February 13, 2004
Honorable Nicholas Donohue
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Dear Commissioner Donohue:
This letter is in response to email communication received on January 13, 2004 from Lorraine Patusky regarding the use of Section 6111 funds of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Thank you for the information about the efforts you are taking to implement the assessment provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Over the course of several months, you have provided information and had several conversations with both Ron Tomalis, Counselor to the Secretary, and Gene Hickok, Acting Deputy Secretary, about the use of federal money for State assessments. I want to offer clarification on the federal monies made available to New Hampshire for meeting both the standards and assessments requirements and other NCLB goals.
New Hampshire has received approximately $3.9 million in each of fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to assist New Hampshire in developing the standards and assessments required under NCLB. The primary purpose of these assessment funds (Section 6111 of NCLB) is for States to develop their assessments for grades 3-8 and high school in reading/language arts and mathematics (required by 2005-06), and in each of three grade spans for science (required by 2007-08). A State must allocate the maximum amount of Section 6111 needed for the development of the required standards and assessments before using these funds for test administration costs. As we have explained to other States, any funds not needed for development of assessments required by Section 1111(b)(3) may be used to refine or develop new items for existing reading/language arts, mathematics, or science assessments, or other uses as outlined in Section 6111(2). New Hampshire should have a timeline and budget in place explaining how it will meet these targets and how it will spend its federal funds for development purposes. Please send this information to my office as soon as possible.
As you know, federal funds are subject to the statutory provisions outlining the use of those funds, and States and recipients are subject to audit and program review regarding their proper use. This letter addresses only the proper use of funds under Section 6111 of ESEA.
If I can be of any additional assistance, please let me know.