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Notice

Office of Innovation and Improvement; Overview Information; Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.

354A.

Dates: Applications Available: March 28, 2005.

Date of Pre-Application Meeting: May 6, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 31, 2005.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 1, 2005.

Eligible Applicants: (A) A public entity, such as a State or local governmental entity; (B) A private, nonprofit entity; or (C) A consortium of entities described in (A) and (B).

Note:

The Secretary will make, if possible, at least one award in each of the three categories of eligible applicants.

Estimated Available Funds: $36,940,000. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in future years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $2,500,000-$15,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $9,235,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 3-5.

Note:

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

Project Period: From the start date indicated on the grant award document until the Federal funds and earnings on those funds have been expended for the grant purposes or until financing facilitated by the grant has been retired, whichever is later.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: This program will provide grants to eligible entities to permit them to enhance the credit of charter schools so that they can access private-sector and other non-Federal capital to acquire, construct, and renovate facilities at a reasonable cost. Grant projects awarded under this program will be of sufficient size, scope, and quality to enable the grantees to implement effective strategies.

Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), this priority is from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 225.12), which are published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2005 this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award up to an additional 15 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets this priority.

This priority is:

The capacity to offer public school choice in those communities with the greatest need for school choice based on—

(1) The extent to which the applicant would target services to geographic areas in which a large proportion or number of public schools have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001;

(2) The extent to which the applicant would target services to geographic areas in which a large proportion of students perform below proficient on State academic assessments; and

(3) The extent to which the applicant would target services to communities with large proportions of students from low-income families.

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7223-7223j.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 225, which are published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $36,940,000. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in future years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $2,500,000-$15,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $9,235,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 3-5.

Note:

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

Project Period: From the start date indicated on the grant award document until the Federal funds and earnings on those funds have been expended for the grant purposes or until financing facilitated by the grant has been retired, whichever is later.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: (A) A public entity, such as a State or local governmental entity; (B) A private, nonprofit entity; or (C) A consortium of entities described in (A) and (B).

Note:

The Secretary will make, if possible, at least one award in each of the three categories of eligible applicants.

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2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require any cost sharing or matching.

3. Other: The charter schools that a grantee selects to benefit from this program must meet the definition of a charter school, as defined in the Charter Schools Program authorizing statute in section 5210(1) of the ESEA, as amended.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package: Education Publications Center (ED Pubs), P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Telephone (toll free): 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (301) 470-1244. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call (toll free): 1-877-576-7734.

You may also contact ED Pubs at its Web site: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html or you may contact ED Pubs at its e-mail address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.

If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.354A.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact persons listed elsewhere in this notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT (see VII. Agency Contacts).

In addition, applications will be available at http://www.ed.gov/​programs/​charterfacilities/​applicant.html.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Each Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program application must include the following specific elements:

(a) A statement identifying the activities proposed to be undertaken with grant funds (the “grant project”) including how the applicant will determine which charter schools will receive assistance, and how much and what types of assistance these schools will receive.

(b) A description of the involvement of charter schools in the application's development and in the design of the proposed grant project.

(c) A description of the applicant's expertise in capital markets financing. (Consortium applicants must list information for each of the participating organizations.)

(d) A description of how the proposed grant project will leverage the maximum amount of private-sector and other non-Federal capital relative to the amount of Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program funding used and how the proposed grant project will otherwise enhance credit available to charter schools.

(e) A description of how the eligible entity possesses sufficient expertise in education to evaluate the likelihood of success of a charter school program for which facilities financing is sought.

(f) In the case of an application submitted by a State governmental entity, a description of current and planned State funding actions and other forms of financial assistance to ensure that charter schools receive the funding they need to have adequate facilities.

Additional requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this program.

Page Limit: We have found that reviewers are able to conduct the highest-quality review when applications are concise and easy to read. Applicants are encouraged to limit their applications to no more than 50 double-spaced pages (not including the required forms and tables), to use a 12-point or larger-size font with one-inch margins at the top, bottom, and both sides, and to number pages consecutively. Furthermore, applicants are strongly encouraged to include a table of contents that specifies where each required part of the application is located.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: March 28, 2005.

Date of Pre-Application Meeting: May 6, 2005.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 31, 2005.

Applications for grants under this program may be submitted by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application by mail or hand delivery, please refer to section IV. 6. Other Submission Requirements in this notice.

We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 1, 2005.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

5. Funding Restrictions:

(a) Reserve accounts. Grant recipients, in accordance with State and local law, must deposit the grant funds received under this program (other than funds used for administrative costs) in a reserve account established and maintained by the grantee for this purpose. Amounts deposited in such account shall be used by the grantee for one or more of the following purposes in order to assist charter schools in accessing private-sector and other non-Federal capital:

(1) Guaranteeing, insuring, and reinsuring bonds, notes, evidences of debt, loans, and interests therein.

(2) Guaranteeing and insuring leases of personal and real property.

(3) Facilitating financing by identifying potential lending sources, encouraging private lending, and other similar activities that directly promote lending to, or for the benefit of, charter schools.

(4) Facilitating the issuance of bonds by charter schools or by other public entities for the benefit of charter schools, by providing technical, administrative, and other appropriate assistance (such as the recruitment of bond counsel, underwriters, and potential investors and the consolidation of multiple charter school projects within a single bond issue).

Funds received under this program and deposited in the reserve account must be invested in obligations issued or guaranteed by the United States or a State, or in other similarly low-risk securities. Any earnings on funds, including fees, received under this program must be deposited in the reserve account and be used in accordance with the requirements of this program.

(b) Charter school objectives. An eligible entity receiving a grant under this program must use the funds deposited in the reserve account to assist charter schools in accessing capital to accomplish one or both of the following objectives:

(1) The acquisition (by purchase, lease, donation, or otherwise) of an interest (including an interest held by a third party for the benefit of a charter school) in improved or unimproved real property that is necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.

(2) The construction of new facilities, or the renovation, repair, or alteration of existing facilities, necessary to commence or continue the operation of a charter school.

(c) Other. Grantees must ensure that all costs incurred using funds from the reserve account are reasonable. The full faith and credit of the United States are not pledged to the payment of funds under such obligation. Start Printed Page 15072

Applicants that are selected to receive an award must enter into a written Performance Agreement with the Department prior to drawing down funds, unless the grantee receives written permission from the Department in the interim to draw down a specific limited amount of funds. Grantees must maintain and enforce standards of conduct governing the performance of their employees, officers, directors, trustees, and agents engaged in the selection, award, and administration of contracts or agreements related to this grant. The standards of conduct must mandate disinterested decision-making.

A grantee may use not more than 0.25 percent (one quarter of one percent) of the grant funds for the administrative costs of the grant.

The Secretary, in accordance with chapter 37 of title 31, United States Code, will collect all of the funds in the reserve account established with grant funds (including any earnings on those funds) if the Secretary determines that the grantee has permanently ceased to use all or a portion of the funds in such account to accomplish the purposes described in the authorizing statute and the Performance Agreement or, if not earlier than two years after the date on which the entity first receives these funds, the entity has failed to make substantial progress in undertaking the grant project.

The charter schools that a grantee selects to benefit from this program must meet the definition of a charter school, as defined in the Public Charter Schools Program authorizing statute in section 5210(1) of the ESEA, as amended.

(d) We reference additional regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

6. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this program must be submitted in paper format by mail or hand delivery.

a. Submission of Applications by Mail.

If you submit your application by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and three copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the applicable following address:

By mail through the U.S. Postal Service: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.354A), 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260; or

By mail through a commercial carrier: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center—Stop 4260, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.354A), 7100 Old Landover Road, Landover, MD 20785-1506.

Regardless of which address you use, you must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

(1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark;

(2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service;

(3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier; or

(4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

(1) A private metered postmark, or

(2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

Note:

The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

b. Submission of Applications by Hand Delivery.

If you submit your application by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and three copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.354A), 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications: If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department:

(1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 4 of the Application for Federal Education Assistance (ED 424) the CFDA number—and suffix letter, if any—of the competition under which you are submitting your application.

(2) The Application Control Center will mail a grant application receipt acknowledgment to you. If you do not receive the grant application receipt acknowledgment within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

V. Application Review Information

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are in 34 CFR 225.11.

2. Review and Selection Process: Additional factors we consider in selecting an application for an award are in 34 CFR 225.12.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notice (GAN). We may also notify you informally.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Reporting: Applicants selected for funding will be required to submit the following reports to the Department:

(a) An annual report that includes the information from section 5227(b) of the ESEA and any other information the Secretary may require in the performance report.

(b) A semiannual report that includes internal financial statements and other information as the Secretary may require.

Grantees must also cooperate and assist the Department with any periodic financial and compliance audits of the grantee, as determined necessary by the Department. The specific Performance Agreement between the grantee and the Department may contain additional reporting requirements.

(c) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary.

4. Performance Measures: The performance measures for this program are: (1) The amount of funding grantees leverage for charter schools to acquire, construct, and renovate school facilities and (2) the number of charter schools served. Grantees must provide this information as part of their annual performance reports.

VII. Agency Contacts

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ann Margaret Galiatsos or Jim Houser, U.S. Start Printed Page 15073Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W245, Washington, DC 20202-6140. Telephone: (202) 205-9765 or by e-mail: charter.facilities@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) 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 program contact persons listed in this section.

VIII. Other Information

Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​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.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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Dated: March 18, 2005.

Michael J. Petrilli,

Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

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[FR Doc. 05-5809 Filed 3-23-05; 8:45 am]

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