[Federal Register: March 25, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 57)]
[Page 14555-14557]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part IV

Department of Education
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Proposed
Priority; Notice

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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Notice 
of Proposed Priority

SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes a priority for the Special Education--
Training and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities 
program administered by the Office of Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) under the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (IDEA), as amended. The Secretary may use this priority 
in Fiscal Year 1999 and subsequent years. The Secretary takes this 
action to focus Federal assistance on identified needs to improve 
results for children with disabilities. The proposed priority is 
intended to ensure wide and effective use of program funds.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 26, 1999.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning this proposed priority should be 
addressed to: Debra Sturdivant, U.S. Department of Education, 400 
Maryland Avenue, SW, Room 3521, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-
2641. Comments may also be sent through the Internet: comments@ed.gov
    You must include the term ``Training and Information for Parents of 
Children with Disabilities'' in the subject line of your electronic 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding this 
proposed priority contact Debra Sturdivant. Telephone: (202) 205-8038. 
Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the TDD number at (202) 205-8953. FAX: (202) 205-8105 (FAX is the 
preferred method for requesting information). Internet: 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of this notice in 
an alternate format (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) by calling (202) 205-8113.
    On request the Department supplies 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 docket for this priority. An individual with a disability 
who wants to schedule an appointment for this type of aid may call 
(202) 205-8113 or (202) 260-9895.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice contains one proposed priority 
under the Training and Information for Parents of Children with 
Disabilities program authorized by IDEA. This proposed priority 
supports the National Education Goals by helping to improve results for 
children with disabilities.
    The Secretary will announce the final priority in a notice in the 
Federal Register. The final priority will be determined by responses to 
this notice, available funds, and other considerations of the 
Department. Funding of a particular project depends on the availability 
of funds, the content of the final priority, and the quality of the 
applications received. The publication of this proposed priority does 
not preclude the Secretary from proposing additional priorities, nor 
does it limit the Secretary to funding only this priority, subject to 
meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice of proposed priority does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications under this competition 
will be published in the Federal Register concurrent with or 
following publication of the notice of final priority.

Purpose of Program

    The purpose of this program is to ensure that parents of children 
with disabilities receive training and information to help improve 
results for their children.
    Under section 682(e)(1) and (e)(2) of IDEA, the Secretary is 
required to: (1) make at least one award to a parent organization in 
each State, unless the Secretary does not receive an application from 
such an organization in each State of sufficient quality to warrant 
approval; and (2) select among applications submitted by parent 
organizations in a State in a manner that ensures the most effective 
assistance to parents, including parents in urban and rural areas, in 
the State.
    Eligible applicants for awards under this priority are parent 
organizations, as defined in section 682(g) of IDEA. A parent 
organization is a private nonprofit organization (other than an 
institution of higher education) that (1) has a board of directors, the 
parent and professional members of which are broadly representative of 
the population to be served and the majority of whom are parents of 
children with disabilities, that includes individuals with disabilities 
working in the fields of special education, related services, and early 
intervention; or (2) if the private nonprofit organization does not 
have such a board, it has a membership that represents the interest of 
individuals with disabilities and must establish a special governing 
board with the same requirements of paragraph (1) and develops a 
memorandum of understanding between this special governing board and 
the board of directors of the organization that clearly outlines the 
relationship between the board and the committee and the decision 
making responsibilities and authority of each.


    Under section 682 of the Act, and 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), the 
Secretary proposes to give an absolute preference to applications that 
meet the following priority. The Secretary proposes to fund under this 
competition only those applications that meet this proposed priority:

Proposed Absolute Priority--Parent Training and Information Centers 

    The IDEA Amendments of 1997 strengthen the role of parents and 
increase their involvement in decisions about their children's 
education. Other changes in the law, increased dependence on and the 
use of technology, and a greater emphasis on networking and promoting 
partnerships between parents and school personnel require the PTI 
centers to be strengthened and refocused. In order to allocate 
resources more equitably, create a unified system of service delivery, 
and provide the broadest coverage for the parents and families in every 
State, the Department will begin to make awards in four(4)-year cycles 
for each State. Beginning in FY 1999, applications for awards will be 
accepted for the following States: Arizona, Delaware, District of 
Columbia, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, 
Missouri, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
    In addition to the above State awards, the Secretary intends to 
fund a maximum of two awards. One award that focuses on the needs of 
Native-American families who have children with disabilities and one 
award that focuses on the needs of Military families who have children 
with disabilities.
    Until the first four(4)-year cycle is completed, there may be a 
need to have an interim schedule for awards in States where there are 
more than one PTI and their current awards do not have the same end 
date. Therefore, we will hold a competition for one or more awards in 
these States for the time periods needed to match the end date of the 
last Center funded. Applications will be accepted for FY 1999 interim 
competitions for the following States: (1) California--3-year award, 
(2) Illinois--3-year award, and (3) New York--2-year award.


    The Secretary proposes to establish an absolute priority to support 
parent training and information centers that--

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    (a) Provide training and information that meets the training and 
information needs of parents of children with disabilities in the area 
served by the center, particularly underserved parents and parents of 
children who may be inappropriately identified;
    (b) Assist parents to understand the availability of, and how to 
effectively use, procedural safeguards under IDEA, including 
encouraging the use, and explaining the benefits, of alternative 
methods of dispute resolution, such as the mediation process described 
in IDEA;
    (c) Serve the parents of infants, toddlers, and children with the 
full range of disabilities;
    (d) Assist parents to--
    (1) Better understand the nature of their children's disabilities 
and their educational and developmental needs;
    (2) Communicate effectively with personnel responsible for 
providing special education, early intervention, and related services;
    (3) Participate in decision making processes and the development of 
individualized education programs and individualized family service 
    (4) Obtain appropriate information about the range of options, 
programs, services, and resources available to assist children with 
disabilities and their families;
    (5) Understand the provisions of the Act for the education of, and 
the provision of early intervention services to, children with 
disabilities; and
    (6) Participate in school reform activities;
    (f) Contract with the State education agency, if the State elects 
to contract with the parent training and information center, for the 
purpose of meeting with parents who choose not to use the mediation 
process to encourage the use, and explain the benefits, of mediation 
consistent with sections 615(e)(2)(B) and (D) of IDEA;
    (g) Network with appropriate clearinghouses, including 
organizations conducting national dissemination activities under 
section 685(d) of IDEA, and with other national, State, and local 
organizations and agencies, such as protection and advocacy agencies, 
that serve parents and families of children with the full range of 
    (h) Establish cooperative relations with the Community Parent 
Resource Center or Centers in their State in accordance with section 
683(b)(3) of IDEA; and
    (i) Annually report to the Secretary on--
    (1) The number of parents to whom it provided information and 
training in the most recently concluded fiscal year, and
    (2) The effectiveness of strategies used to reach and serve 
parents, including underserved parents of children with disabilities; 
    (j) If there is more than one parent center in a particular State, 
coordinate their activities to ensure the most effective assistance to 
parents in that State.
    An applicant must identify the strategies it will undertake--
    (a) To ensure that the needs for training and information of 
underserved parents of children with disabilities in the areas to be 
served are effectively met, particularly in underserved areas of the 
State; and
    (b) To work with the community-based organizations, particularly in 
the underserved areas of the State.
    A parent training and information center that receives assistance 
under this absolute priority may also conduct the following 
    (a) Provide information to teachers and other professionals who 
provide special education and related services to children with 
    (b) Assist students with disabilities to understand their rights 
and responsibilities on reaching the age of majority, as included under 
section 615(m) of IDEA; and
    (c) Assist parents of children with disabilities to be informed 
participants in the development and implementation of the State 
improvement plan under IDEA.
    A project's budget must include funds to attend a two-day Project 
Directors' meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. each year of the 
    In order to demonstrate eligibility to receive a grant, an 
applicant must describe how its board or special governing committee 
meets the criteria for a parent organization in section 682(g) of IDEA. 
In addition, any parent organization that establishes a special 
governing committee under section 682(g)(2) of IDEA must demonstrate 
that the by-laws of its organization allows the governing committee to 
be responsible for operating the project (consistent with existing 
fiscal policies of its organization).
    Current funding levels, population of school age children, and the 
relative proportion of children living in poverty will be considered in 
determining funding levels for grants.

Intergovernmental Review

    The Training and Information for Parents of Children with 
Disabilities program in this notice is subject to the requirements of 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR Part 79. The 
objective of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism by relying on processes 
developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of 
proposed Federal financial assistance.
    In accordance with the order, this document is intended to provide 
early notification of the Department's specific plans and actions for 
this program.

Invitation To Comment

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments and 
recommendations regarding this proposed priority.
    All comments submitted in response to this notice will be available 
for public inspection, during and after the comment period, in Room 
3524, 300 C Street, SW, Washington, D.C., between the hours of 8:30 
a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 

Electronic Access to This Document

    Anyone may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or 
portable document format (pdf) on the World Wide Web at either of the 
following sites:


To use the pdf you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
Search, which is available free at either of the previous sites. If you 
have questions about using the pdf, call the U.S. Government Printing 
Office at (202) 512-1530 or, toll free at 1-888-293-6498.
    Anyone may also view these documents in text copy only on an 
electronic bulletin board of the Department. Telephone: (202) 219-1511 
or, toll free, 1-800-222-4922. The documents are located under Option 
G--Files/Announcements, Bulletins, and Press Releases.

    Note: The official version of a document is the document 
published in the Federal Register.

(Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1482)

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Training and 
Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities, (84.328))

    Dated: March 19, 1999.
Curtis L. Richards,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
[FR Doc. 99-7243 Filed 3-24-99; 8:45 am]