FR Doc 04-706
[Federal Register: January 13, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 8)]
[Page 1975-1976]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []
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RIN 1810-ZA09

Notice of Proposed Priority and Clarification of Eligible Local 

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 
SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to add a competitive preference 
priority to the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program to 
reflect the importance of mastering reading skills in grades K-3. In 
this regard, the Secretary also proposes to clarify the allowable local 
professional development activities under this program, so that school 
library media specialists can address not only the reading needs of 
preschool children but also those of children in grades K-3. The 
Secretary may use this proposed priority and clarification of 
professional development activities for competitions in FY 2004 and in 
later years.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 12, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Margaret McNeely, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5C130, 
Washington, DC 20202-6200, Fax (202) 260-8969. If you prefer to send 
your comments through the Internet, use the following address:
    You must include the term COMMENTS in the subject line of your 
electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret McNeely. Telephone: (202) 
260-1335 or via the Internet at
    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 this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation to Comment

    We invite you to submit written comments regarding this proposed 
priority and clarification of eligible activities.
    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 and clarification of eligible activities. Please let us know

[[Page 1976]]

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 public comment period, you may inspect all 
public comments about these proposed actions in Room 5C130, 400 
Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. 
and 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except 
Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 

    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 and expansion of eligible 
activities. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of 
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 


    The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program (LSL), 
authorized by Title I, Part B, Subpart 4, section 1251 of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, (ESEA), as amended by 
the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is a discretionary grant program. 
Through LSL, the Department provides grants to eligible local 
educational agencies to improve student literacy skills and academic 
achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date 
school library materials; a well-equipped, technologically advanced 
school library media center; and well-trained, professionally certified 
school library media specialists.


Proposed Competitive Preference Priority for K-3 Projects

    This proposed competitive preference priority would support 
projects that propose primarily to serve grades K-3. The Department 
would add five points to an applicant's score if its application meets 
the priority. This proposed priority is based on the design of a 
proposed project rather than the enrollment of the school(s) to be 
served. Therefore, applicants with either K-6, K-8, or K-12 enrollments 
would be eligible to receive the competitive preference priority if 
their proposed project primarily serves grades K-3. For purposes of 
this priority, the term ``primarily'' means that more than 50 percent 
of the applicant's proposed budget will be used for grades K-3. The 
Secretary believes that targeting students in grades K-3 will maximize 
the impact of LSL on improving student reading achievement.

Proposed Clarification of Eligible Local Activities

    The Secretary proposes to allow grantees to conduct professional 
development activities for school library media specialists that 
further the purposes of the program, not only as related to preschool 
education, but also related to education benefiting children in grades 
K-3. This is consistent with our interpretation of the statute and 
legislative history. The Secretary believes that allowing professional 
development for school library media specialists benefiting children 
from preschool through grade 3 can help link projects under this 
program with efforts such as those funded under the Early Reading First 
program authorized by section 1221 et seq. of ESEA that benefit 
teachers of pre-school children, and under the Reading First program 
authorized by section 1201 et seq. of ESEA that benefit teachers of K-3 
children. Professional development for school library media specialists 
that serve children from preschool through grade 3 will assist these 
specialists and help them better meet the needs of students and fellow 
    We will announce the final priority and clarification of eligible 
local activities in the Federal Register. We will determine the final 
priority and eligible activities after considering written 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.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this proposed priority and expanded 
activities, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal 

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priority and clarification of eligible 
local activities for professional development has been reviewed in 
accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we 
have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory 
    The potential costs associated with the notice of proposed priority 
and the clarification of eligible local activities are those resulting 
from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary 
for administering this program effectively and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of proposed priority and clarification 
of eligible local activities, we have determined that the benefits of 
the proposed priority and clarification of eligible local activities 
justify the costs.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to 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.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 85, 97, 98 and 99.

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:

    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.
    You may also view this document in text at the Applicant 
Information link of the following 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:

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.364A Improving 
Literacy Through School Libraries Program)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6383.

    Dated: January 7, 2004.
Ronald J. Tomalis,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 04-706 Filed 1-12-04; 8:45 am]