[Federal Register: June 18, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 117)]
[Page 41585-41587]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of Education


Office of Special Education Programs; Notice of Proposed Priority; 
State Program Improvement Grant Program; Notice

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Office of Special Education Programs; Notice of Proposed 
Priority; State Program Improvement Grant Program

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the State Program 
Improvement Grant program administered by the Office of Special 
Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) under the Individuals 
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended. The Assistant 
Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year 2002 
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: We must receive all comments on the proposed priority on or 
before July 18, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Debra 
Sturdivant, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 3527, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2641. Comments may 
also be sent through the Internet: Larry.Wexler@ed.gov
    You must include the term "State Improvement Grant" in the 
electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Wexler, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3630, Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC 20202-2641. Telephone: (202) 205-5390. FAX: (202) 205-
9179. Internet: Larry.Wexler@ed.gov
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of this document in 
an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or 
computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR 


Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed priority.
    We invite you 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 this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should 
take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while 
preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this proposed priority in room 3630, 330 C Street, SW., 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday 
through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for this proposed priority. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, contact the person listed under 
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding 
additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements. This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this proposed priority, we invite applications 
through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or 
(2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an 
application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications 
(34 CFR 75. 105(c)(1)).

General Requirements

    All projects funded under the proposed priority must make positive 
efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with 
disabilities in project activities (see section 606 of IDEA). In 
addition, all applicants and projects funded under the proposed 
priority must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of 
individuals with disabilities in planning, implementing, and evaluating 
the projects (see section 661(f)(1)(A) of IDEA) State Program 
Improvement Grants Program.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the State Program Improvement 
Grant program is to assist State educational agencies and their 
partners referred to in section 652(b) of IDEA with reforming and 
improving their systems for providing educational, early intervention, 
and transitional services, including their systems for professional 
development, technical assistance, and dissemination of knowledge about 
best practices, to improve results for children with disabilities.


Proposed Priority--Competitive Supplement to State Improvement Grants

    There are currently 36 State educational agencies that are funded 
under the State Improvement Grant program. These grants are meant to 
improve results for children with disabilities by addressing personnel 
training needs of States, as identified by the States, and have been an 
example of the Department's continuing effort to improve educational 
opportunities for all children. Congress established the State Program 
Improvement Grant program when it reauthorized IDEA in 1997. The money 
helps State educational agencies reform their systems for providing 
educational, early intervention and transitional services for children 
with disabilities. It also supports technical assistance for local 
schools and dissemination of knowledge about best practices. Seventy-
five percent of each grant of up to five years must be used for 
professional development.
    As part of the competition, each State, in conjunction with 
required partners, including local education agencies and other State 
agencies that provide special education services (at its option the

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State may also include other partners such as the Governor, parents of 
children with disabilities, organizations representing individuals with 
disabilities and their parents, the lead State agency for part C IDEA, 
institutions of higher education within the State, etc.), submitted 
improvement plans focused on such areas as: (1) Training and personnel; 
(2) recruitment and retention of special education, related services 
and early intervention staff; (3) performance of children with 
disabilities; and (4) improving overall program effectiveness. The 
States receiving the grants have used the funds to implement the 
improvement strategies that they proposed in their plans. The Secretary 
anticipates that there will be additional fiscal year 2001 funds 
available subsequent to making awards under this year's competition. To 
utilize additional funds that may become available, the Secretary is 
proposing to conduct a separate competition under which only grantees 
from the FY 1999, 2000 and 2001 competitions would be eligible.


    The Secretary proposes to establish a priority to award competitive 
supplements to State Improvement Grants awarded in 1999, 2000, or 2001 
for the purpose of enhancing current grant activities. Applicants must 
describe additional activities that augment or complement those goals 
and activities that are already being implemented as part of their 
State Improvement Grant. Enhancement activities may be simply an 
expansion of activities already described in the narrative or they may 
be new activities that will improve the quality of the previously 
approved State improvement grant tasks. The Secretary is particularly 
interested in activities that focus on: (1) Retention and recruitment 
of highly qualified personnel; (2) the use of research-based reading 
intervention strategies; and (3) the use of research-based positive 
behavior supports.
    Projects must--
    (a) Enhance only those State Improvement Grant activities that can 
be shown, based on the project's data-based evaluation, to have 
impacted positively on the goal(s) of the project;
    (b) Incorporate the expanded or new activities into the project's 
ongoing evaluation activities;
    (c) Incorporate the expanded or new activities into the project's 
existing partnership agreements; and
    (d) Ensure that the State uses not less than 75 percent of the 
funds (existing budget plus any supplemental funds) it receives under 
the grant for any fiscal year on professional development and training 
of regular education, special education, or related services personnel. 
Only 50 percent of the funds must be used on professional development 
if the State can demonstrate to the Department that it has sufficient 
    Under this priority, the Secretary will make, based on available 
funds, up to 36 awards with a project period of up to the amount of 
months remaining in the applicant's current State Improvement Grant 
subject to the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a) for continuation 

Intergovernmental Review

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

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at either of the 
following site: http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO access at: http://

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: State Program 
Improvement Grants Program, 84.323A.)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1405, 1461, 1472, 1474, and 1487.

    Dated: June 13, 2002.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 02-15301 Filed 6-17-02; 8:45 am]