Federal funds 
will go to the schools in which they are most needed, including high 
schools with high dropout rates. The requirement for LEAs receiving 
school improvement funds to implement one of four specific 
interventions would ensure that those funds are not used for activities 
that are unlikely to produce the improvement in outcomes that the 
lowest-achieving schools need to achieve.
    The reporting requirements proposed in this notice would ensure 
that the Department receives limited but essential data on the results 
of this major Federal investment in school improvement. The Department 
does not believe that the State and local costs of providing those data 
will be significant and, as noted earlier, those costs can be met with 
grant funds.
    The definitions proposed would give clearer meaning to some of the 
terms used elsewhere in the notice.

Regulatory Alternatives Considered

    A likely alternative to promulgation of the requirements proposed 
in this notice would be for the Secretary to allocate the FY 2009 
school improvement funds without setting any regulatory requirements 
governing their use. Under such an alternative, States and LEAs would 
be required to meet the statutory requirements, but funds likely would 
not be targeted to the very lowest-achieving schools and LEAs would 
likely not use all the funds for activities most likely to result in a 
real turn-around of those schools and significant improvement in the 
educational outcomes for the students they educate.

Accounting Statement

    As required by OMB Circular A-4 (available at 
http://www.Whitehouse.gov/omb/Circulars/a004/a-4.pdf), in the following 
table, we have prepared an accounting statement showing the classification 
of the expenditures associated with the provisions of these proposed 
requirements. This table provides our best estimate of the Federal 
payments to be made to States under this program as a result of these 
proposed requirements. Expenditures are classified as transfers to 
States.

  Table--Accounting Statement Classification of Estimated Expenditures
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Category                             Transfers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annual Monetized Transfers................  $3,545,633,000.
From Whom to Whom.........................  Federal Government to
                                             States.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As previously noted, the ARRA provides $3 billion for School 
Improvement Grants in FY 2009 in addition to the previously 
appropriated $546 million. The proposed requirements in this notice 
would govern the total $3.546 billion in FY 2009 school improvement 
funds.
    The proposed requirements will have a distributional impact on the 
allocation of school improvement funds nationally. The implementation 
of these requirements would likely result in a larger proportion of 
program funds flowing to LEAs that have larger concentrations of the 
lowest-achieving schools (Tier I and Tier II schools) and a smaller 
portion flowing to other LEAs. However, because the FY 2009 
appropriation for the program is much larger than the appropriation for 
FY 2008, the negative impact on the latter category of LEAs may be 
minimal. The Department is unable to project the amount of the shift 
but will collect data on the allocations through the procedures 
described under Reporting and Evaluation.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that these proposed requirements will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Under the U.S. Small Business Administration's Size 
Standards, small entities include small governmental jurisdictions such 
as cities, towns, or school districts (LEAs) with a population of less 
than 50,000. Approximately 11,900 LEAs that receive Title I funds 
qualify as small entities under this definition. However, the small 
entities that the proposed requirements will affect are small LEAs 
receiving school improvement funds under section 1003(g) of the ESEA--
i.e., a small LEA that has one or more schools in improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring and that meets the SEA's priorities 
for greatest need for those funds and demonstrates the strongest 
commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources to their 
lowest-achieving Title I schools to raise substantially the achievement 
of their students.
    SEAs would develop their own definitions for their lowest-achieving 
schools, consistent with the requirements of this notice, but 
preliminary data analyses by the Department suggest that 15-25 percent 
of the lowest-performing schools in the Nation are located in rural 
areas, which are likely to contain most of the targeted schools that 
are operated by small LEAs. Assuming a maximum of 1,000 turnaround 
schools nationwide, and that few if any rural LEAs will contain more 
than one of their State's lowest-performing schools, there would be a 
range of 150 to 250 small LEAs affected by the requirements in this 
notice, including a limited number of small suburban and urban LEAs.
    The requirements proposed in this notice would not have a 
significant economic impact on these small LEAs because (1) the costs 
of implementing the required interventions would be covered by the 
grants received by successful applicants, and (2) in most cases the 
costs of developing turnaround plans and submitting applications would 
not be significantly higher than the costs that would be incurred in 
applying for School Improvement Grants under the statutory 
requirements.
    Successful LEAs would receive up to three years of funding under 
section 1003(g) of the ESEA to implement their proposed interventions, 
consistent with the Secretary's intention that SEAs ensure that awards 
are of sufficient size and duration to turn around the Nation's lowest-
achieving schools.
    Small LEAs may incur costs to develop and submit plans for turning 
around their lowest-achieving schools but, in general, such costs would 
be similar to those incurred to apply for School Improvement Grant 
funding under existing statutory requirements. Moreover, since nearly 
all of the schools included in the applications submitted by small LEAs 
would be schools that already are in improvement status, these LEAs 
would be able to incorporate existing data analysis and planning into 
their applications, at little additional cost. Also, small LEAs may 
receive technical assistance and other support from their SEAs in 
developing turnaround plans and applications for these funds.
    In addition, the Department believes the benefits provided under 
this

[[Page 43114]]

proposed regulatory action will outweigh the burdens on these small 
LEAs of complying with the proposed requirements. In particular, the 
proposed requirements potentially make available to eligible small LEAs 
significant resources to make the fundamental changes needed to turn 
around their lowest-achieving schools, resources that otherwise may not 
be available to small and often geographically isolated LEAs.
    The Secretary invites comments from small LEAs as to whether they 
believe the requirements proposed in this notice would have a 
significant economic impact on them and, if so, requests evidence to 
support that belief.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The proposed requirements in this notice contain information 
collection provisions that are subject to review by OMB under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). It is our plan 
to offer a comment period for the information collection provisions at 
the time of the notice of final requirements. This is because we cannot 
finalize the requirements and develop the application package until we 
have received and responded to comments on the underlying proposed 
requirements in this notice. At that time, the Department will submit 
the information collection to OMB for its review and provide the burden 
hours associated with each requirement for comment.
    Because it is likely that the information collection requirements 
will be reviewed under emergency OMB processing, however, the 
Department encourages the public to comment on the burden hours 
associated with the contents of the SEA application proposed in this 
notice. As noted earlier, that application would generally address the 
SEA's role with respect to school improvement funds, including 
establishing criteria to approve an LEA's application, allocating 
school improvement funds to the LEA, monitoring the implementation of 
interventions by the LEA and the progress participating schools in the 
LEA are making with respect to both student achievement outcomes and 
the leading indicators described in Section III of this notice, 
providing technical assistance to the LEA and its participating 
schools, and holding the LEA and its schools accountable for acceptable 
progress. We estimate that an SEA would spend approximately 90 hours of 
staff time to plan and prepare its application at a cost of $2,700 per 
State ($30.00 (average cost per hour of SEA staff) times 90 hours). 
Thus, we estimate the total burden to be up to 4,680 hours (52 SEAs (50 
States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) times 90 hours) or 
$140,400 ($30.00 times 4,680) for all States.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

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.

    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: 84.377)

    Dated: August 21, 2009.
Arne Duncan,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. E9-20612 Filed 8-25-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P