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Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities-Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students With Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007

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Start Preamble

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.327K.

Dates: Applications Available: Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 4, 2007.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 7, 2007.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program is to: (1) Improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media services activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for students with disabilities; and (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom.

Priority: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority is from allowable activities specified in sections 674(c)(1)(D) and 681(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.

Absolute Priority: For FY 2007, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority.

This priority is:

Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities—Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities.

Priority:

The purpose of this priority is to provide free educational materials, including textbooks, in accessible media for use by students with visual impairments and other print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools and in postsecondary and graduate schools. These materials may be provided using CD-ROMs, audiotapes, and similar technologies, including electronic text and digital audio synchronization.

To be considered for funding under this priority, the project must—

(a) Provide educational materials in accessible formats to State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) for use by elementary and secondary education students with visual impairments or other print disabilities. The educational materials, including specialized equipment needed to use the materials, must be provided at no cost. For example, the project may not assess membership fees to individual students or to institutions, including schools, SEAs, or LEAs;

(b) Provide educational materials in accessible formats for students with visual impairments or other print disabilities attending postsecondary and graduate schools. Materials may be provided directly to eligible students or to postsecondary and graduate institutions and vocational rehabilitation agencies requesting materials in accessible formats on behalf of eligible students. The materials and equipment needed to use the materials must be provided free of charge. For example, the project may not assess fees to individual students or to institutions, including, vocational rehabilitation agencies, post-secondary schools, and graduate schools;

(c) Obtain statements of eligibility signed by professionals who certify the eligibility of postsecondary and graduate students with visual impairments and other print disabilities and the students' specific need for educational materials in accessible formats;

(d) Coordinate and collaborate with publishers, software developers, other manufacturers of accessible materials for individuals with visual impairments or print disabilities, and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to ensure that the project uses the most effective and economical technology available to provide access to educational materials, including textbooks;

(e) To the fullest extent possible and appropriate, produce accessible materials using files that are compliant with the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS);

(f) Coordinate with SEAs, LEAs, other government agencies, and disability and educational organizations, including the NIMAC, to ensure non-duplication of effort in the production or acquisition of accessible materials and in the delivery of these materials to SEAs, LEAs, and eligible postsecondary and graduate students;

(g) Cooperate with SEA and LEA efforts to implement or improve State systems for providing educational materials in accessible formats to students with visual impairments or other print disabilities;

(h) Ensure that project activities are conducted in compliance with section 121 of the Copyright Act, as amended;

(i) Establish an advisory group consisting of SEA and LEA representatives, parents of individuals with visual impairments and other print disabilities ages birth through 26, consumers with visual impairments and consumers with other print disabilities who use educational materials in accessible formats, and schools or other institutions where educational materials in accessible formats are used. The purpose of this advisory group is to provide the project with input and ongoing advice on the project's goals, objectives, program activities, and services;

(j) Budget for a one and one-half day kick-off meeting to be held in Washington, DC, within four weeks after receipt of the award. The primary purposes of this meeting will be to review the Department's grantee requirements, discuss the project's planned activities and budget, and confirm the expectations for the project's performance measures and evaluation;

(k) Budget for a three-day Project Director's meeting in Washington, DC, during each year of the project, and one additional two-day trip to Washington, DC, to meet with the Project Officer for the Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) and other funded projects for purposes of cross-project collaboration and information exchange; and

(l) Include on its Web site, if the project maintains a Web site, relevant information and documents in a format that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for accessibility.

Fourth and Fifth Years of Project

In deciding whether to continue this project for the fourth and fifth years, the Start Printed Page 43255Secretary will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a), and in addition—

(a) The recommendations of a review team consisting of experts selected by the Secretary. The review will be conducted during the last half of the project's second year in Washington, DC. Projects must budget for travel expenses associated with this one-day intensive review;

(b) The timeliness and effectiveness with which all requirements of the negotiated cooperative agreement have been, or are being, met by the project; and

(c) Evidence of the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the project's activities and the degree to which the project's activities have contributed to improved results for students with disabilities.

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities. However, section 681(d) of IDEA makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.

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Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1474 and 1481.

End Authority

Applicable Regulations: 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.

Note:

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

Note:

The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only.

II. Award Information

Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.

Estimated Available Funds: $7,000,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: $2,000,000-$7,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $2,300,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1 to 3.

Maximum Award: $7,000,000 is the maximum award amount for a single budget period of 12 months.

Additional Funding Information: OSEP may have funds available to support enhancements to the activities described in the applications approved for funding under this competition. Applicants wishing to apply for enhancement funds may use up to five additional pages (for a total of 25 pages) to describe additional activities that augment or complement those put forth in the narrative section of their grant proposals. Enhancement activities are either expansions of activities already described in the narrative or new activities that will improve the quality of the tasks proposed by the applicant; for example, increased production and distribution of materials in accessible formats, the acquisition of expert technical assistance, or improved stakeholder involvement. A separate budget for the enhancement funds must be prepared and included in Part II of the application if the applicant chooses to include a proposal for potential enhancements as part of its application. The budget for the enhancement funds may not exceed $5,000,000.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

Eligible Applicants: National, nonprofit entities with a proven track record of meeting the needs of students with visual impairments and other print disabilities through services described in section 674(c)(1)(D) of IDEA that have the capacity to produce, maintain, and distribute, in a timely fashion, up-to-date textbooks in digital audio formats to qualified students and that have a demonstrated ability to significantly leverage Federal funds through other public and private contributions, as well as through the expansive use of volunteers.

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

3. Other: General Requirements— (a) The projects funded under this competition must make positive efforts to employ, and advance in employment, qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).

(b) The applicant and grant recipient funded under this competition must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26 in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).

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), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: http://www.ed.gov/​pubs/​edpubs.html or 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 84.327K.

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the person or team listed under Alternative Format in section VIII of this notice.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. You must limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 20 pages, or 25 pages if you apply for enhancement funds, using the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
  • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

The page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the two-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the references, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section (Part III).

We will reject your application if—

  • You apply these standards and exceed the page limit; or
  • You apply other standards and exceed the equivalent of the page limit.

3. Submission Dates and Times:

Applications Available: August 3, 2007.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 4, 2007.

Applications for grants under this competition may be submitted electronically using the http://www.Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov), Start Printed Page 43256or in paper format by mail or hand delivery. For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format 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.

Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII in this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: September 7, 2007.

4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition 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 competition.

5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

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

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

To comply with the President's Management Agenda, we are participating as a partner in the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site. The Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities competition, CFDA number 84.327K, is included in this project. We request your participation in Grants.gov.

If you choose to submit your application electronically, you must use the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at http://www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

You may access the electronic grant application for the Educational Materials in Accessible Formats for Students with Visual Impairments and Other Print Disabilities competition at http://www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.327, not 84.327K).

Please note the following:

  • Your participation in Grants.gov is voluntary.
  • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.
  • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not consider your application if it is date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system later than 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.
  • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.
  • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov at http://e-Grants.ed.gov/​help/​GrantsgovSubmissionProcedures.pdf
  • To submit your application via Grants.gov, you must complete all steps in the Grants.gov registration process (see http://www.grants.gov/​applicants/​get_​registered.jsp). These steps include (1) Registering your organization, a multi-part process that includes registration with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR); (2) registering yourself as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (3) getting authorized as an AOR by your organization. Details on these steps are outlined in the Grants.gov 3-Step Registration Guide (see http://www.grants.gov/​section910/​Grants.govRegistrationBrochure.pdf). You also must provide on your application the same D-U-N-S Number used with this registration. Please note that the registration process may take five or more business days to complete, and you must have completed all registration steps to allow you to submit successfully an application via Grants.gov. In addition you will need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take three or more business days to complete.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit your application in paper format.
  • If you submit your application electronically, you must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications. Please note that two of these forms—the SF 424 and the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424—have replaced the ED 424 (Application for Federal Education Assistance).
  • If you submit your application electronically, you must attach any narrative sections of your application as files in a .DOC (document), .RTF (rich text), or .PDF (Portable Document) format. If you upload a file type other than the three file types specified in this paragraph or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.
  • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by e-mail. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application). Start Printed Page 43257
  • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll-free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

If you submit an application after 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII in this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

Note:

The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail. If you submit your application in paper format by mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier), you must mail the original and two 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 84.327K), 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 84.327K), 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.

(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.

(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.

c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery. If you submit your application in paper format by hand delivery, you (or a courier service) must deliver the original and two 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 84.327K), 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 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

(2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification 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 competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

2. Peer Review: In the past, there have been problems in finding peer reviewers without conflicts of interest for competitions in which many entities throughout the country submit applications. The Standing Panel requirements under IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within the specific group. This procedure will ensure the availability of a much larger group of reviewers without conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process and permit panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications. However, if the Department selects for funding an equal number of applications in each group, different cut-off points for fundable applications in each group may result.

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 notify you informally, also.

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: At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by Start Printed Page 43258the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html.

4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department has developed measures that will yield information on various aspects of the quality of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program. These measures focus on the extent to which projects are of high quality, are relevant to the needs of children with disabilities, and contribute to improving results for children with disabilities. We will collect data on these measures from the projects funded under this competition.

Grantees also will be required to report information on their projects' performance in annual reports to the Department (34 CFR 75.590).

VII. Agency Contact

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Glinda Hill, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 4063, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-7376.

If you use a TDD, call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll-free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Alternative Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll-free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can 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.

Start Signature

Dated: July 30, 2007.

John H. Hager,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

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[FR Doc. E7-15130 Filed 8-2-07; 8:45 am]

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