The ESEA contains several general provisions which are applicable to programs under various titles. Two of these cross cutting provisions -- waivers and consolidation of administrative funds -- are discussed in this section of the guidance.
There is broad waiver authority that allows SEAs and LEAs to obtain relief from Federal requirements to implement a program more effectively. In such cases, the Secretary's waiver of a particular statutory or regulatory requirement may be in effect for up to three years. It is difficult to anticipate all of the particular situations in which Federal program requirements might inhibit effective program operations. Therefore, the waiver authority allows the Secretary to consider requests for waivers of any statutory or regulatory requirement, with several exceptions. (See section 14401 of the ESEA, 20 USC 8881.)
General Waiver Procedures for SEAs and LEAs
In the case of waivers submitted by either an SEA or LEA, all interested entities in the State must be provided with notice and reasonable time to comment on the waiver request. In the case of SEAs acting on their own behalf, these comments must be submitted to the Secretary. In the case of LEAs, they must be submitted to the SEA.
The Secretary may not waive statutory or regulatory requirements relating to the following:
Allocation or distribution of funds to SEAs, LEAs, or other recipients of ESEA funds
Maintenance of Effort
Comparability of Services
Use of Federal funds to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds
Equitable participation of private school students and teachers
Parental participation and involvement
Applicable civil rights requirements
Charter School requirements
An SEA or LEA or Indian tribe requesting a waiver must:
Prohibitions regarding State aid in Section 14502 or the use of funds for religious worship or instruction in section 14507
Waivers approved by the Secretary may remain in effect up to three years. The Secretary may extend this period if the waiver:
The ESEA permits consolidation of State administrative funds under ESEA formula grant programs (e.g., Title I, Professional Development, Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and Title VI) if the SEA can demonstrate that the majority of its resources come from non-Federal sources. (Section 14201(a)(1) of the ESEA, 20 USC 8821(a)(1))
An SEA could use its consolidated administrative funds for broader purposes such as to:
Separate records to account for costs related to administration do not need to be kept for the individual programs included in this consolidation. (Section 1421(c) of the ESEA, 20 USC 4821(c))
The Department believes that these provisions could result in less burden to LEAs, and more program funds for instruction. Previously, LEAs spent separate program funds on program administration, resulting in burdensome record keeping and fragmented administration.
Because record keeping and administrative practices vary considerably across LEAs, it is not clear how much actually is spent on LEA administration. Title XIV authorizes a study of the use of administrative funds by LEAs and SEAs. The findings of this study will be reported to Congress. (Section 14204 of the ESEA, 20 USC 8824)