FR Doc 2010-5978
[Federal Register: March 18, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 52)]
[Notices]               
[Page 13110-13111]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr18mr10-59]           
         

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Proposed Waivers for the Comprehensive Centers Program and 
Funding of Continuation Grants

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to waive the requirements in 34 CFR 
75.250 and 75.261(c)(2) of the Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) that, respectively, generally 
prohibit project periods exceeding five years and project period 
extensions involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. The 
proposed waivers would enable the 21 current eligible grantees under 
the Comprehensive Centers program to continue to receive Federal 
funding beyond the five-year limitation contained in 34 CFR 75.250.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 19, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about these proposed waivers to Frances 
Walter, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW., Room 
3W113, Washington, DC 20202-2800. You may provide comments by e-mail 
addressed to Fran.walter@ed.gov. You must include the term 
``Comprehensive Centers Program Waivers'' in the subject line of your 
electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frances Walter. Telephone: (202) 205-
9198 or via Internet: Fran.walter@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 can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this notice of proposed 
waivers.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice of proposed waivers in Room 3W113, 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 supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for these proposed waivers. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Background

    Under the Comprehensive Centers program, the Department supports 
grants to operate regional technical assistance centers and national 
content centers as authorized by sections 203 through 207 of the 
Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002 (ETAA) (20 U.S.C. 9602). 
The purpose of these centers is to provide technical assistance to 
States as States work to help local educational agencies (LEAs) and 
schools to close achievement gaps in core content areas and raise 
student achievement in schools, especially to help those in need of 
improvement (as defined by section 1116(b) of the Elementary and 
Secondary Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA)) in implementing the school 
improvement provisions under section 1116 of the ESEA.
    Eligible applicants for Comprehensive Center grants are research 
organizations, institutions, agencies, institutions of higher 
education, partnerships among such entities, or individuals, with the 
demonstrated ability or capacity to carry out the activities described 
in the notice inviting applications published in the Federal Register 
on June 3, 2005 (70 FR 53283) and corrected on June 20, 2005 (70 FR 
35415).
    We do not believe it would be in the public interest to hold new

[[Page 13111]]

competitions under the Comprehensive Centers program until after the 
Congress has completed the process of reauthorizing the ESEA and the 

ETAA since the primary work of the Comprehensive Centers is to help 
States, LEAs, and schools implement key school improvement provisions 
of the ESEA. We also have concluded that it would be contrary to the 
public interest to have a lapse in Comprehensive Centers projects 
pending these reauthorizations. For these reasons, the Secretary 
proposes to waive the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit 
project periods exceeding five years, and the requirements in 34 CFR 
75.261(c)(2), which limit the extension of a project period if the 
extension involves the obligation of additional Federal funds. With 
these waivers: (1) Current Comprehensive Centers grantees would receive 
FY 2010 funds and continue to operate through FY 2011 and possibly 
beyond, if Congress continues to appropriate funds for that purpose, 
and (2) we would not announce a new competition or make new awards 
under the Comprehensive Centers program in FY 2010.
    The proposed waivers of 34 CFR 75.250 and 75.261(c)(2) would not 
affect the applicability of the requirements in 34 CFR 75.253 
(continuation of a multi-year project after the first budget period) to 
any current Comprehensive Centers grantee that receives a continuation 
award as a result of the waivers.
    In addition, these proposed waivers would not exempt current 
Comprehensive Centers grantees from the account-closing provisions in 
31 U.S.C. 1552(a), nor would they extend the availability of funds 
previously awarded to current Comprehensive Centers grantees. Under 31 
U.S.C. 1552(a), appropriated funds may be used for payment of valid 
obligations for only five years after the expiration of their period of 
availability for Federal obligation. After that time, the unexpended 
balance of those funds is canceled and returned to the U.S. Treasury 
Department and is unavailable for restoration for any purpose. The 
waivers proposed in this notice would not change this requirement.
    Making these waivers, therefore, would ensure that the important 
services provided by the current Comprehensive Centers grantees can be 
continued, as the Department works on reauthorization of the ETAA and 
ESEA and designs a Comprehensive Centers program that is clearly 
aligned with the Department's technical assistance priorities. During 
this interim period the activities of the current Comprehensive Centers 
grantees would be modified to support the Department's technical 
assistance priorities.
    We will announce the final waivers, if any, in a notice in the 
Federal Register. We will determine the final waivers after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department.

Proposed Waivers--Comprehensive Centers Program

    The Secretary proposes to waive the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250 
and 75.261(c)(2), which prohibit project periods exceeding five years 
and extensions of project periods that involve the obligation of 
additional Federal funds, for the current Comprehensive Centers 
grantees.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that these proposed waivers would not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    The small entities that would be affected by these proposed waivers 
are:
    (a) The FY 2005 grantees currently receiving Federal funds; and
    (b) The entities that are eligible for an award under the 
Comprehensive Centers program (i.e., research organizations, 
institutions, agencies, institutions of higher education, partnerships 
among such entities, or individuals, with the demonstrated ability or 
capacity to carry out the activities described in the notice inviting 
applications published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2005 (70 FR 
53283) and corrected on June 20, 2005 (70 FR 35415)).
    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waivers would not have a 
significant economic impact on these entities because the proposed 
waivers and the activities required to support the additional years of 
funding would not impose excessive regulatory burdens or require 
unnecessary Federal supervision. The proposed waivers would impose 
minimal requirements to ensure the proper expenditure of program funds, 
including requirements that are standard for continuation awards.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This notice of proposed waivers does not contain any information 
collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR 79. One of the objectives of the Executive Order 
is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive Order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site.

    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: 
www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.283B, 
Comprehensive Centers Program).

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C 99601-99608.

    Dated: March 12, 2010.
Thelma Mel[eacute]ndez de Santa Ana,
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-5978 Filed 3-17-10; 8:45 am]
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