[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 103 (Tuesday, May 29, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31592-31600]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12835]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; State-Tribal Education Partnership 
(STEP) Pilot Grant Competition

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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Overview Information

    State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) Pilot Notice inviting 
applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2012.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.415A.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: May 29, 2012.
    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 12, 2012.
    Dates of Pre-Application Meetings: June 1, 2012, and June 5, 2012.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 13, 2012.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The fiscal year 2012 appropriation for the 
Department of Education includes funding for a pilot program under the 
Indian Education National Activities authority. Under the pilot, the 
Department will award competitive grants to Tribal Education Agencies 
(TEAs) to increase their role in the education of American Indian and 
Alaska Native (AI/AN) students, including education to meet the unique 
educational and cultural needs of AI/AN students and improve their 
academic achievement.

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    Specifically, the purposes of these grants are to (a) promote 
increased collaboration between TEAs and State educational agencies 
(SEAs) in the administration of certain State-administered formula 
grant programs, and (b) build the capacity of TEAs to conduct certain 
State-level administrative functions under those programs for eligible 
schools located on a reservation.
    Requirements and Definitions:
    Background: Under this pilot program, known as the State-Tribal 
Education Partnership (STEP) Pilot, the Department intends to fund the 
implementation of collaborative agreements between Tribal Education 
Agencies (TEAs) (as defined in this notice) and SEAs. Under these 
agreements, SEAs will transfer to TEAs some State-level functions 
related to the administration of certain Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act (ESEA) programs for eligible schools (as defined in this 
notice) located on a reservation (as defined in this notice), with the 
goal of improving educational outcomes for AI/AN students.
    The most critical aspect of the STEP Pilot will be the strength of 
the collaborative agreement between the TEA and the SEA. The agreement 
must document the SEA's and the TEA's commitment to the pilot project 
and describe in detail what is to be accomplished during the project 
period (as defined in this notice). However, the Department recognizes 
that, given the complexities involved in developing such an agreement, 
the application period for the STEP Pilot grant program likely will not 
be long enough for TEAs and SEAs to complete a detailed collaborative 
agreement that adequately addresses each of the issues that need to be 
considered. Therefore, we are requiring an application for a STEP Pilot 
grant to include a written preliminary agreement between the 
participating SEA and the TEA under which the SEA and TEA agree to (a) 
work together toward the transfer of agreed-upon State-level ESEA 
formula grant administrative functions to the TEA over the course of 
the project, and (b) collaborate on activities that will enable the TEA 
to begin to carry out those functions by July 2, 2013. Within nine 
months from the start of the grant period, the TEA and SEA must enter 
into a final collaborative agreement that builds on the preliminary 
agreement and details the activities that the two agencies will carry 
out under the grant to enable the TEA to perform the agreed-upon State-
level administrative functions by the end of the project period and 
beyond. Each TEA grantee must submit the final agreement to the 
Department by June 29, 2013. The Department's review of the final 
agreement will serve as one basis for continued funding in grant years 
two and three.
    The Department expects that, during the first year of the STEP 
Pilot, the SEA will work with the TEA to prepare the TEA to perform the 
State-level administrative functions detailed in the preliminary 
agreement, so that by July 2, 2013, the TEA will begin to perform those 
functions. By the end of the project, the Department expects that each 
TEA grantee will be able to carry out selected State-level 
administrative functions under ESEA State-administered formula grant 
programs and that the TEA will have strengthened its relationship with 
the SEA, local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools on a 
reservation in a manner that is sustainable and supports the TEA's 
efforts to improve educational services and outcomes for AI/AN 
students.

    Note:  The Department will not grant formula funds to TEAs as a 
part of this pilot program. We cannot change the designated grantee, 
under an ESEA program, from an SEA to a different entity without a 
statutory change to the ESEA, and the FY 2012 Appropriations Act 
does not provide that authority. Grant funds awarded to successful 
applicants (as defined in this notice) will consist only of 
discretionary funds appropriated for this competition. SEAs that 
participate in a project under the pilot will continue to subgrant 
ESEA State-administered formula funds to LEAs that are eligible to 
receive them, including LEAs with schools participating in that 
project. SEAs will continue to have the responsibility to ensure 
subrecipient compliance with the applicable laws and regulations 
governing all ESEA State-administered formula grant programs. 
However, an SEA could, as part of its agreement with a TEA, provide 
a portion of the SEA's administrative set-aside funds under ESEA 
programs to a TEA in accordance with applicable State procurement 
law. The Department will continue to monitor the performance of the 
SEA as the agent required to comply with Federal law.

    Preliminary Agreement Requirements:
    An applicant must submit a preliminary agreement between the TEA 
and the SEA with its application for funding. Letters of support from 
an SEA will not meet this requirement.
    The preliminary agreement must include--
    (a) A clear vision for how the SEA and TEA will work 
collaboratively to administer selected ESEA State-administered formula 
grant programs in eligible schools;
    (b) A list of the ESEA State-administered formula programs for 
which the TEA will assume State-level administrative functions;
    (c) A description of the State-level administrative functions the 
TEA will assume by July 2, 2013, and by the end of the project period;
    (d) The capacity-building activities that both the TEA and the SEA 
will carry out before July 2, 2013, in order for the TEA to be ready to 
assume those functions;
    (e) A description of the capacity-building (as defined in this 
notice) activities that the SEA will undertake to prepare the TEA to 
assume those functions, and of any assistance that the TEA will provide 
to the SEA to facilitate the project. This assistance may include, 
among other things, (1) Increasing the SEA's knowledge about the unique 
cultural and academic needs of AI/AN students enrolled in schools that 
will participate in the project, (2) addressing those needs more 
effectively, and (3) increasing the SEA's ability to work effectively 
with TEAs in a culturally competent manner (as defined in this notice);
    (f) A list of the LEAs and eligible schools expected to participate 
in the project;
    (g) The collaborative activities the SEA and TEA will undertake to 
produce a final agreement; and
    (h) The activities the SEA and the TEA will undertake to engage 
LEAs' participation in the grant project.
    Final Agreement Requirements:
    By June 29, 2013, nine months after the start of the first grant 
period, each TEA grantee must submit to the Department a final 
agreement that builds on the preliminary agreement and details a 
feasible, sustainable plan for how the TEA and SEA will work together 
and in collaboration with affected LEAs to administer selected ESEA 
State-administered formula grant programs to children in public schools 
on reservations. The final agreement must--
    (a) Expand and refine, as appropriate, the vision presented in the 
preliminary agreement for how the TEA and SEA will work together and in 
collaboration with the selected LEAs to administer ESEA formula grant 
programs in ways that (1) acknowledge and support the role of the tribe 
in educating its students, and (2) account for the responsibility of 
the SEA to ensure that LEAs are in compliance with the laws and 
regulations that govern the relevant formula grant programs.
    (b) Make explicit what will be accomplished during the remainder of 
the project period in order to fully realize that vision, including by 
providing detailed descriptions of (1)

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The specific functions that the TEA will assume for one or more ESEA 
State-administered programs, (2) the timetable for the TEA assuming 
those functions, (3) the knowledge and competencies the TEA will need 
to acquire over the remainder of the project period in order to perform 
those functions successfully, (4) the functions or aspects of functions 
that the SEA will retain for the programs and schools covered by the 
agreement, (5) the activities that the SEA (directly or through 
contracted entities) will conduct to ensure that the TEA is able to 
perform its new functions successfully, (6) the activities, if 
appropriate, that the TEA and SEA will carry out in order to increase 
the SEA's knowledge about the unique cultural and academic needs of AI/
AN students enrolled in participating schools and about how to address 
those needs more effectively, and (7) the activities, if appropriate, 
that the SEA and TEA will undertake to further their ability to work 
together effectively in a culturally competent manner.
    (c) Discuss the actions that the TEA and SEA will take to sustain 
the TEA's assumption of State-level responsibilities for the ESEA 
programs for the participating schools after the project ends.
    (d) Include a list of the eligible schools that will participate in 
the second and third grant periods. The list may differ from the list 
of schools included in the preliminary agreement.
    (e) Make explicit how the specific functions that the TEA will 
assume during the course of the grant will (1) align with and support 
Federal and State education priorities and initiatives to improve the 
education outcomes for all students and ensure that all students 
graduate high school college- and career-ready; and (2) address the 
unique educational and cultural needs of the students.
    (f) Identify challenges (e.g., legislative constraints, State 
policy constraints, local school board rules, collective bargaining 
agreements) that may pose a risk to the implementation of the project 
and the strategies that the TEA and SEA will pursue in order to 
overcome those challenges.
    (g) Assure that the TEA and SEA understand the continued 
responsibility of the SEA to ensure that affected LEAs are in 
compliance with the relevant ESEA formula grant laws and regulations.
    (h) Describe how the TEA and SEA will work together to support the 
SEA's continued oversight responsibilities.
    (i) Describe the relationships to be built among the TEA, the SEA, 
and the affected LEAs, including lines of authority, responsibility, 
and methods of communication.
    (j) Include a letter of support from the superintendent of each LEA 
that will participate in the project indicating that the superintendent 
understands and supports the purposes, activities, and outcomes of the 
project as proposed in the application and defined in the final 
agreement.
    Application Requirements:
    To be considered for an award under this competition, each 
applicant must complete an application for funding. Detailed 
application instructions can be found in the application package. The 
application package will be available online at www.grants.gov on May 
29, 2012.
    As a part of the application for the STEP Pilot, each applicant 
must provide a detailed project narrative and a budget narrative.
    Project Narrative. The project narrative must explain how the terms 
of the agreement between the TEA and SEA, as outlined in the 
preliminary agreement, will be met. At minimum, the project narrative 
must--
    (a) Describe the proposed STEP Pilot project goals and objectives 
pursuant to the vision and terms of agreement outlined in the 
preliminary agreement and the timeline for accomplishing the goals and 
objectives over the project period;
    (b) Describe the demographics of the LEA (or LEAs) and eligible 
schools for which the TEA will perform ESEA State-level administrative 
functions and explain the rationale for selecting those LEAs and 
schools;
    (c) Explain the rationale for selecting the ESEA State-administered 
formula grant program(s) for which the TEA will perform State-level 
administrative functions;
    (d) Explain the rationale for selecting the State-level functions 
the TEA will perform during the project period and the timeline for the 
TEA assuming those functions;
    (e) Explain how the TEA's performance of those functions will 
support the implementation of State and local efforts to improve 
services to and the educational outcomes for AI/AN children;
    (f) Describe the functions the TEA will be able to perform during 
each year of the grant;
    (g) Describe how the STEP Pilot grant funds will enable the TEA 
capacity to carry out the agreed upon State-level functions;
    (h) Discuss the actions that the TEA and SEA will take during the 
first nine months of the grant toward developing a final agreement;
    (i) Identify the members of the applicant's project team and each 
member's role and responsibility;
    (j) Describe the qualifications of key personnel on the project 
team and the time each will allocate to the project;
    (k) Identify the key SEA contacts and the role each will have in 
carrying out the activities of the project;
    (l) If the application is submitted by a consortium, describe each 
consortium member's role, activities, and time allocated to the 
project;
    (m) If applicable, identify consultants to the project, their role, 
and their qualifications;
    (n) Describe the organizational structure for managing project 
activities and resources, including lines of authority and procedures 
for decision-making;
    (o) Include a schedule of tasks and timelines for carrying out the 
activities of the grant that assign responsibility for each task, 
including milestones and deliverables;
    (p) Describe the procedures and measures that the applicant will 
use to document project activities, monitor progress in implementing 
those activities, and assess how effectively project activities meet 
the goals and objectives of the grant; and
    (q) To the extent the TEA's performance under this agreement 
requires the use of information from student education records covered 
by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or other 
privacy statutes, explain how compliance with FERPA and other privacy 
statutes will be achieved (e.g. under FERPA, the participating LEA(s) 
may designate the TEA as a school official for certain functions; or 
the SEA may designate the TEA as an authorized representative under the 
audit and evaluation exception).

    Note:  In drafting the project narrative, applicants should keep 
in mind that peer reviewers must consider only the information 
provided in the written project narrative when scoring and 
commenting on the application. Therefore, applicants should draft 
their project narratives with the goal of helping peer reviewers 
understand how the narrative content aligns with the selection 
criteria described in section V of this notice.

    Budget Narrative. Specific requirements for the budget narrative 
are in the application package. In general, the budget narrative must, 
for each year of funding--
    (a) Detail the amount of grant funds that will be allocated to each 
budget category;
    (b) Explain how grant funds allocated to each category will be used 
(e.g., by the TEA to hire and train personnel, to

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acquire data systems, to purchase supplies and equipment, or for 
travel; by the SEA for training of TEA personnel or for travel).
    In addition, the budget narrative must identify any procurements 
that will be required, the purpose for the procurements, and the 
procurement process that will be used.
    Eligibility Requirements:
    To be eligible for an award, an applicant must include, as a part 
of its application, evidence that documents the applicant's 
eligibility, including:
    (a) Certification by the eligible Indian tribe, as defined in this 
notice, that the applicant is the agency, department, or 
instrumentality of the Indian tribe that is primarily responsible for 
supporting the elementary and secondary education of the tribe's 
students.
    (b) Certification by the eligible Indian tribe that it has a 
reservation; the certification must specify the census designation 
under which the reservation qualifies.
    (c) Confirmation by the SEA that the schools that will participate 
in the project are eligible schools.

Grant Award Limitations

    No applicant may receive more than one grant award under this 
competition.
    Definitions:
    The following definitions apply to this program:
    Applicant means the single entity that applies for a grant under 
this program. The applicant may be a single TEA in partnership with an 
SEA, or a single TEA applying on behalf of a consortium of eligible 
TEAs in partnership with an SEA.
    Capacity refers to the level of knowledge, skills, and ability of 
individuals or groups to perform specific activities or functions.
    Capacity-building refers to activities to strengthen the knowledge, 
skills, and abilities of individuals or groups to perform specific 
activities or functions.
    Consortium of TEAs means two or more Tribal Education Agencies 
acting collaboratively for the purpose of applying for and implementing 
a joint project as part of the STEP Pilot program.
    Culturally competent manner means an ability to understand, 
communicate with, and interact effectively with people of different 
cultures. Cultural competence involves (a) awareness of one's own 
cultural worldview and (b) knowledge of and the capacity to value 
different cultural practices and worldviews.
    Eligible Indian tribe means a federally recognized or State-
recognized tribe that has an Indian reservation on which one or more 
eligible schools are operating.
    Eligible school means a public school operating on an eligible 
Indian tribe's reservation. Eligible schools do not include schools 
that are funded primarily by the Department of Interior's Bureau of 
Indian Education.
    Project period for this pilot consists of three grant periods, each 
of 12 months duration, for a total of 36 months.
    Reservation means an ``American Indian Reservation or Off-
Reservation Trust Land (Federal),'' ``Oklahoma Tribal Statistical 
Area,'' ``American Indian Reservation (State),'' or ``Alaska Native 
Village Statistical Areas,'' as those terms are used by the U.S. Census 
Bureau (see definitions at www.census.gov/geo/www/2010census/gtc/gtc_aiannha.html).

    Note:  If you are unsure of a reservation's status, contact the 
person listed as the Agency Contact in section VII of this notice.

    State-administered formula grant program means a program authorized 
under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended 
(ESEA), for which States receive formula funding, sub-grant 
(distribute) funds to LEAs or other entities in accordance with a 
statutory allocation formula and other criteria established in the 
statute, and oversee the use of those funds by sub-recipients. As such, 
State-administered ESEA formula grant programs do not include programs 
for which formula funds are not granted directly to the State.
    Programs that could be included in a STEP Pilot project are: Title 
I, Part A; School Improvement Grants (ESEA Sec.  1003(g)); Migrant 
Education (Title I, Part C); Neglected and Delinquent State Grants 
(Title I, Part D); Improving Teacher Quality State Grants (Title II, 
Part A); English Learner Education State Grants (Title III, Part A); 
21st Century Community Learning Centers (Title IV, Part B), and Rural 
and Low-Income School Program (Title VI, Part B).

    Note:  Impact Aid (Title VIII) and the Indian Education Formula 
Grants program (Title VII, Part A) are not included in this 
definition as funds for those programs are granted by the Department 
directly to LEAs, not SEAs.

    Tribal Education Agency (TEA) means the agency, department, or 
instrumentality of an eligible Indian tribe that is primarily 
responsible for supporting the elementary and secondary education of 
tribal students.
    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties 
the opportunity to comment on proposed requirements, definitions, and 
selection criteria. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, however, allows the 
Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements, regulations governing 
the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised 
program authority. This is the first grant competition for the STEP 
program under section 7131(a)(4) of the ESEA, 20 U.S.C. 7451(a)(4), and 
therefore qualifies for this exemption. The Secretary has decided to 
forgo public comment under the waiver authority in section 437(d)(1) of 
GEPA in order to ensure timely grant awards. However, we have solicited 
public participation in two important ways as we developed an approach 
to conducting and implementing this competition. First, we invited the 
public to provide input on the program from February 23, 2012 through 
March 9, 2012, on the ED.gov blog. In response to this invitation, we 
received many comments on the questions that we posted on the blog, and 
we considered those comments in our development of this notice. Second, 
to gain further input we conducted telephone conferences with various 
stakeholder groups to obtain additional responses to the questions we 
posed on the blog, and we considered those comments as well. Several 
commenters requested that the Department distribute ESEA formula grant 
funds directly to TEAs under this pilot. As explained in the note in 
section I, the Department does not have statutory authority to do so.
    The definitions, requirements, and selection criteria in this 
notice will apply to the FY 2012 grant competition and any subsequent 
year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from 
this competition.
    Program Authority: Section 7131(a)(4) of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 7451(a)(4).
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Education Department suspension 
and debarment regulations in 2 CFR part 3485.

    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: $1,977,000.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $400,000-$500,000 for a single TEA in 
partnership with a single SEA. $500,000-$750,000 for a consortium of 
TEAs in partnership with a single SEA.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2013 from the list of 
unfunded applicants from this competition.

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    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $450,000 for a single TEA in 
partnership with a single SEA; $600,000 for a consortium of TEAs in 
partnership with a single SEA.
    Maximum Award: We will reject any application from a single TEA 
that proposes a budget exceeding $500,000 for a single budget period of 
12 months. In addition, we will reject any application from a 
consortium of TEAs that proposes a budget exceeding $750,000 for a 
single budget period of 12 months.
    The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education may 
change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal 
Register.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 3 to 5.

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

    Project Period: Up to 36 months.

    Note: Continuation of each successive grant period is subject to 
satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

    Grant Award Limitations: No applicant may receive more than one 
grant award.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: A TEA in partnership with an SEA, or a 
consortium of TEAs in partnership with an SEA. In all cases a single 
TEA will serve as the applicant. A TEA consortium application must 
comply with the Department's regulations governing group applications 
in 34 CFR 75.127 through 75.129 and must include a signed consortium 
agreement that identifies each member of the consortium, binds each 
member of the group to every statement and assurance made by the 
applicant in the application, and details the activities that each 
member of the group would perform under the grant. Letters of support 
from proposed consortium members do not meet the requirement for a 
consortium agreement.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost 
sharing or matching.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an 
application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications 
Center (ED Pubs).
    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: 
www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html. To obtain a copy from 
ED Pubs, write, fax, or call the following: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of 
Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 
1-877-433-7827. Fax: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 
1-877-576-7734.
    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at 
its email address: edpubs@inet.ed.gov.
    If you request an application from ED Pubs, be sure to identify 
this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.415.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application 
package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, 
or compact disc) by contacting the person listed under Accessible 
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.
    Notice of Intent to Apply: The Department will be able to review 
grant applications more efficiently if we know the approximate number 
of applicants that intend to apply. Therefore, the Secretary strongly 
encourages each potential applicant to notify us of the applicant's 
intent to submit an application for funding by sending the following 
information via email to STEP@ed.gov no later than June 12, 2012:
    1. Applicant name, mailing address and phone number.
    2. Contact person's name and email address.
    3. Name of State Education Agency.
    4. Whether the applicant intends to apply as a single TEA or a 
consortium of TEAs.
    Applicants that do not complete this form may still apply for 
funding.
    Pre-Application: The Department intends to hold pre-application 
Webinars designed to provide technical assistance to interested 
applicants. The first Webinar will be held on June 1, 2012, and 
repeated on June 5, 2012. Information about Webinar times and 
instructions for registering are on the Department Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/STEP/index.html. In addition, as a supplement to 
this notice, the Department has developed a document called ``State-
Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) Pilot: Responses to Frequently 
Asked Questions.'' This supplemental document is available at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/STEP/index.html.
    Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, 
provide the project narrative and management plan to address the 
selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. The 
required budget and budget narrative will be provided in a separate 
section. You must limit the application narrative to the equivalent of 
no more than 50 pages, 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.
    The page limit does not apply to the cover sheet; the budget 
section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances 
and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the 
bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the page limit does 
apply to all of the application narrative section.
    Our reviewers will not read any pages of your application that 
exceed the page limit.
    3. Submission Dates and Times:
    Applications Available: May 29, 2012.
    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 12, 2012.
    Date of Pre-Application Meeting: June 1, 2012, and June 5, 2012.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 13, 2012.
    Applications for grants under this competition 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, please refer to section IV. 7. 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

[[Page 31597]]

remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this 
notice.
    4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification 
Number, and Central Contractor Registry: To do business with the 
Department of Education, you must--
    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a 
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the Central 
Contractor Registry (CCR)--and, after July 2012, with the System for 
Award Management (SAM), the Government's primary registrant database;
    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and
    d. Maintain an active CCR or SAM registration with current 
information while your application is under review by the Department 
and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.
    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number 
can be created within one business day.
    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or 
organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. 
If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal 
Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a 
new TIN, please allow 2-5 weeks for your TIN to become active.
    The CCR or SAM registration process may take five or more business 
days to complete. If you are currently registered with the CCR, you may 
not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN 
associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will 
need to update your CCR registration on an annual basis. This may take 
three or more business days to complete. Information on SAM is 
available at SAM.gov.
    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, 
you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized 
Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with 
Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the 
following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under 
this competition 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-Tribal Education 
Partnership (STEP) Pilot, CFDA number 84.415, 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 email 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-Tribal Education 
Partnership (STEP) Pilot at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the 
downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA 
number.
    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 dated 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 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 under News and Events on the Department's G5 
system home page at http://www.G5.gov.
     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: The 
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 upload any narrative sections and all other 
attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) 
read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or 
fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, 
non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not 
review that material. (Additional, detailed information on how to 
attach files is in the application instructions.)
     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 email. 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).

[[Page 31598]]

     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 no 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: Joyce Silverthorne, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E201, 
Washington, DC 20202
    Fax: (202) 401-0606.
    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 84.415, 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 84.415, 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: We will use the following selection criteria 
to evaluate applications submitted under this competition.
    The maximum score for all the selection criteria is 100 points. The 
maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.
    Significance (20 points). In determining the significance of the 
project the Secretary considers:
    (1) The significance of the problem or issue to be addressed by the 
proposed project.
    (2) The potential replicability of the proposed project or 
strategies, including, as appropriate, the potential for implementation 
in a variety of settings.
    (3) The likelihood that the proposed project will result in system 
change or improvement.
    Quality of the Project Design and Services (30 points). The 
Secretary considers the quality of the design and services of the 
proposed project. In determining the quality of the design and services 
of the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

[[Page 31599]]

    (1) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable.
    (2) 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.
    (3) 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.
    (4) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed 
project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for 
maximizing the effectiveness of project services.
    Quality of the Management Plan and Personnel (20 points). The 
Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed 
project and of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. 
In determining the quality of the management plan and the project 
personnel, the Secretary considers:
    (1) 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.
    (2) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of key project personnel.
    (3) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of project consultants or subcontractors.
    Adequacy of Resources (30 points). The Secretary considers the 
adequacy of resources for the proposed project. In determining the 
adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary 
considers:
    (1) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization.
    (2) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the 
objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project.
    (3) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project.
    (4) The potential for continued support of the project after 
Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated 
commitment of appropriate entities to such support.
    (5) 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.
    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 
also 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 
of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    3. Special Conditions: Under 34 CFR 74.14 and 80.12, the Secretary 
may impose special 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 34 CFR parts 74 or 80, as applicable; has not fulfilled 
the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

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.
    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: (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) In addition, within nine months from the start of the grant (by 
June 29, 2013), you must submit to the Department a final agreement 
described in section I of this notice.
    (c) 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). For specific requirements on reporting, please 
go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    4. Performance Measures: The Department has established the 
following performance measures for the Pilot:
    (1) The number of funded projects for which the TEA assumes State-
level functions by the beginning of the second grant period.
    (2) The number of funded projects that, at the end of the project 
period, report that the project has resulted in creation of an 
arrangement under which the TEA will continue to be responsible for the 
State-level functions delineated in its TEA-SEA agreement after Federal 
funding ends.
    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award, the 
Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.253, the extent to which a 
grantee has made ``substantial progress toward meeting the objectives 
in its approved application.'' This consideration includes the review 
of a grantee's progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes 
in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds 
in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and 
budget. In addition, a major factor the Secretary will consider will be 
the quality and completeness of the final agreement between the TEA and 
SEA.
    In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, 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).

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joyce Silverthorne U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW.,

[[Page 31600]]

3E201 Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 401-0767 or by email: 
joyce.silverthorne@ed.gov.
    If you use a TDD or a TTY, 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 compact disc) [on request to 
the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
in section VII of this notice.
    Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. 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 Adobe 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.

Michael Yudin,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives, 
Delegated Authority To Perform the Functions and Duties of the 
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2012-12835 Filed 5-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P