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SIG Waiver Notice December 31, 2010 Attachment 1

California Department of Education (CDE) Seal
California State Board of Education (SBE) Seal
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
JACK O'CONNELL,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
916-319-0800
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
THEODORE R. MITCHELL,
President
916-319-0827
1430 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

DRAFT December 29, 2010

Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Assistant Secretary
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 3W230
Washington, DC 20202-6100

Dear Assistant Secretary Meléndez de Santa Ana:

The State of California hereby submits for your consideration a consolidated request for the waiver of six provisions of federal law and regulations related to the implementation of School Improvement Grants (SIG): American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 as amended. This request would allow any local educational agency (LEA) in California that receives a SIG to use those funds in accordance with the final requirements for SIG and the LEA request for application of the grant.

California requests waivers of the State-level requirement it has indicated below. The State believes that the requested waiver will increase its ability to implement the SIG program effectively in eligible schools in the State in order to improve the quality of instruction and raise the academic achievement of students in Tier I and Tier II schools.

  1. Because the State neither must nor elects to generate new lists of Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, waive Sections I.A.1 and II.B.10 of the SIG final requirements to permit the State to use the same Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III lists it used for its FY 2009 competition.

    The State assures that it has five or more unserved Tier I schools on its fiscal year (FY) 2009 list.
     
  2. Waive the requirement identified in the FY 2010 SIG Guidance published on November 1, 2010, to use FY 2010 to make first-year only awards to LEAs and instead provide three year awards to the State’s approved SIG LEAs.

    The State is seeking this waiver in an effort to guarantee funding to LEAs for the full three years of their SIG sub-grant. The state only has approximately $3 million left in FY 2009 carryover funds and would not be able to extend a 3-year award to any LEA due to lack of sufficient remaining FY 2009 funds.

    As was required last year, before submitting its application for SIG to the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the state educational agency (SEA) must consult with its Committee of Practitioners (COP). California’s COP met on November 22, 2010, to discuss the FY 2010 SIG application and provide input to the CDE. The COP expressed its preference of providing a full three years of funding with the 2010 funds to support the implementation of school intervention models, rather than annual funding using subsequent year allocations to fund the subsequent two years of the grant period. The State’s COP is made up of a variety of representatives from LEAs that are currently implementing their SIG sub-grant. One of the concerns expressed was that first-year only awards would discourage LEAs from applying because their capacity to implement the reforms fully and effectively may be compromised given the fiscal uncertainty of California’s economic climate. These representatives articulated their concern over the current uncertain political and fiscal climate and the effect it may have on ED's ability to provide funding for years 2 and 3 of SIG implementation.

California also requests a waiver of the requirements it has indicated below. These waivers would allow any LEA in the State that receives a SIG to use those funds in accordance with the final requirements for SIGs and the LEA’s application for a grant.

The State believes that the requested waiver(s) will increase the quality of instruction for students and improve the academic achievement of students in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools by enabling an LEA to use more effectively the school improvement funds to implement one of the four school intervention models in its Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III schools. The four school intervention models are specifically designed to raise substantially the achievement of students in the State’s Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools.

  1. Waiver section 1116(b)(12) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to allow their Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Title I participating schools that will fully implement a turnaround or restart model beginning in the 2011–12 school year to “start over” in the school improvement timeline.

    The State assures that it will permit an LEA to implement this waiver only if the LEA receives a SIG and requests the waiver in its application as part of a plan to implement the turnaround or restart model beginning in 2011–12 in a school that the SEA has approved it to serve. As such, the LEA may only implement the waiver in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, as applicable, included in its application.

    The State assures that, if it is granted this waiver, it will submit to the ED a report that sets forth the name and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) District Identification Number for each LEA implementing a waiver.
     
  2. Waive the 40 percent poverty eligibility threshold in section 1114(a)(1) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to implement a schoolwide program in a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III Title I participating school that does not meet the poverty threshold and is fully implementing one of the four school intervention models.

    The State assures that it will permit an LEA to implement this waiver only if the LEA receives a SIG and requests to implement the waiver in its application. As such, the LEA may only implement the waiver in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, as applicable, included in its application.

    The State assures that, if it is granted this waiver, it will submit to the ED a report that sets forth the name and NCES District Identification Number for each LEA implementing a waiver.

California requests a waiver of the requirement indicated below. The State believes that the requested waiver will increase its ability to implement the SIG program effectively in eligible schools in the State in order to improve the quality of instruction and improve the academic achievement of students in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools.

  1. Waiver Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 United States Code [20 U.S.C.] § 1225[b]) to extend the period of availability of FY 2009 carryover school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2014.

    The State assures that, prior to submitting its SIG application, the State provided all LEAs in the State that are eligible to receive a SIG with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment on its waiver request(s) and has attached a copy of that notice as well as copies of any comments it received from LEAs. The State also assures that it provided notice and information regarding the above waiver request(s) to the public in the manner in which the State customarily provides such notice and information to the public (e.g., by publishing a notice in the newspaper; by posting information on its Web site) and has attached a copy of, or link to, that notice.
     
  2. Waiver Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225[b]) to extend the period of availability of FY 2010 carryover school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2014.

    As noted in waiver request number two above, the State is seeking this waiver in an effort to guarantee funding to LEAs for the full three years of their SIG sub-grant. The state only has approximately $3 million left in FY 2009 carryover funds and would not be able to extend a 3-year award to any LEA due to lack of sufficient remaining FY 2009 funds.

    The State assures that, prior to submitting its SIG application, the State provided all LEAs in the State that are eligible to receive a SIG with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment on its waiver request(s) and has attached a copy of that notice as well as copies of any comments it received from LEAs. The State also assures that it provided notice and information regarding the above waiver request(s) to the public in the manner in which the State customarily provides such notice and information to the public (e.g., by publishing a notice in the newspaper; by posting information on its Web site) and has attached a copy of, or link to, that notice.

The Notice of Public Comment for this waiver request is located on the Public Notices Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/pn/].

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Deborah V.H. Sigman, Deputy Superintendent, Curriculum, Learning, and Accountability Branch, by phone at 916-319-0812 or by e-mail at dsigman@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

JACK O'CONNELL
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education

 

THEODORE R. MITCHELL
President
California State Board of Education

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