Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
The mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation. As such, the Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for Planning Grants for Increasing Instructional Time and Reducing Administrative Burdens, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.326A. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1820-0028.
Applications Available: July 15, 2019.
Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 14, 2019.
No later than July 22, 2019, OSERS will post pre-recorded informational webinars designed to provide technical assistance (TA) to interested applicants. The webinars may be found at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/osep/new-osep-grants.html.
Pre-Application Q & A Blog: No later than July 22, 2019, OSERS will open a blog where interested applicants may post questions about the application requirements for this competition and where OSERS will post answers to the questions received. OSERS will not respond to questions unrelated to the application requirements for this competition. The blog may be found at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/osep/new-osep-grants.html and will remain open until August 19, 2019. After the blog closes, applicants should direct questions to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768), and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
David Egnor, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5163, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5108. Telephone: (202) 245-7334. Email: David.Egnor@ed.gov.
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
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Full Text of Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program is to promote academic achievement and to improve results for children with disabilities by providing TA, supporting model demonstration projects, disseminating useful information, and implementing activities that are supported by scientifically based research.
Priority: This competition includes one absolute priority. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(v), this priority is from allowable activities specified in the statute (see sections 663 and 681(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); 20 U.S.C. 1463 and 1481(d)).Start Printed Page 33763
Absolute Priority: For FY 2019 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority. This priority is:
Planning Grants for Increasing Instructional Time and Reducing Administrative Burdens.
The Secretary believes that all students should be given the opportunity to succeed and that their success should be the primary focus of everyone in the educational system. When special education teachers, related services providers, and administrators spend time completing unnecessary paperwork, their ability to focus on improving outcomes for children with disabilities is hampered.
In the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Congress recognized that some Federal IDEA Part B requirements could create excessive paperwork and noninstructional time burdens on special education teachers, related services providers, and State and local administrators, thus diverting time and resources away from instruction and other activities that would improve educational and functional results for children with disabilities. As such, under section 609 of IDEA, Congress gave the Department limited authority to grant waivers of certain requirements of Part B of IDEA to not more than 15 States, based on State proposals to reduce excessive paperwork and noninstructional time burdens that do not assist in improving educational and functional results for children with disabilities. States and local governments have always had the authority, within the constraints of State and local law, to change or waive State and local requirements that exceed IDEA statutory and regulatory requirements in order to reduce administrative burden and increase instructional time.
The purpose of this priority is to support States in planning systemic changes that will promote improved educational and functional results for children with disabilities by reducing administrative burdens. Generally, States receiving grants under this priority will (1) assess the extent to which specific local, State, and Federal IDEA Part B requirements generate excessive paperwork and noninstructional time burdens on special education teachers, related services providers, and State and local administrators that do not assist in improving educational and functional results for children with disabilities (hereafter in the background, “administrative burdens”); and (2) develop a plan to reduce those administrative burdens.
Specifically, the Department seeks to make one-year awards to State educational agencies (SEAs) to assist them in conducting a comprehensive review of local, State, and Federal IDEA Part B requirements that result in administrative burdens. This review must not affect children's civil rights, procedural safeguards, and right to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Department anticipates that, at the end of the one-year project period, grantees will have developed a plan to reduce administrative burdens resulting from State or local statutory or regulatory requirements, policies, procedures, or practices that exceed IDEA Part B statutory or regulatory requirements. The plan would also identify administrative burdens resulting from Federal IDEA Part B statutory or regulatory requirements for which the State could seek a waiver in accordance with section 609 of IDEA.
The Department also intends to propose and adopt requirements for waivers and waiver applications under section 609 of IDEA later this year. In fiscal year 2020, the Department intends to solicit applications for multiyear waiver projects that could, but would not be required to, build on the plans developed under the planning grants awarded under this competition.
Our primary purpose is to help States identify the solutions that work best in their own circumstances while protecting children's civil rights, procedural safeguards, and the right to receive FAPE. The intention of the Department is not to predetermine specific solutions for any State, but rather to support States' own efforts to review, analyze, and identify barriers to improved outcomes for children with disabilities. The Department believes that by taking the time to review current requirements and meaningfully engage local stakeholders, States can make real and lasting change in the provision and effectiveness of services to children with disabilities.
The purpose of this priority is to fund up to 10 grants to support States in planning systemic changes that will promote improved educational and functional results for children with disabilities by reducing administrative burdens. Generally, States receiving grants under this priority will (1) assess the extent to which specific local, State, and Federal IDEA Part B requirements generate excessive paperwork and noninstructional time burdens on special education teachers, related services providers, and State and local administrators that do not assist in improving educational and functional results for children with disabilities (hereafter in the priority, “administrative burdens”); and (2) develop a plan to reduce those administrative burdens.
Projects must achieve, at a minimum, the following outcomes—
(a) Identification of the particular sources and effects of administrative burdens on special education and other teachers, related services providers, and State and local administrators; and
(b) A plan to reduce administrative burdens that would result in increased time and resources available for instruction and other activities aimed at improving results for children with disabilities.
Applicants must propose projects that meet the following programmatic requirements:
(a) The project must meaningfully consult a diverse group of stakeholders on an ongoing basis to support the goals and objectives of the project. Such a group must include, at a minimum, representatives of the following groups:
(i) Special education teachers and related services providers;
(ii) Local special education administrators;
(iii) Individuals with disabilities;
(iv) Parents, as defined in IDEA Section 602(23), of children with disabilities; and
(v) The State Advisory Panel; and
(b) The project must prepare a plan that—Start Printed Page 33764
(i) Identifies the State and local statutory and regulatory requirements or policies, procedures, and practices that exceed IDEA Part B statutory and regulatory requirements and were considered for revision;
(ii) Describes the range of options available to the State in reducing local, State, or Federal IDEA Part B administrative burdens, including any limitations on those options (e.g., statutory or regulatory requirements, judicial precedent);
(iii) Establishes clear and achievable timelines for the reduction of State and local administrative burdens;
(iv) Identifies the anticipated benefits of any potential reforms, including likely beneficiaries, and the magnitude and scope of anticipated benefits and potential increases in the time and resources available for instruction and other activities intended to improve educational and functional results for children with disabilities; and
(v) Identifies any Federal IDEA Part B statutory or regulatory requirements for which a waiver may be sought in accordance with section 609 of IDEA; and
(vi) Describes the procedures the State will use to ensure that any waiver that may be sought in accordance with section 609 of IDEA will not—
(A) Waive any statutory requirements of, or regulatory requirements relating to, applicable civil rights requirements or procedural safeguards under section 615 of IDEA; or
(B) Affect the right of a child with a disability to receive FAPE under Part B of IDEA.
Note: The purpose of this priority is to support States in developing a plan that meets these criteria. Applicants are not expected to submit the actual plan that meets these criteria as part of their application.
To be considered for funding under this priority, applicants must meet the application requirements in this priority. Each project funded under this absolute priority also must meet the programmatic requirements specified in the priority.
(a) Demonstrate, in the narrative portion of the application under “Need for the project,” how the proposed project will identify administrative burdens on special education teachers, related services providers, and State and local administrators. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(1) The current magnitude and scope of the administrative burdens to be addressed;
(2) The current number of State and local staff impacted by those burdens and the number of children with disabilities that they serve; and
(3) The current impact of those burdens on State and local staff and children with disabilities (e.g., teacher retention, planning time, transparency for families).
(b) Demonstrate, in the narrative portion of the application under “Significance” how the proposed project will—
(1) Develop a plan to reduce administrative burdens and produce meaningful and sustained change at the State or local level; and
(2) Develop specific proposals for changes to, or waivers of, requirements, policies, procedures, or practices that will reduce administrative burdens for State or local staff in order to increase the time and resources available for instruction and other activities aimed at improving educational and functional results for children with disabilities.
(c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the project design,” how the proposed project will—
(1) Meet the consultation requirements in paragraph (a) under the programmatic requirements specified in the priority. Applicants must include a proposed timeline for the consultation process, including a description of the methods of consultation (e.g., in-person meetings, conference calls, emails);
(2) Identify local, State, or Federal IDEA Part B requirements, policies, procedures, or practices that may generate administrative burdens for State and local staff and may be reviewed by the project, including any proposed criteria for that review (e.g., frequency, complexity, number of staff affected, number of families affected);
(3) Assess the extent to which specific sources of administrative burdens may affect educational and functional results for children with disabilities; and
(4) Produce and make publicly available a plan that meets the requirements in paragraph (b) under the programmatic requirements specified in the priority.
(d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the management plan,” how—
(1) The proposed management plan will ensure that the project's intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe—
(i) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable; and
(ii) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks, including the publication of the final plan on the State's website within three months of the close of the project period;
(2) Key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors will be allocated and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the project's intended outcomes; and
(3) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, including those of families, educators, TA providers, researchers, and policymakers, among others, in its development and operation.
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. Section 681(d) of IDEA, however, makes the public comment requirements of the APA inapplicable to the priority in this notice.
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1463 and 1481.
Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Cooperative agreement.
Estimated Available Funds: $1,500,000.
Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2020 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.
Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $150,000 for a single budget period of 12 months.
Estimated Number of Awards: 10.
Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.
Project Period: Up to 12 months.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: SEAs in any State, which is defined, consistent with section 602(31) of IDEA, as each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each of the outlying areas.Start Printed Page 33765
2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.
3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application. Under 34 CFR 75.708(e), a grantee may contract for supplies, equipment, and other services in accordance with 2 CFR part 200.
4. Other General Requirements: (a) Recipients of funding under this competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).
(b) Applicants for, and recipients of, funding must, with respect to the aspects of their proposed project relating to the absolute priority, 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. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768), and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf, which contain requirements and information on how to submit an application.
2. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive intergovernmental review in order to make an award by the end of FY 2019.
3. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
4. Recommended 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. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 70 pages and (2) use 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, reference citations, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
- Use a font that is 12 point or larger.
- Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.
The recommended 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 abstract (follow the guidance provided in the application package for completing the abstract), the table of contents, the list of priority requirements, the resumes, the reference list, the letters of support, or the appendices. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
V. Application Review Information
1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows:
(a) Need for the project (10 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project.
(2) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The magnitude or severity of the problem to be addressed by the proposed project; and
(ii) The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude of those gaps or weaknesses.
(b) Significance (25 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project.
(2) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The likelihood that the proposed project will result in system change or improvement;
(ii) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to yield findings that may be utilized by other appropriate agencies and organizations; and
(iii) The importance or magnitude of the results or outcomes likely to be attained by the proposed project, especially improvements in teaching and student achievement.
(c) Quality of the project design (30 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.
(2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable;
(ii) The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs;
(iii) The extent to which the proposed project is designed to build capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of Federal financial assistance;
(iv) The extent to which the proposed project encourages parental involvement; and
(v) The extent to which the proposed project will increase efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources in order to improve results and increase productivity.
(d) Adequacy of resources (15 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project.
(2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the budget is adequate to support the proposed project; and
(ii) The potential for the incorporation of project purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing program of the agency or organization at the end of Federal funding.
(e) Quality of the management plan (20 points).
(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project.
(2) In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project;
(ii) How the applicant will ensure that a diversity of perspectives is brought to bear in the operation of the proposed project, including those of parents, teachers, the business community, a variety of disciplinary and professional fields, recipients or beneficiaries of services, or others, as appropriate; and
(iii) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks.Start Printed Page 33766
2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The standing panel requirements under section 682(b) of IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications.
4. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.
5. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $250,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.
Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.
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); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your 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. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20.
4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
5. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the Department has established a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and quality of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program. These measures are:
- Program Performance Measure #1: The number of administrative burdens identified for reduction.
- Program Performance Measure #2: The number of special education teachers, related service providers, and administrators impacted by the proposed burden reduction.
- Program Performance Measure #3: The estimated change in hours spent by teachers, related service providers and administrators on compliance with administrative burdens as a result of the proposed burden reduction.
The measures apply to projects funded under this competition, and grantees are required to submit data on these measures as directed by OSEP.
Grantees will be required to report information on their project's performance in a report to the Start Printed Page 33767Department at the end of the one-year project period (34 CFR 75.590).
VII. 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 compact disc) by contacting the Management Support Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5081A, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-5076. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.
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Johnny W. Collett,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2019-14890 Filed 7-12-19; 8:45 am]
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