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Office of Innovation and Improvement; Overview Information: State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009

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Start Preamble

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.282D.

DATES:

Applications Available: January 15, 2009.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 1, 2009.

Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 31, 2009.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose of Program: This program provides grants to eligible States to help them establish or enhance, and administer, per-pupil facilities aid programs for charter schools. States eligible for these grants are those with per-pupil aid programs that assist charter schools with their school facility costs.

Priorities: In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), these priorities are from the regulations for this program (34 CFR 226.13 and 226.14).

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2009 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) we award up to an additional 40 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets these priorities.

These priorities are:

Competitive Preference Priority 1. The Secretary will award up to 20 points to an application under competitive preference priority 1. The applicant must meet all of the following requirements ((a) through (d)) in order to receive the full 20 points. The requirements are:

(a) Periodic Review and Evaluation.

The State provides for periodic review and evaluation by the authorized public chartering agency of each charter school at least once every five years unless required more frequently by State law, to determine whether the charter school is meeting the terms of the school's charter and is meeting or exceeding the student academic performance requirements and goals for charter schools as set forth under State law or the school's charter.

(b) Number of High-Quality Charter Schools.

The State has demonstrated progress in increasing the number of high-quality charter schools that are held accountable in the terms of the schools' charters for meeting clear and measurable objectives for the educational progress of the students attending the schools, in the period prior to the period for which the State applies for a grant under this competition.

(c) One Authorized Public Chartering Agency Other than an LEA, or an Appeals Process.

The State—

(1) Provides for one authorized public chartering agency that is not a local educational agency (LEA), such as a State chartering board, for each individual or entity seeking to operate a charter school pursuant to State law; or

(2) In the case of a State in which LEAs are the only authorized public chartering agencies, allows for an appeals process for the denial of an application for a charter school.

(d) High Degree of Autonomy.

The State ensures that each charter school has a high degree of autonomy over the charter school's budgets and expenditures.

Competitive Preference Priority 2. The Secretary may award up to 10 points to an application under a competitive preference priority regarding the capacity of charter schools to offer public school choice in those communities with the greatest need for this 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 (NCLB), 20 U.S.C. 7221a(e);

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

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

Competitive Preference Priority 3. The Secretary may award up to 10 points to an application under a competitive preference priority for applicants that have not previously received a grant under the program.

Start Authority

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7221d(b).

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Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 226.

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: The Administration has requested $14,782,000 for new awards for this program for FY 2009. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process before the end of the current fiscal year, Start Printed Page 2570if Congress appropriates funds for this program.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2010 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $2,000,000-$10,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $3,695,500.

Estimated Number of Awards: 4.

Note:

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

Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: States that have enacted a State law authorizing per-pupil facilities aid for charter schools.

2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: Under section 5205(b)(2)(C) of the ESEA, as amended by the NCLB, States, or parties that are closely collaborating with them, are required to provide matching funds. The minimum non-Federal share of the total cost of the project increases each year of the grant, from 10 percent the first year to 80 percent in the fifth year.

Applicants that are initially selected to receive grants will not receive grant funds unless they demonstrate, by July 15, 2009, that they will be able to fund the non-Federal share of the matching funds required under this program. The Department reserves the right to reject an application if an initial recipient does not demonstrate that it will have the required non-Federal funding by this date.

b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-supplant funding requirements under section 5205(b)(3)(C) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 7221d(b)(3)(C)).

Funds under this program must be used to supplement, and not supplant, State and local public funds expended to provide per pupil facilities aid programs, operations, financing programs, or other programs, for charter schools. Therefore, the Federal funds provided under this program, as well as the matching funds provided by the grantee, must be in addition to the State and local funds that would otherwise be used for this purpose in the absence of this Federal program. The Department generally considers that State and local funds would be available for this purpose at least in the amount of the funds that was available in the preceding comparison year and that the Federal funds and matching funds under this program would supplement that amount.

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. The definitions of charter school and authorized public chartering agency are in the application package.

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package: Valarie Perkins, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W258, Washington, DC 20202-5970. Telephone: (202) 260-1924 or by e-mail: Valarie.Perkins@ed.gov.

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

Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

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 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 30 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: January 15, 2009.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 1, 2009.

Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV.6. Other Submission Requirements of 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 of 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: August 31, 2009.

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: We specify unallowable costs in 34 CFR 75.533. 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 electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

Applications for grants under the State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants Program, CFDA number 84.282D, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at 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.

We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

You may access the electronic grant application for State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants Program at Start Printed Page 2571www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g. , search for 84.282, not 84.282D).

Please note the following:

  • 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 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. 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 4:30:00 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 program 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 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 qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 4:30:00 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 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of 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 4:30:00 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.

Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

  • You do not have access to the Internet; or
  • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and
  • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevent you from using the Internet to submit your application.

If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked Start Printed Page 2572no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

Address and mail or fax your statement to: Valarie Perkins, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W258, Washington, DC 20202-5970. FAX: (202) 205-5630.

Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, 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 84.282D) LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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 qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You 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 84.282D) 550 12th Street, SW., Room 7041, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 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 program are from the program regulations in 34 CFR 226.12. The maximum score for all of the selection criteria is 100 points. The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses. Each criterion also includes the factors that the reviewers will consider to determine how well an application meets the criterion. We encourage applicants to make explicit connections to the selection criteria and factors in their applications.

(a) Need for facility funding (30 points).

(1) The need for per-pupil charter school facility funding in the State.

(2) The extent to which the proposal meets the need to fund charter school facilities on a per-pupil basis.

(b) Quality of plan (30 points).

(1) The likelihood that the proposed grant project will result in the State either retaining a new per-pupil facilities aid program or continuing to enhance such a program without the total amount of assistance (State and Federal) declining over a five-year period.

(2) The flexibility charter schools have in their use of facility funds for the various authorized purposes.

(3) The quality of the plan for identifying charter schools and determining their eligibility to receive funds.

(4) The per-pupil facilities aid formula's ability to target resources to charter schools with the greatest need and the highest proportions of students in poverty.

(5) For projects that plan to reserve funds for evaluation, the quality of the applicant's plan to use grant funds for this purpose.

(6) For projects that plan to reserve funds for technical assistance, dissemination, or personnel, the quality of the applicant's plan to use grant funds for these purposes.

(c) The grant project team (15 points).

(1) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project manager and other members of the grant project team, including employees not paid with grant funds, consultants, and subcontractors.

(2) The adequacy and appropriateness of the applicant's staffing plan for the grant project.

(d) The budget (15 points).

(1) The extent to which the requested grant amount and the project costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed grant project.

(2) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the number of students served and to the anticipated results and benefits.

(3) The extent to which the non-Federal share exceeds the minimum percentages (which are based on the percentages under section 5205(b)(2)(C) of the ESEA), particularly in the initial years of the program.

(e) State experience (10 points).

The experience of the State in addressing the facility needs of charter schools through various means, including providing per-pupil aid, access to State loan or bonding pools, and the use of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds.

2. Review and Selection Process: Additional factors we consider in selecting an application for an award are in 34 CFR 226.13 and 226.14.

Note:

As described in 34 CFR 226.14(c), the Secretary may elect to consider the points awarded under the competitive preference priorities only for proposals that exhibit sufficient quality to warrant funding under the selection criteria.

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 Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.Start Printed Page 2573

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 the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c).

4. Performance Measures: The performance measure for this program is the ratio of funds leveraged by States for charter school facilities to funds awarded by the Department under the State Charter School Facilities Incentive Program.

VII. Agency Contacts

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Valarie Perkins or Ann Margaret Galiatsos, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4W258, Washington, DC 20202-5970. Telephone: (202) 260-1924 or by e-mail: charter.facilities@ed.gov.

If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

VIII. Other Information

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

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: January 9, 2009.

Amanda L. Farris,

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

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[FR Doc. E9-772 Filed 1-14-09; 8:45 am]

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