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Notice

Career Resource Network State Grants

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed extension of project period and waiver, and reopening of competition for American Samoa.

SUMMARY:

We propose to waive the requirement in 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2) as it applies to projects funded under the Career Resource Network State Grants Program (CRN) in fiscal year (FY) 2000. We propose this waiver in order to be able to extend the project periods for 58 current grants awarded under the FY 2000 CRN competition.

We also are proposing to reopen the FY 2000 competition for the limited purpose of allowing American Samoa to submit an application for funding under the CRN.

We are requesting public comments on the proposed extension, waiver, and the limited reopening of the FY 2000 competition.

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DATES:

We must receive your comments on or before June 28, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Address all comments about this proposed extension and waiver to Sharon A. Jones, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4515, Mary E. Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-7242. If you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the following address: sharon.jones@ed.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sharon A. Jones. Telephone (202) 205-9870.

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 proposed extension and waiver in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Invitation To Comment

We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed extension and waiver. We are particularly interested in receiving comments on the potential impact the extension and waiver may have on the CRN.

Additionally, 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 extension and waiver. 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 CRN.

During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this proposed extension and waiver in room 4515, Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8 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 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 extension and waiver. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Background

On May 12, 2000 (65 FR 30798), we issued a notice inviting applications for new awards under the CRN for FY 2000. Among other things, the notice (a) explained that CRN grants are intended to provide support for the implementation of Statewide, systemic strategies for providing young people and adults with the critical career information resources and the skills they need to make effective educational and career decisions throughout their lives, (b) created a two-year project period, (c) established the deadline for the receipt of applications, and (d) clearly identified the eligible applicants, which include any of the 50 States, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia,Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

In the May 12th notice we indicated that the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are not eligible for funding under the CRN after FY 2001 and, therefore, would not be eligible to receive funding under the CRN beyond FY 2001. However, following publication of the notice, Congress enacted H.R. 2436, the Guam Omnibus Opportunities Act, in which it extended the eligibility of these three entities beyond 2001, and until such time as they have fully completed the negotiations of their compacts of free association. Accordingly, since these three entities have not yet completed the negotiations process, they would continue to be eligible for funding under the CRN program in FY 2002, and perhaps beyond.

As indicated in the May 12th notice, we expected to receive applications from each of the 59 eligible applicants. With the exception of American Samoa, every eligible State and outlying area applied for and received funding under the FY 2000 competition. American Samoa missed the deadline, but has indicated that it is interested in submitting an application and receiving funding in FY 2002. Based on the statute as written and the important services to be provided under the authority of section 118 of the Perkins Act, we believe that Congress intended for us to provide assistance under the CRN program to all eligible entities. We are, therefore, reopening the FY 2000 competition in order that American Samoa may apply for funding under the CRN.

If we held a new competition for FY 2002 and every current grantee, as well as American Samoa, applied for and received funding, all eligible applicants would be receiving support under the CRN in FY 2002. We believe, therefore, that in FY 2002 it is now preferable and in the best interest of the CRN for us to extend currently funded projects, allow American Samoa to apply for a grant, and review requests for continuation awards from the 58 current FY 2000 grantees, rather than hold a new competition in FY 2002. We believe that holding a new competition would create an unnecessary burden for current grantees since the 58 current grantees would have to undertake the effort and cost of submitting new applications for funding in FY 2002. A new competition is likely merely to cause existing grantees to expend valuable time and resources applying for program funding under the existing authority, while requesting continuation awards would be a more appropriate and effective means for current CRNs already under way to continue their projects under this program. In addition, pursuing a continuation grant process would also result in a more efficient use of Federal funds.

Moreover, the Perkins Act, which includes authorization for the CRN, expires at the end of FY 2003. With the uncertainties presented by the absence of authorizing legislation for the CRN beyond 2003, it does not appear to be advisable to hold a competition in FY 2003 for projects that would operate in FY 2004. We are generally reluctant to announce a competition whereby eligible entities would be expected to proceed through the application preparation and submission process while lacking critical information about the future of the program, and do not think that it would be in the public interest to do so in this case.

Since we propose a limited purpose reopening of the FY 2000 competition so as to allow American Samoa to apply for CRN funding, the proposal of continuation grants in lieu of a FY 2002 competition will not prevent the support of this last, and as yet unfunded, eligible entity under the CRN.

EDGAR Requirement

In order to provide for continuation awards, we must waive the requirement in 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which establishes the conditions for extending a project period, including prohibiting the extension of a program's project period if it involves the obligation of additional Federal funds.Start Printed Page 37410

This proposed extension and waiver would allow us to make continuation grants at least in FY 2002 and FY 2003 and perhaps beyond FY 2003 if Congress continues to appropriate funds for the CRN program under the current statutory authority. However, in accordance with 34 CFR 75.250, we do not hereby propose to make continuation grants beyond FY 2005.

A waiver as proposed would mean that: (1) Current CRN grants may be continued at least through FY 2004 (depending on the availability of appropriations for CRN in subsequent years under the current statutory authority), instead of ending in FY 2002, and (2) we would not announce a new competition or make new awards in FY 2002, as previously planned.

Continuation of the Current Grantees

With this proposed extension and waiver of § 75.261(c)(2) of EDGAR, we propose to extend the project periods of the 58 States and outlying areas that received grants under the FY 2000 competition for two years and for additional years for which Congress appropriates funds under the current statutory authority.

Decisions regarding annual continuation awards will be based on the program narratives, budgets and budget narratives, and Grant Performance Reports submitted by grantees, and on the regulations at 34 CFR 75.253. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.253, we would award continuation grants if we determined, among other things, and based on information provided by each grantee, that each grantee was making substantial progress performing grant activities. Under this proposed extension and waiver, (1) the project period for grantees could be extended to July 19, 2004, and (2) additional continuation awards could be made for additional year or years for which Congress appropriates funds under existing statutory authority.

We do not interpret the waiver as exempting current grantees from the account closing provisions of Pub. L. 101-510, or as extending the availability of FY 2001 funds awarded to the grantees. As a result of Pub. L. 101-510, appropriations available for a limited period may be used for payments of valid obligations for only five years after the expiration of their period of availability for Federal obligation. After that time, the unexpended balance of those funds is canceled and returned to the Treasury Department and is unavailable for restoration for any purpose.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

The Secretary certifies that the proposed extension and waiver and the activities required to support additional years of funding would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Because this proposed extension and waiver would affect only States and State agencies, the notice would not have an impact on small entities. States and State agencies are not defined as “small entities” in the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Instructions for Requesting a Continuation Award

Each grantee wishing to receive an annual continuation grant shall submit a program narrative that describes the activities it intends to carry out during each of the two years (FYs 2002 and 2003), and during any additional years for which Congress appropriates funds under the current statutory authority, of a continuation award. The activities must be consistent with, or be a logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of the grantee's approved application. A grantee shall also submit a budget and budget narrative for each year it requests a continuation award. (34 CFR 75.253(c)(2)). States and outlying areas should request continuation awards at least three weeks before their current grants expire.

Amount of New Awards Under Continuation Grant

The actual amount of each continuation award depends on factors such as (1) the grantee's written statement describing how the funds made available under the continuation award will be used, (2) a cost analysis of the grantee's budget by the Department, and (3) whether any unobligated funds remaining from previous grant awards are needed to complete activities that are planned for completion in the prior budget period. (34 CFR 75.232 and 75.253(c)(2)(ii) and (3)).

The CRN has received an increase in its appropriation from FY 2001, which could result in States and outlying areas receiving a percentage increase in their awards. As a result of the increase in the appropriation, it is expected that States and outlying areas will receive a 4.39 percent increase in the amount of their current grants.

Although grantees must submit program narratives and budgets describing the activities they plan to carry out during each period of continuation, which could include some increase in funding, we strongly encourage all grantees to consider the 4.39 percent increase when deciding the amount of funds to request to support their continuation of projects.

American Samoa

American Samoa missed the deadline for the FY 2000 competition, but is interested in receiving funding in FY 2002. In order to provide an opportunity for American Samoa to submit an application under the CRN, we propose to (1) reopen the competition and application notice published on May 12, 2000 (65 FR 30798) for this limited purpose, and (2) establish a new deadline date by which American Samoa would be required to submit its application. To be considered for funding, American Samoa must submit an application that meets the requirements established by the statute and the May 12, 2000 notice and is determined by the Department to have merit based on the criteria described in the May 12th notice. However, American Samoa is not required to follow the May 12th notice with regard to the DEADLINE FOR TRANSMITTAL OF APPLICATIONS, DEADLINE FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL REVIEW, ESTIMATED AVERAGE SIZE OF AWARDS, and PROJECT PERIOD. Instead, American Samoa should note the following:

Deadline for Transmittal of Application: July 31, 2002.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 30, 2002.

Estimated Range of Award: As with other awards under the FY 2000 competition, the size of American Samoa's award will depend on factors such as the scope and quality of the application and will be determined during pre-award clarification discussions with us. However, we strongly encourage American Samoa to consider the $85,732 estimated grant amount determined for American Samoa and published in the May 12th notice and the 4.39 percent increase in this notice, in determining the amount it requests for FY 2002.

Project Period: American Samoa's project period would be for FYs 2003 and 2004, and possibly for additional years for which Congress appropriates funds under the current statutory authority. Decisions regarding any continuation awards for American Samoa would be made in the same manner as decisions would be made for other CRN grantees under this notice.

Note:

The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

If You Have Questions About The Percentage Increase Your State Or Start Printed Page 37411Outlying Area May Receive Or About The Information You Must Submit In Order To Request A Continuation Award, Or New Award In The Case Of American Samoa, Contact: Burt Carlson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4331, Mary E. Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-7241. Telephone (202) 401-6225.

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: 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://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.346 Career Resource Network State Grants)

Dated: May 22, 2002.

Carol D'Amico,

Assistant Secretary, Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

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[FR Doc. 02-13311 Filed 5-28-02; 8:45 am]

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