Title I SIA, Part g

Title I 1003(g) Tydings Amendment Request (FY 2009) Waiver - Request for Comments

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is soliciting comments regarding the following U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Title I Section 1003(g) Tydings Amendment waiver request.  We invite public comments both supporting and nonsupporting on the waiver below.

Please use the Title I email link at the bottom of the waiver to email the NJDOE your comment.  All public comments submitted during the comment period will be promptly read, taken into consideration and submitted to the USDE. 

Comment on waiver:  titleone@doe.state.nj.us

LETTER REGARDING TITLE I 1003(g)
TYDINGS AMENDMENT REQUEST (FY 2009) WAIVER
September 27, 2010

Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-6100

Dear Dr. Meléndez de Santa Ana:

I am writing with regard to New Jersey’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 funds under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program under section 1003(g) of  the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Under section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (the “Tydings Amendment”), FY 2008 SIG funds must be obligated by September 30, 2010.  Currently, New Jersey has $3,500,000 in unobligated FY 2008 SIG funds.  This is estimated to be the maximum amount that has not been allocated and some funds may not yet be reimbursed to LEAs to date. Therefore, this amount may be adjusted after the LEAs submit their final expenditure reports. The final reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period which, in New Jersey, is August 31, 2010.  After that point, New Jersey will be able to make a final determination about the exact amount of funds requested in this waiver for use in SIG grants for 2010-2011.

These SIG funds remain unobligated for the 2008-2009 state project period because the NJDOE experienced a considerable delay in determining AYP.  The state proficiency tests for grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 were revamped to add more rigor. Consequently, the assessment results were not available until after the start of the school year.  The NJDOE submitted a request to the USDE to delay the AYP notification via New Jersey’s Accountability Workbook. The USDE approved this late notification. As a result, the NJDOE was delayed in calculating the 1003(g) allocations since the funding must be based on current year data, AYP status and Title I served schools.  In addition, the NJDOE implemented a new system for payment of federal grant funds, moving from a scheduled payment system to a reimbursement only payment system during the 2008-2009 school year.  The combination of these two actions has resulted in the possibility that many LEAs may not be able to request reimbursement for 2008-2009 expenditures within the allotted liquidation period and, as a result, the NJDOE may not be able to reimburse the LEAs for those funds that were to be obligated by September 30, 2010.  New Jersey does not anticipate being able to obligate these funds in a thoughtful manner that will increase the quality of instruction and academic performance for students prior to that deadline.

Therefore, I am requesting, on behalf of New Jersey, a waiver of section 421(b) of GEPA for the unobligated portion of New Jersey’s FY 2008 SIG funds.  Specifically, I am seeking this waiver to extend the period of availability for the FY 2008 SIG funds for an additional 24 monthsuntil September 30, 2012.

New Jersey will combine the remaining FY 2008 SIG funds with its 2010 SIG funds and the FY 2009 SIG funds that it carried over and use the combined funds to make FY 2010 SIG awards consistent with the SIG final requirements.  New Jersey believes that receiving this waiver will enable it to use FY 2008 funds to make SIG awards that will allow its LEAs to support the implementation of required school intervention models in additional Tier I and Tier II schools.  These funds will help increase the quality of instruction and improve the academic achievement of students in these schools by supporting rigorous reforms.  New Jersey will hold each LEA that receives FY 2008 SIG funds accountable in accordance with the annual goals that the LEA includes in its FY 2010 SIG application.

New Jersey assures that it is in the process of providing all LEAs in the state with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment on this request. New Jersey is providing such notice on September 28, 2010 by broadcasting a letter to each chief school administrator and charter school lead person (see copy of notice attached).  To expedite its waiver request, New Jersey will submit copies of any comments it receives from LEAs after the comment period closes on October 11, 2010.  New Jersey has also provided notice and information regarding this waiver request to the public in the manner in which New Jersey customarily provides such notice and information to the public via our Title I Web site http://www.nj.gov/education/title1/program/siapg.shtml

New Jersey further assures that, if it receives the requested waiver, New Jersey will meet the following conditions:

  • New Jersey assures that it will use its unobligated FY 2008 SIG funds in conjunction with its FY 2010 SIG funds [and its FY 2009 carryover SIG funds] to support its FY 2010 SIG competition and will require each LEA that receives those funds to expend them in accordance with the final requirements of the SIG program (74 Fed.  Reg. 65618 (Dec. 10, 2009) and 75 Fed. Reg. 3375 (Jan. 21, 2010)).
  • New Jersey will submit any comments it receives to USDE within 5 days of the closing of the comment period on this waiver.

I understand how critical it is that New Jersey and its local education agencies (LEAs) have sufficient fund accounting procedures to ensure that Federal funds are obligated in a timely manner.  To ensure that New Jerseyobligates future funds in a timely manner, all remaining funds will be included in the following year awards to avoid a need to request a Tydings waiver.

Please feel free to contact Suzanne Ochse, Director of the Office of Student Achievement and Accountability by phone (609) 943-4283 or email (titleone@doe.state.nj.us) if you have any questions regarding this request.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 

Barbara Gantwerk, Assistant Commissioner
Division of Student Services

BG\S:\FORMULA\FY 2008 New Jersey Tydings Waiver final.docx
c:         Acting Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks
            Andrew Smarick
            Willa Spicer
            Dave Corso
            Anne Corwell
            Suzanne Ochse
Comment on waiver:  titleone@doe.state.nj.us