MSDE Announcement: Public Notice and Comment: Tydings Amendment Waiver for Federal FY 2015 and Federal FY 2016 School Improvement Grant Funds (SIG) Title I 1003(g)
For Immediate Release
Baltimore, MD (May 6, 2016)
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is providing public notice to solicit comments from local education agencies and the public regarding specific waiver requests for School Improvement Grants authorized by section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Comments received will be forwarded to the United States Department of Education (USED). MSDE will accept comments from May 6, 2016 through May 20, 2016 via electronic submission or U. S. mail. The State believes that by requesting specific waiver(s), local education agencies (LEAs) that receive a School Improvement Grant will have increased flexibility to improve the quality of instruction for students and the academic achievement of students in schools identified under the final requirements of Section 1003(g).
Purpose of the Program
School Improvement Grants (SIG), authorized under section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by No Child Left Behind (Title I or ESEA), are grants to State educational agencies (SEAs). SEAs use this grant to make competitive sub-grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources in order to raise substantially the achievement of students in their lowest-performing schools. USED published final requirements for the SIG program in the Federal Register on October 28, 2010 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-10-28/pdf/2010-27313.pdf). In 2015, the Department revised the final requirements to implement language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, and the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, that allows LEAs to implement additional interventions, provides flexibility for rural LEAs, and extends the grant period from three to five years. The revisions to the requirements also reflect lessons learned from four years of SIG implementation. Finally, since the final requirements for the SIG program were published in 2010, 44 SEAs received approval to implement ESEA flexibility, pursuant to which they no longer identify Title I schools for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. To reflect this change, the revised requirements make an LEA with priority schools, which are generally a State’s lowest-achieving Title I schools, and focus schools, which are generally the schools within a State with the largest achievement gaps, eligible to receive SIG funds. The SIG final requirements, published on February 9, 2015, are available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/02/09/2015-02570/final-requirements-school-improvement-grants-title-i-of-the-elementary-and-secondary-education-act.
Availability of Funds
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, provided approximately $506 million for School Improvement Grants in fiscal year (FY) 2015 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 provided approximately $450 million in FY 2016.
State and LEA Allocations
Each State (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), the Bureau of Indian Education, and the outlying areas is eligible to apply to receive a SIG grant. The Department will allocate FY 2015 and FY 2016 SIG funds in proportion to the funds received in FY 2015 and FY 2016 by the States, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the outlying areas under Parts A, C, and D of Title I of the ESEA. An SEA must allocate at least 95 percent of its SIG funds directly to LEAs in accordance with the final requirements. The SEA may retain an amount not to exceed five percent of its allocation for State administration, evaluation, and technical assistance.
Through its application for funding to the United States Department of Education, Maryland will seek the following State-level waivers:
Waiver 1: Period of availability of FY 2015 funds waiver
Note: This waiver only applies to FY 2015 funds for the purpose of making three- to five-year awards to eligible LEAs.
In order to extend the period of availability beyond September 30, 2017, waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2015 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2021.
Waiver 2: Period of availability of FY 2016 funds waiver
Note: This waiver only applies to FY 2016 funds for the purpose of making three- to five-year awards to eligible LEAs.
In order to extend the period of availability beyond September 30, 2018, waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2016 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2021.
Upon approval of Maryland’s application, Maryland will release an application to all eligible LEAs for Title I 1003(g) school improvement funds. The following Local Education Agencies would be eligible for these waivers:
If you have specific comments regarding MSDE’s intent to submit these waiver requests, please send your comments via email to Maria E. Lamb, Director, Program Improvement and Family Support Branch at Maria.Lamb@maryland.gov or in writing to Maria E. Lamb, Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 West Baltimore Street, 4th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595. MSDE will accept comments between May 6, 2016 through close of business on May 20, 2016. Comments received will be forwarded to the United States Department of Education as part of our 1003(g) application. If you have any questions regarding the process, please feel free to contact Ms. Lamb by calling (410)767-0310.Additional information about the Title I School Improvement Grant 1003(g) may be found on the United States Department of Education website at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html. Information can also be obtained from the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-10-28/pdf/2010-27313.pdf