Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance Centers), 15665-15676 [2016-06439]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS very small increments.76 Proposals like IEX’s POP/coil that intentionally delay access to an exchange’s quotation, albeit by a sub-millisecond amount, raise questions about the prior interpretation with respect to the definition of an automated quotation under Regulation NMS. Accordingly, the Commission is proposing and soliciting comment on an updated interpretation from that provided in the Regulation NMS Adopting Release.77 Specifically, the Commission preliminarily believes that, in the current market, delays of less than a millisecond in quotation response times may be at a de minimis level that would not impair a market participant’s ability to access a quote, consistent with the goals of Rule 611 and because such delays are within the geographic and technological latencies experienced by market participants today. For example, IEX’s proposed POP/coil would introduce a 350 microsecond delay for a non-routable IOC order before it could access the IEX matching engine. The additional delay introduced by the coil itself, which is approximately 38 miles long, is effectively equivalent to the communications latency between venues that are 38 miles apart.78 The Commission understands that today the distances between exchange data centers, or between the order entry systems of market participants and exchange data centers, may exceed, sometimes by many multiples, a distance of 38 miles. The Commission does not believe that these naturallyoccurring response time latencies resulting from geography are inconsistent with the purposes of Rule 611.79 At the same time, permitting the 76 See, e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release No. 67639 (August 10, 2012), 77 FR 49034 (August 15, 2012) (SR–NASDAQ–2012–071) (order approving proposed rule change to provide for simultaneous routing). 77 In particular, the POP/coil, because it delays inbound and outbound messages to and from IEX Users, raises a question as to whether IEX will, among other things, ‘‘immediately’’ execute IOC orders under Rule 600(b)(3)(ii), ’’immediately’’ transmit a response to an IOC order sender under Rule 600(b)(3)(iv), and ‘‘immediately’’ display information that updates IEX’s displayed quotation under Rule 600(b)(3)(v). See 17 CFR 242.600(b)(3); see also Regulation NMS Adopting Release, supra note 14, at 37504. 78 See supra note 69 (citing to the Healthy Markets Letter, which observed that the length of IEX’s coiled cable ‘‘is far less than the distance between NY and Chicago, and is remarkably similar to the distance between Carteret and Mahwah (36 miles)’’). See also IEX Second Response at 11 (noting that the distance between Nasdaq’s Carteret facility and NYSE’s Mahwah facility is 42.8 miles). 79 See supra note 69 (citing to commenters who believe that IEX’s POP/coil latency is comparable to or shorter than natural and geographic latencies in today’s market). One market maker and liquidity provider on the IEX ATS notes that it ‘‘engages in VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 quotations of trading centers with very small response time delays, such as those proposed by IEX, to be treated as automated quotations, and thereby benefit from trade-through protection under Rule 611, could encourage innovative ways to address market structure issues. Accordingly, the Commission today is proposing to interpret ‘‘immediate’’ when determining whether a trading center maintains an ‘‘automated quotation’’ for purposes of Rule 611 of Regulation NMS to include response time delays at trading centers that are de minimis, whether intentional or not.80 III. Solicitation of Comment The Commission requests comment all aspects of this proposed interpretation, including: 1. Would delays of less than a millisecond in quotation response times impair a market participant’s ability to access a quote or impair efficient compliance with Rule 611? 2. In the current market, should the Commission interpret ‘‘immediate’’ as including a de minimis delay of less than one millisecond? Should the Commission consider other lengths? If so, what should they be? 3. Should the Commission be concerned about market manipulation? If so, specifically, what should the Commission focus on? 4. Should the Commission consider an alternative interpretation? If so, what should it be? By the Commission. Dated: March 18, 2016. Brent J. Fields, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–06633 Filed 3–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011–01–P precisely the same market making strategies on IEX as [it does] on automated trading systems run by other broker-dealers . . . as well as on registered stock exchanges’’ and that ‘‘IEX’s ‘speed bump’ has had no impact on [its] market making and liquidity provisioning on the platform.’’ Virtu Letter at 1–2. 80 An exchange that proposed to provide any member or user (including the exchange’s inbound or outbound routing functionality, or the exchange’s affiliates) with exclusive privileged faster access to its facilities over any other member or user would raise concerns under the Act, including under Section 6(b)(5) and 6(b)(8) of the Act, and would need to address those concerns in a Form 1 exchange registration application or a proposed rule change submitted pursuant to Section 19 of the Act, as applicable. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15665 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Parts 270, 271, and 272 RIN 1810–AB26 [Docket ID ED–2016–OESE–0006] Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance Centers) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The Secretary proposes to revise the regulations that govern the Equity Assistance Centers (EAC) program, authorized under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and to remove the regulations that govern the State Educational Agency Desegregation (SEA) program, authorized under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Once final and effective, these amended EAC regulations would govern the application process for new EAC grant awards. The proposed regulations would update the definitions applicable to this program; remove the existing selection criteria; and provide the Secretary with flexibility to determine the number and composition of geographic regions for the program. Additionally, the proposed regulations would remove the regulations for the SEA program, which is no longer funded. DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 25, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after the comment period. To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under ‘‘Are you new to the site?’’ • Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address them to: Britt Jung, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E231, Washington, DC 20202–6135. Telephone: (202) 205–4513. Privacy Note: The Department’s policy is to make all comments received SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15666 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS from members of the public available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters should be careful to include in their comments only information that they wish to make publicly available. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britt Jung, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E231, Washington, DC 20202–6135. Telephone: (202) 205–4513 or by email: britt.jung@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. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed regulations. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the final regulations, we urge you to identify clearly the specific section or sections of the proposed regulations that each of your comments addresses and to arrange your comments in the same order as the proposed regulations. We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed regulations. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the Department’s programs and activities. Specific Issues Open for Comment In addition to your general comments, we are interested in your feedback on the proposed flexibility in selecting the number and boundaries of the geographic regions. The Department currently plans to reduce the number of regional centers in the first competition after these final regulations become effective. We are particularly interested in your feedback on the following questions: • Do applicants or program beneficiaries support the proposed flexibility allowing the Secretary to choose the number of regional centers? • What factors should the Secretary consider when determining the composition of States in each geographic region? • Are there potential costs or benefits associated with the proposed approach that we have not addressed? During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 about these proposed regulations by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect the comments in person in room 3E231, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for these proposed regulations. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Background The Secretary proposes to revise the general regulations in 34 CFR part 270 that apply to both the EAC and the SEA programs and to revise the regulations in 34 CFR part 272 that apply only to the EAC program. We propose five key changes to these regulations. First, we propose to amend the section that governs the existing geographic regions to allow the Secretary flexibility in choosing the number and composition of geographic regions to be funded with each competition. Second, we propose to add religion to the areas of desegregation assistance, add a definition for ‘‘special educational problems occasioned by desegregation,’’ and amend the definition of ‘‘sex desegregation’’ to clarify the protected individuals identified by this term. Third, we propose to remove the existing selection criteria (to instead rely on the General Selection Criteria listed under the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 75.210). Fourth, we propose to remove the limitations and exceptions established in current 34 CFR 270.6 on providing desegregation assistance, to align these regulations with those of other technical assistance centers. Fifth, we propose to remove 34 CFR part 271, as the SEA program has not been funded in twenty years. We also propose to merge part 272 into part 270, so that a single part covers the EAC program. We propose regulations that would permit the Secretary to establish the geographic regions for the EAC program with each competition, so the Department could respond to the magnitude of the need for desegregation PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 assistance across the nation, taking into account funding levels and the circumstances that exist at the time of each competition. The Department currently plans to fund four regional centers in the first competition after these final regulations become effective. The proposed regulations would allow the Department to reduce the current number of regional centers while still providing technical assistance to beneficiaries across the nation. Presuming funding levels for the program remain constant, this would increase the funding available for each center and enable the centers to operate in the most effective and efficient manner. Reducing the current number of regions would limit the duplication of effort for overhead costs (such as start-up costs, administrative support, rent, etc.), and redirect those funds to technical assistance and support using the latest technology available. Furthermore, reducing the number of regions would allow the Department to provide more thorough support and monitoring of those consolidated centers, while ensuring technical assistance is still available to reach beneficiaries across the country. However, the proposed regulations would provide the flexibility to change the number and the composition of the regions in the future, in the event that funding levels or technical assistance delivery platforms were to change significantly. These decisions would necessarily take into consideration the need for centers to continue to provide support for communities across the country. The proposed regulations would add religion to the areas of desegregation assistance, as religion is specifically cited in Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as an area of desegregation assistance, and add a definition for the term ‘‘religion desegregation’’ that is consistent with the terms describing race, sex, and national origin desegregation. The Department would amend the definition of a ‘‘Desegregation Assistance Center’’ to refer to it as an Equity Assistance Center. The proposed regulations would also amend the definition of ‘‘sex desegregation’’ to explain that the Department interprets sex discrimination under Title IX to include discrimination based on transgender status, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and pregnancy and related conditions. Finally, the proposed regulations would add a definition for ‘‘special educational problems occasioned by desegregation’’ to clarify that this term does not refer to the provision of special education and related services as defined by the E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children with disabilities or staff providing services to them could be potential beneficiaries of technical assistance if they are affected by desegregation efforts. The proposed regulations would also eliminate the selection criteria and the prescribed point values under § 272.30. At present, the prescribed point values are unduly restrictive on the Secretary’s ability to structure each grant competition. Furthermore, there is significant overlap between the existing selection criteria and 34 CFR 75.210. As such, this change would provide the Secretary with greater flexibility to address program needs at the time of each competition, by allowing the use of any of the General Selection Criteria listed in 34 CFR 75.210, while ensuring that the selected projects for any competition meet the highest standards of professional excellence. The proposed regulations would remove current § 270.6(b) in its entirety and amend current § 270.6(a) to broaden this section to address all technical assistance activities under this program, rather than only those for race and national origin desegregation assistance. We propose to amend current § 270.6 for clarity, and to align these regulations with the limitations on developing curriculum that apply to other technical assistance centers, such as the Comprehensive Centers. Consistent with the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232(a), we cannot and do not authorize centers to exercise direction or control over the curriculum. As currently drafted, § 270.6(b) could be misconstrued to permit the development or implementation of activities for direct instruction; removing this provision will ensure clarity. Moreover, this approach is similar to that taken in the most recent notice of final requirements, priorities, and selection criteria for the Comprehensive Centers Program published in the Federal Register on June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33573). In that notice, we included a reminder that an applicant could not meet the program requirements by proposing a technical assistance plan that included designing or developing curricula or instructional materials for use in classrooms. Finally, the proposed regulations would remove 34 CFR part 271, and merge current parts 270 and 272 into a single part under proposed 34 CFR part 15667 270. The current regulations for the Desegregation of Public Education Programs under 34 CFR part 270 govern both the SEA Program and the EAC Program. The current regulations for part 272 govern the EAC program. The current regulations for part 271 govern the SEA program. We propose to remove 34 CFR part 271 (and any references to part 271 in current parts 270 and 272), because the SEA Program has not received funding in two decades and is no longer administered by the Department. As the only program currently administered under the Desegregation of Public Education Programs is the EAC Program, we propose to move sections in current part 272 into part 270 so that there is a single part governing the EAC program. As a result of merging parts 270 and 272, we would reorder the sections within proposed part 270. Additionally, we propose to remove current sections §§ 270.1 (desegregation of public education programs), 270.4 (types of projects funded by the desegregation of public education programs), 272.3 (applicable regulations), and 272.4 (definitions), as these sections would become redundant with the merger. TABLE DEMONSTRATING HOW THE CURRENT REGULATIONS WOULD BE RENUMBERED UNDER THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS Proposed section Substantive changes 270.1 ............................................... 270.2 ............................................... 270.3 ............................................... (removed) ...................................... 270.6 .............................................. 270.7 .............................................. 270.4 ............................................... 270.5 ............................................... 270.6 ............................................... (removed) ...................................... 270.31 ............................................ 270.32 ............................................ Part 271 ........................................... (removed) ...................................... 272.1 ............................................... 270.1 .............................................. 272.2 ............................................... 272.3 ............................................... 272.4 ............................................... 272.10 ............................................. 270.2 .............................................. (removed) ...................................... (removed) ...................................... 270.4 .............................................. 272.11 ............................................. 272.12 ............................................. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Current section 270.3 .............................................. 270.5 .............................................. 272.30 ............................................. (removed). ..................................... 272.31 ............................................. 272.32 ............................................. 270.20 ............................................ 270.21 ............................................ 272.40 ............................................. 270.30 ............................................ N/A. None. The proposed regulations would update certain definitions applicable to this program including adding a new definition of religion desegregation. N/A. None. The proposed regulations would revise the prohibition against providing materials for the direct instruction of students and remove the exception under current 270.6(b). The proposed regulations would remove the regulations for the SEA program, which is no longer funded. The proposed regulations would update program name to Equity Assistance Centers. None. N/A. N/A. The proposed regulations would add ‘‘community organizations’’ to the list of parties that may receive desegregation assistance under this program. None. The proposed regulations would revise the number of geographic regions served by the EACs. The proposed regulations would remove the existing selection criteria. None. The proposed regulations would replace ‘‘expected need’’ with ‘‘evidence supporting the magnitude of the demonstrated need’’ as it relates to the Secretary’s determination of the amount of a grant. The proposed regulations would broaden EAC coordination of technical assistance to include ‘‘Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other Federal technical assistance centers.’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15668 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules Significant Proposed Regulations We discuss substantive issues under the sections of the proposed regulations to which they pertain. Generally, we do not address proposed regulatory changes that are technical or otherwise minor in effect. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS PART 270—DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION Section 270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program? Statute: Under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000c– 2000c–2 and 2000c–5, the Secretary is authorized, upon the application of any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools, to render technical assistance to such applicant in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools. Current Regulations: Current § 270.1 refers to the ‘‘Desegregation of Public Education programs,’’ which includes both the SEA Program and the DAC Program. Proposed Regulations: We propose to replace this section with the language of current § 272.1; in addition, we propose to change the name of the centers from Desegregation Assistance Centers (DACs) to Equity Assistance Centers. Our proposed regulations would also remove the reference to the SEA Program. Reasons: When first implemented, the Desegregation of Public Education Programs under 34 CFR part 270 covered both the SEA Program (current part 271) and the DAC Program (current part 272). The SEA Program under current part 271 has not received funding since 1995 and is not currently administered by the Department. Therefore, we propose to remove all regulations for this program. We propose to change the name from Desegregation Assistance Centers to Equity Assistance Centers because the term ‘‘equity’’ better reflects the breadth of the types of desegregation issues faced in schools now, as students from different backgrounds and experiences are brought together. Ultimately, the purpose of the regional centers is to ensure access to educational opportunities for all students without regard to their race, sex, national origin, or religion. In the 21st century, issues related to desegregation include harassment, school climate, resource equity gaps, discrimination, and instructional practices designed to reach all students. The Department has for some time referred to the regional VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 assistance centers as ‘‘Equity Assistance Centers’’ in the notices inviting applications, in cooperative agreements, and on OESE’s Web page for the grant program. The majority of the current regional centers refer to themselves as ‘‘Equity Centers’’ or ‘‘Equity Assistance Centers.’’ Therefore, we believe it is appropriate to formally refer to the regional centers as ‘‘Equity Assistance Centers.’’ Section 270.2 Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program? Statute: Section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that the Secretary may render technical assistance upon the application of any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools. Current Regulations: Under current § 272.2, any public agency (other than an SEA or school board) or private, nonprofit organization is eligible to receive an EAC grant. Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current § 272.2 (without any changes) to part 270 as § 270.2. Reasons: We propose to move this section so that there is a single part covering the EAC program. Section 270.3 Who may receive assistance under this program? Statute: Under section 403 of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools may, upon request, receive technical assistance. The Secretary has the authority to prescribe how the technical assistance is provided, i.e., through regional centers, and who the beneficiaries are of the technical assistance under this program in accordance with 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: The current regulation § 272.11 states that a recipient of a grant under these parts, i.e., the regional centers, may provide assistance only if requested by a governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools located in its geographical service area. The regional centers are permitted to provide assistance to public school personnel and students enrolled in public schools, parents of those students, and other community members. Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current § 272.11 to part 270 as § 270.3. We also propose to expand the list of beneficiaries who may receive technical assistance from the regional PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 centers to include ‘‘community organizations’’ in addition to ‘‘community members.’’ Reasons: We propose to include community organizations within the list of beneficiaries who may receive assistance from the regional centers to clarify that all stakeholders with significant ties to public schools and students may assist in preparing, adopting, and implementing plans for the desegregation of public schools. Section 270.4 What types of projects are authorized under this program? Statute: Section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorizes the Secretary to provide for technical assistance to any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools, upon request, by making available information regarding effective methods of coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation, and by making available the Department’s personnel or other persons specially equipped to advise and assist in coping with such problems. The statute specifies that this technical assistance may include these actions ‘‘among other activities.’’ The Secretary has the authority to regulate other technical assistance activities that apply to the Equity Assistance Centers program under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Current § 272.10 states that the Secretary may award funds to DACs for projects offering technical assistance to governmental units legally responsible for operating a public school or schools, at their request, for assistance in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of desegregation plans. These projects must provide technical assistance in each of the following three areas of desegregation assistance: (1) Race, (2) sex, and (3) national origin. The section includes a non-exhaustive list of categories of desegregation assistance activities that are permissible under the statute, including training designed to improve the ability to effectively address special educational problems occasioned by desegregation, and identifies certain beneficiaries of such training. Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current § 272.10 to part 270 as § 270.4 and to make the following changes in proposed § 270.4. We propose to amend the reference to DACs in current § 272.10(a) to ‘‘EACs.’’ We also propose to add ‘‘community organizations’’ to the list of beneficiaries of desegregation technical assistance E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS activities in current § 272.10(c)(3). Finally, we propose to update the number of desegregation assistance areas from ‘‘all three’’ in current § 272.10(b) to ‘‘all four.’’ Reasons: We propose to update all references to DACs to now refer to EACs, to be consistent with our change to describe the centers as ‘‘Equity Assistance Centers’’ set forth in proposed § 270.7. We propose to add ‘‘community organizations’’ to the list of beneficiaries of desegregation technical assistance activities because the Department believes that community organizations with substantive ties to a public school can be effective stakeholders in working with schools and other responsible governmental agencies on issues this program seeks to address. We propose to revise § 272.10(b) to refer to four desegregation assistance areas, instead of three, to reflect the addition of religion desegregation to the existing desegregation assistance areas, as discussed in the explanation of proposed § 270.6. Section 270.5 What geographic regions do the EACs serve? Statute: Under section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Secretary may render technical assistance upon application to any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools. The statute does not prescribe the specific number of centers or geographic regions under the program. The Secretary has the authority to regulate the provision of technical assistance under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Current § 272.12 provides that the Secretary awards grants for desegregation assistance in ten geographic regions. The current regulations specify the States located within each of the ten geographic regions. Proposed Regulations: We propose to eliminate the current requirement that EACs serve ten geographic regions and reduce the number of regional centers. The proposed regulations state that the Secretary would announce in the Federal Register the number of centers and regions to be covered for each competition and identify the criteria the Secretary considers when determining the number and boundaries of the geographic regions. Thus, the proposed regulations would allow the Secretary to choose the number of centers and the geographic composition of each center in any given grant cycle. The criteria the Secretary considers when determining VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 the number and boundaries of the regions would include (1) size and diversity of the student population; (2) the number of LEAs; (3) the composition of urban, city, and rural LEAs; (4) the history of Equity Assistance Center and other Department technical assistance activities carried out in each geographic region; and (5) the amount of funding available for the competition. We also propose to move current § 272.12 to proposed § 270.5. Reasons: The proposed regulations would allow the Secretary to choose the number of centers and the geographic composition of each center in any given grant cycle, which would allow the Secretary to reduce the number of regional centers moving forward. The proposed regulations identify criteria the Secretary considers when determining the number and boundaries of geographic regions for a given grant year, which are designed to provide a variety of criteria the Secretary would use to determine the demand and underlying needs of each geographic region. This proposed change would allow the Secretary the flexibility to consider the amount of available funding for the EAC program and distribute it among an appropriate number of geographic regions. Since the Department was created, the amount of funding for the EAC program has dropped significantly, from $45 million in FY 1980 (for all Desegregation of Public Education programs) to $6.6 million in FY 2016 for EAC grants. In developing the proposed regulations for this section, the Department reasoned that limiting the number of centers may be appropriate at times to reduce overhead costs and to ensure that a greater percentage of funds are used to directly serve beneficiaries. We also believe this change would improve each individual center’s capacity to carry out robust technical assistance. Consolidating the number of regional centers would also help the Department to award grants to the highest-quality applications in future grant cycles. The proposed regulations would enable the centers to operate in the most effective and efficient manner by limiting the duplication of effort for overhead costs and redirecting those funds to technical assistance. In addition, providing each center with more resources would help each individual center attract and retain the highest-quality experts in the field. Similarly, flexibility to determine the boundaries of geographic regions may enable more effective responses to new or emerging issues in the field by allowing the Secretary to create PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15669 geographic regions based on areas facing similar issues. Furthermore, the capabilities of technology have changed dramatically since this program’s enactment; the Internet now allows EACs to provide effective and coordinated technical assistance across much greater geographic distances than would have been possible when the current regulations were promulgated in 1987. Finally, allowing the Secretary to establish the number of regional centers for each competition will allow the Department to try different numbers to reach the optimal number of regional centers, without undergoing rulemaking each time it is necessary to alter the regions served under this program. Section 270.6 What definitions apply to this program? Statute: Under section 401 of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the terms ‘‘Secretary,’’ ‘‘Desegregation,’’ ‘‘Public school,’’ and ‘‘School board’’ are defined. The Secretary has the authority to define through regulation other terms that apply to the Equity Assistance Centers program under 20 U.S.C. 1221e3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Current § 270.3 defines key terms used by the Department in administering the program. Under the current regulations: • ‘‘Desegregation assistance’’ means the provision of technical assistance (including training) in the areas of race, sex, and national origin desegregation of public elementary and secondary schools. • ‘‘Desegregation assistance areas’’ means the areas of race, sex, and national origin desegregation. • ‘‘Desegregation Assistance Center’’ means a regional desegregation technical assistance and training center funded under 34 CFR part 272. • ‘‘Limited English proficiency’’ has the same meaning under this part as the same term defined in 34 CFR 500.4 of the General Provisions regulations for the Bilingual Education Program. • ‘‘National origin desegregation’’ means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their national origin, including providing students of limited English proficiency with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs. • ‘‘Race desegregation’’ means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their race including providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their race. ‘‘Race desegregation’’ does not mean the assignment of students to public schools E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 15670 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules to correct conditions of racial separation that are not the result of State or local law or official action. • ‘‘Sex desegregation’’ means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their sex including providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their sex. Proposed Regulations: First, we propose to change the name from ‘‘Desegregation Assistance Center’’ to ‘‘Equity Assistance Center.’’ ‘‘Equity Assistance Center’’ would be defined as a regional desegregation technical assistance and training center funded under this part. Second, we propose to clarify and update the definition of ‘‘sex desegregation’’ to explain that sex desegregation includes desegregation based on transgender status, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and pregnancy and related conditions. Third, we propose to add religion desegregation to the definition of ‘‘desegregation assistance’’ and the ‘‘desegregation assistance areas,’’ and to define ‘‘religion desegregation’’ in this section. Fourth, we propose to replace the current definition of ‘‘limited English proficiency (LEP)’’ with the definition of ‘‘English learner’’ under section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Public Law 114– 95 (2015) (ESSA), and make conforming changes to the definition of ‘‘national origin discrimination’’ including replacing the reference to students of ‘‘limited English .proficiency’’ to ‘‘English learner’’ students. Fifth, we propose to add a definition of ‘‘special educational problems occasioned by desegregation’’ to clarify this term. We would also move current § 270.3 to proposed § 270.7. Reasons: In the definitions we propose to change the name of the centers from ‘‘Desegregation Assistance Centers’’ to ‘‘Equity Assistance Centers’’ for the reasons discussed under proposed § 270.1. We propose to update the definition of ‘‘sex desegregation’’ to clarify the protected individuals identified by this term. We propose to clarify that ‘‘sex desegregation’’ includes the treatment of students on the basis of pregnancy and related conditions, which include childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom, consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations at 34 CFR 106.40. We also propose to clarify that ‘‘sex desegregation’’ includes the treatment of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 students without regard to sex stereotypes, or their transgender status or gender identity, to highlight some emerging issues for which EACs may provide technical assistance in this area. This change reflects the Supreme Court’s reasoning that discrimination based on ‘‘sex’’ includes differential treatment based on any ‘‘sex-based conditions,’’ Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 242 (1989) (case decided under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), and subsequent court decisions recognizing that the prohibitions on sex discrimination protect transgender individuals from discrimination. See e.g., Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2011); Smith v. City of Salem, 378 F.3d 566 (6th Cir. 2004); Schwenk v. Hartford, 204 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 2000). The change also aligns with our Office for Civil Rights’ interpretation of the prohibition of sex discrimination in Title IX and its regulations as reflected in its ‘‘Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence’’ (Apr. 29, 2014), www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/qa-201404title-ix.pdf; ‘‘Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities’’ (Dec. 1, 2014), www.ed.gov/ ocr/docs/faqs-title-ix-single-sex201412.pdf; and ‘‘Title IX Resource Guide’’ (Apr. 24, 2015), www.ed.gov/ ocr/docs/dcl-title-ix-coordinators-guide201504.pdf. The Department interprets ‘‘sex discrimination’’ under Title IX and its regulations in a similar manner. See amicus brief filed in G.G v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd., No. 15–2056 (4th Cir.), available at www.justice.gov/crt/casedocument/gg-v-gloucester-countyschool-board-brief-amicus. These interpretations of Title IX and its regulations are particularly relevant to the meaning of ‘‘sex’’ under Title IV because Congress’s 1972 amendment to Title IV to add sex as an appropriate desegregation assistance area was included in Title IX of the Education Amendments. This change is also consistent with other Federal agencies’ recent regulatory proposals to codify similar interpretations of sex discrimination, including treatment of students without regard to transgender status, gender identity, or sex stereotypes (such as treating a person differently because he or she does not conform to sex-role expectations by being in a relationship with a person of the same sex). 80 FR 5246, 5277, 5279 (Jan. 30, 2015) (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor; proposed 41 CFR 60–20.2(a) and 60–20.7); 80 FR 54172, 54216–217 (Sept. 8, 2015) (Office for PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Civil Rights, Department of Health and Human Services; proposed 41 CFR 92.4); 81 FR 4494, 4550 (Jan. 26, 2016) (Office of the Secretary, Department of Labor; proposed 29 CFR 38.7). Thus, the proposed definition would more accurately reflect the Office for Civil Rights’ and the Department’s interpretation of Title IX and its regulations, our existing practices regarding sex desegregation and equity, and would be consistent with the interpretations and rulemakings of other Federal agencies. We propose to add a definition of ‘‘religion desegregation,’’ and to incorporate religion into the definitions of ‘‘desegregation assistance’’ and ‘‘desegregation assistance areas.’’ Sections 401 and 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorize the Secretary to render technical assistance to support the desegregation of public schools and the assignment of students to schools without regard to religion. While the current regulations do not address religion desegregation, the Secretary’s authority to render technical assistance for the desegregation of public schools is clear under sections 401 and 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and desegregation is therein defined to include the assignment of students to public schools and within such schools without regard to their religion. Given the increasing religious diversity in the United States, and the increased tension that has developed in many of our schools related to a student’s actual or perceived religion, the Department believes it would be beneficial to provide resources for schools to assist in developing effective strategies to ensure all students have a full opportunity to participate in educational programs, regardless of religion. Further, adding religion desegregation to the desegregation assistance areas will allow the Department to build upon and support the work of the United States Department of Justice under Title IV to ensure compliance with Federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion. We propose to amend the current definition of ‘‘limited English proficiency (LEP)’’ so that this term is identical to, and has the same meaning as, ‘‘English Learner’’ under ESEA section 8101(20), as the statutory definition reflects the Department’s current understanding of this target population. We also propose to amend the definition of ‘‘national origin desegregation’’ to clarify that this term includes providing students who are English learners with a full opportunity for participation in all educational E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS programs ‘‘regardless of their national origin.’’ Lastly, we propose to add a definition of ‘‘special educational problems occasioned by desegregation.’’ This phrase is included within the statute and regulations, but could be confused with requirements to provide special education and related services under IDEA. The new definition clarifies the distinction between the term ‘‘special educational problems occasioned by desegregation’’ under Title IV and ‘‘special education and related services’’ under the IDEA. Under this proposed definition, children with disabilities or staff providing services to them would not be precluded from being potential beneficiaries of technical assistance if they are affected by desegregation efforts. Section 270.20 How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a grant? Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not address how the Secretary evaluates an application for a grant under these programs, and the Secretary has the authority to regulate these requirements under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Current § 272.31 provides that the Secretary evaluates the application on the basis of all of the selection criteria in § 272.30. The Secretary cannot pick and choose from the selection criteria. These selection criteria include mission and strategy, organizational capacity, plan of operation, quality of key personnel, budget and cost effectiveness, evaluation plan, and adequacy of resources. The Secretary then selects the highest ranking application for each geographical service area to receive a grant. Proposed Regulations: We propose to remove the program specific selection criteria and the associated point values in current § 272.30. We propose to amend current § 272.31(a) to state that the Secretary evaluates applications on the basis of criteria in 34 CFR 75.210, and may select from among the list of factors under each criterion in 34 CFR 75.210. We also propose to move current § 272.31 to proposed part 270, as § 270.20. Reasons: We propose to remove the selection criteria and the associated point values in current § 272.30, and revise current § 272.31, to provide the Secretary with greater flexibility in identifying the most relevant factors for each grant competition. Under current § 272.30, the Secretary is required to use all of the established selection criteria and the associated point values for each competition. As a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 result, the Secretary has no flexibility to adjust the selection criteria in accordance with the needs of the program at the time of each competition. The current selection criteria also limit the opportunities to improve the selection process, based upon experience gained in running the program. Using the general selection criteria listed in 34 CFR 75.210 would ensure that the program selection process can be refined over time, based upon the needs and concerns identified at the time of each competition. The general selection criteria have been vetted and tested across many Departmental programs, and provide a wide range of factors for evaluating applications in any competition. Substantively, there is significant overlap between current § 272.30 and the general selection criteria of 34 CFR 75.210, which would allow the Secretary to continue to use some similar elements of the selection criteria, if those elements are deemed the most appropriate choices for ensuring high-quality applicants. Similarly, allowing the Secretary to identify the point values for each selection criterion at the time of the competition would allow the Secretary to hone the selection process over time. The Secretary will have the flexibility to weight more heavily those selection criteria determined to be most important in identifying effective centers. Finally, this change will bring the EAC regulations into alignment with many other Departmental regulations for discretionary grant programs. Section 270.21 How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant? Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is silent about how the Secretary may determine the amount of each grant. The Secretary has the authority to regulate this issue under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Under current § 272.32, the Secretary determines the amount of an EAC grant award on the basis of the amount of funds available under this part. The Secretary also conducts a cost analysis of the project. The Secretary considers the magnitude of the expected needs of responsible governmental agencies for desegregation assistance in the geographic region, as well as the costs required to meet the expected needs. Further, under current § 272.32(d), the Secretary considers the size and racial or ethnic diversity of the student population of the geographic region. Finally, the Secretary considers any other information concerning desegregation problems and proposed PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15671 activities that the Secretary finds relevant in the applicant’s geographic region. Proposed Regulations: We propose to amend current § 272.32(c) to consider the ‘‘evidence supporting the magnitude of the demonstrated need of the responsible governmental agencies for desegregation assistance,’’ instead of ‘‘expected need.’’ We propose to update current § 272.32(d) to replace the reference to ‘‘the DAC’’ with ‘‘the EAC.’’ We also propose to move current § 272.32 to part 270, as proposed § 270.21. Reasons: We propose that the Secretary determines the amount of a grant on the basis of ‘‘evidence supporting the magnitude of the demonstrated need’’ rather than ‘‘expected need’’ to encourage applicants to support their stated needs with data demonstrating the technical assistance needs of the geographic region. An approach to technical assistance informed by data and evidence would promote comprehensive and preventative policies to combat segregation. Encouraging applicants to analyze needs of their geographic regions during the application process will jumpstart these efforts. Finally, a data-driven approach to geographic need will help potential applicants anticipate the future needs of their regions and make better use of existing resources. Section 270.30 What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant? Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is silent about the conditions that must be met by a recipient. The Secretary has the authority to regulate on this issue under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Pursuant to current § 272.40, a recipient of EAC grant funds must operate an EAC in the geographic region to be served and have a full-time project director. The EAC must also coordinate assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs funded under 34 CFR part 271. Proposed Regulations: We propose to replace all references to ‘‘DAC’’ or ‘‘DACs’’ with ‘‘EAC’’ or ‘‘EACs.’’ We also propose to amend current § 272.40(c) to state that a recipient of a grant under this part must coordinate assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other Federal technical assistance centers. As part of this coordination, the recipient would seek to prevent duplication of assistance where an SEA, Comprehensive Center, E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15672 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS or Regional Educational Laboratory may have already provided assistance to the responsible governmental agency. Finally, we propose to move current § 272.40 to part 270, as proposed § 270.30. Reasons: The Department is proposing to replace all reference to DACs with the equivalent reference to EACs to reflect the proposal to change the term to Equity Assistance Centers. Proposed § 270.30(c) would specify that a recipient of a grant under this part must coordinate assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories and other Federal technical assistance centers. This change is meant to reflect two important updates: First, the EACs would not be required to coordinate with SEAs funded under the SEA program, because the SEA Program no longer exists and no SEAs are funded under this program. Second, the proposed regulations would highlight the centers’ responsibilities to work with a variety of stakeholders by noting that they ‘‘must coordinate’’ with appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other Federal technical assistance centers. We propose to promote this coordination to prevent technical assistance centers from duplicating work and to encourage technical assistance centers to share expertise regarding equity and desegregation issues. Section 270.32 What limitation is imposed on providing Equity Assistance under this program? Statute: Under section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Secretary may render technical assistance upon application to any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools. The Secretary has the authority to regulate the provision of technical assistance under 20 U.S.C. 1221e–3 and 3474. Current Regulations: Current § 270.6(a) states that a recipient of a grant for race or national origin desegregation assistance may not use funds to assist in the development or implementation of activities or the development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of students to improve their academic and vocational achievement levels. However, current § 270.6(b) provides that a recipient of a grant for national origin desegregation assistance may use funds to assist in the development and implementation of activities or the development of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 curriculum materials for the direct instruction of students of limited English proficiency, to afford these students a full opportunity to participate in all educational programs. Proposed Regulations: We propose to remove current § 270.6(b) in its entirety. We also propose to amend current § 270.6(a) to simply state that a recipient of a grant under this program may not use funds to assist in the development or implementation of activities or the development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of students to improve their academic and vocational achievement levels. Reasons: We propose to clarify that the prohibition on the development of curriculum materials for direct instruction applies to technical assistance activities under this program. Consistent with the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(a), we cannot and do not authorize centers to exercise direction or control over the curriculum. As currently drafted, these provisions could be misconstrued to permit the development or implementation of activities for direct instruction; removing the provisions will ensure clarity. Moreover, this approach is similar to that taken in the most recent notice of final priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for the Comprehensive Centers Program published in the Federal Register on June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33573). In that notice, we stated that an applicant could not meet the program requirements by proposing a technical assistance plan that included designing or developing curricula or instructional materials for use in classrooms. Finally, we have removed the limitation under current § 270.6(a) that these regulations only apply to grants ‘‘for race or national origin desegregation assistance’’ because the limitations on curriculum development under GEPA 1232(a) apply to all technical assistance activities under this program. Thus, the proposed changes align these regulations with the statutory limitations on developing curriculum that apply to other technical assistance centers. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this regulatory action is ‘‘significant’’ and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ‘‘significant PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 regulatory action’’ as an action likely to result in a rule that may— (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an ‘‘economically significant’’ rule); (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles stated in the Executive order. This proposed regulatory action is a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. We have also reviewed these regulations under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency— (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify); (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations; (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity); (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices. Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ‘‘to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.’’ The Office of E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include ‘‘identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.’’ We are issuing these proposed regulations only on a reasoned determination that their benefits would justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that these proposed regulations are consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563. We have also determined that this regulatory action would not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions. In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this regulatory action are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department’s programs and activities. Discussion of Costs and Benefits: We have determined that the potential costs associated with this regulatory action would be minimal while the potential benefits are significant. For Equity Assistance Center grants, applicants may anticipate costs in developing their applications. Application, submission, and participation in a competitive discretionary grant program are voluntary. The proposed regulations would create flexibility for us to use general selection criteria listed in EDGAR 75.210. We believe that any criterion from EDGAR 75.210 that would be used in a future grant competition would not impose a financial burden that applicants would not otherwise incur in the development and submission of a grant application. Other losses may stem from the reduction of the number of regional centers for those applicants that do not receive a grant in future funding years, including the costs of eliminating those centers and associated job losses. Notably, we do not believe that reducing the number of regions would prevent EACs from providing technical assistance to beneficiaries across the country. Technological advancements allow EACs to provide effective and coordinated technical assistance across much greater geographic distances than VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 when the current regulations were promulgated in 1987. The benefits include enhancing project design and quality of services to better meet the statutory objectives of the programs. These proposed changes would also allow more funds to be used directly for providing technical assistance to responsible governmental agencies for their work in equity and desegregation by reducing the amount of funds directed to overhead costs. The proposed flexibility of the geographic regions would increase the Department’s ability to be strategic with limited resources. In addition, these changes would result in each center receiving a greater percentage of the overall funds for the program, and this greater percentage and amount of funds for each selected applicant would help to incentivize a greater diversity of applicants. In addition, the Secretary believes that students covered under sex desegregation and religion desegregation would strongly benefit from the proposed regulations. The revised definition of ‘‘sex desegregation’’ would eliminate lost opportunities for assistance by providing clarification regarding the scope of issues covered under sex desegregation, thus removing any confusion for EACs and the beneficiaries they serve as to which parties are entitled to assistance under this term. For religion desegregation, grantees would need to provide technical assistance to responsible governmental agencies seeking assistance on this subject, but the costs associated with these new technical assistance activities would be covered by program funds. Elsewhere in this section under Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we identify and explain burdens specifically associated with information collection requirements. Clarity of the Regulations Executive Order 12866 and the Presidential memorandum ‘‘Plain Language in Government Writing’’ require each agency to write regulations that are easy to understand. The Secretary invites comments on how to make these proposed regulations easier to understand, including answers to questions such as the following: • Are the requirements in the proposed regulations clearly stated? • Do the proposed regulations contain technical terms or other wording that interferes with their clarity? • Does the format of the proposed regulations (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce their clarity? PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15673 • Would the proposed regulations be easier to understand if we divided them into more (but shorter) sections? (A ‘‘section’’ is preceded by the symbol ‘‘§ ’’ and a numbered heading; for example, § 270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program?) • Could the description of the proposed regulations in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this preamble be more helpful in making the proposed regulations easier to understand? If so, how? • What else could we do to make the proposed regulations easier to understand? To send any comments that concern how the Department could make these proposed regulations easier to understand, see the instructions in the ADDRESSES section. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification The Secretary certifies that these proposed regulations would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards define institutions as ‘‘small entities’’ if they are for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total annual revenue below $15,000,000, and defines ‘‘non-profit institutions’’ as small organizations if they are independently owned and operated and not dominant in their field of operation, or as small entities if they are institutions controlled by governmental entities with populations below 50,000. The Secretary invites comments from small entities as to whether they believe the proposed changes would have a significant economic impact on them and, if so, requests evidence to support that belief. The Secretary believes that the small entities which will be primarily affected by these regulations are public agencies and private, nonprofit organizations that would be eligible to receive a grant under this program. However, the Secretary believes that the proposed regulations would not have a significant economic impact on these small entities because the regulations do not impose excessive regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision, and will not affect the current status quo for the burden imposed on these small entities under existing regulations. However, the Secretary specifically invites comments on the effects of the proposed regulations on small entities, and on whether there may be further opportunities to reduce any potential adverse impact or increase potential benefits resulting from these proposed regulations without impeding the effective and efficient administration of E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15674 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules proposes to amend parts 270, 271, and 272 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: the Equity Assistance Center grant program. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 These proposed regulations do not contain any information collection requirements. 1. Part 270 is revised to read as follows: ■ Intergovernmental Review This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance. This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for these programs. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 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. PART 270— EQUITY ASSISTANCE CENTER PROGRAM Subpart A—General Sec. 270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program? 270.2 Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program? 270.3 Who may receive assistance under this program? 270.4 What types of projects are authorized under this program? 270.5 What geographic regions do the EACs serve? 270.6 What regulations apply to this program? 270.7 What definitions apply to this program? Subpart B—[RESERVED] Subpart C—How Does the Secretary Award a Grant? Sec. 270.20 How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a grant? 270.21 How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant? Subpart D—What Conditions Must I Meet After I Receive a Grant? Sec. 270.30 What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant? 270.31 What stipends and related reimbursements are authorized under this program? 270.32 What limitation is imposed on providing Equity Assistance under this program? Authority: 42 U.S.C. 2000c–2000c–2, 2000c–5, unless otherwise noted. PART 270—EQUITY ASSISTANCE CENTER PROGRAM § 270.2 Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program? A public agency (other than a State educational agency or a school board) or private, nonprofit organization is eligible to receive a grant under this program. § 270.3 Who may receive assistance under this program? (a) The recipient of a grant under this part may provide assistance only if requested by school boards or other responsible governmental agencies located in its geographic region. (b) The recipient may provide assistance only to the following persons: (1) Public school personnel. (2) Students enrolled in public schools, parents of those students, community organizations and other community members. § 270.4 What types of projects are authorized under this program? (a) The Secretary may award funds to EACs for projects offering technical assistance (including training) to school boards and other responsible governmental agencies, at their request, for assistance in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools. (b) A project must provide technical assistance in all four of the desegregation assistance areas, as defined in § 270.7. (c) Desegregation assistance may include, among other activities: (1) Dissemination of information regarding effective methods of coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation; (2) Assistance and advice in coping with these problems; and (3) Training designed to improve the ability of teachers, supervisors, counselors, parents, community members, community organizations, and other elementary or secondary school personnel to deal effectively with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.004D) Subpart A—General List of Subjects in 34 CFR Parts 270, 271, and 272 Elementary and secondary education, Equal educational opportunity, Grant programs—education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. § 270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program? § 270.5 What geographic regions do the EACs serve? This program provides financial assistance to operate regional Equity Assistance Centers (EACs), to enable them to provide technical assistance (including training) at the request of school boards and other responsible governmental agencies in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools, and in the development of effective methods of coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation. (a) The Secretary awards a grant to provide race, sex, national origin, and religion desegregation assistance under this program to regional Equity Assistance Centers serving designated geographic regions. (b) The Secretary announces in the Federal Register the number of centers and geographic regions for each competition. (c) The Secretary determines the number and boundaries of each geographic region for each competition Dated: March 17, 2016. Ann Whalen, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, and under the authority of 20 U.S.C. 3474, the Secretary of Education VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules on the basis of one or more of the following: (1) Size and diversity of the student population; (2) The number of LEAs; (3) The composition of urban, city, and rural LEAs; (4) The history of the Equity Assistance Center technical assistance activities, and other Department technical assistance activities, carried out in each geographic region; and (5) The amount of funding available for the competition. § 270.6 What regulations apply to this program? The following regulations apply to this program: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR part 75 (Direct Grant Programs), part 77 (Definitions That Apply to Department Regulations), part 79 (Intergovernmental Review of Department of Education Programs and Activities), and part 81 (General Education Provisions Act— Enforcement), except that 34 CFR 75.232 (relating to the cost analysis) does not apply to grants under this program. (b) The regulations in this part. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted in 2 CFR part 3474 and the OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted in 2 CFR part 3485. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 270.7 What definitions apply to this program? In addition to the definitions in 34 CFR 77.1, the following definitions apply to the regulations in this part: Desegregation assistance means the provision of technical assistance (including training) in the areas of race, sex, national origin and religion desegregation of public elementary and secondary schools. Desegregation assistance areas means the areas of race, sex, national origin and religion desegregation. Equity Assistance Center means a regional desegregation technical assistance and training center funded under this part. English learner has the same meaning under this part as the same term defined in section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended. (Authority: Section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. 114–95 (2015) (ESSA)) VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 National origin desegregation means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their national origin, including providing students such as those who are English learners with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their national origin. Public school means any elementary or secondary educational institution operated by a State, subdivision of a State, or governmental agency within a State, or operated wholly or predominantly from or through the use of governmental funds or property, or funds or property derived from governmental sources. Public school personnel means school board members and persons who are employed by or who work in the schools of a responsible governmental agency, as that term is defined in this section. Race desegregation means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their race, including providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their race. ‘‘Race desegregation’’ does not mean the assignment of students to public schools to correct conditions of racial separation that are not the result of State or local law or official action. Religion desegregation means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their religion, including providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their religion. Responsible governmental agency means any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools. School board means any agency or agencies that administer a system of one or more public schools and any other agency that is responsible for the assignment of students to or within that system. Sex desegregation means the assignment of students to public schools and within those schools without regard to their sex (including transgender status, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and pregnancy and related conditions), including providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their sex. Special educational problems occasioned by desegregation means those issues that arise in classrooms, schools, and communities as a result of desegregation efforts based on race, PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15675 national origin, sex, or religion. The phrase does not refer to the provision of special education and related services for students with disabilities as defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) Subpart B—[Reserved] Subpart C—How Does the Secretary Award a Grant? § 270.20 How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a grant? (a) The Secretary evaluates the application on the basis of the criteria in 34 CFR 75.210. (b) The Secretary selects the highest ranking application for each geographic region to receive a grant. § 270.21 How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant? The Secretary determines the amount of a grant on the basis of: (a) The amount of funds available for all grants under this part; (b) A cost analysis of the project (that shows whether the applicant will achieve the objectives of the project with reasonable efficiency and economy under the budget in the application), by which the Secretary: (1) Verifies the cost data in the detailed budget for the project; (2) Evaluates specific elements of costs; and (3) Examines costs to determine if they are necessary, reasonable, and allowable under applicable statutes and regulations; (c) Evidence supporting the magnitude of the need of the responsible governmental agencies for desegregation assistance in the geographic region and the cost of providing that assistance to meet those needs, as compared with the evidence supporting the magnitude of the needs for desegregation assistance, and the cost of providing it, in all geographic regions for which applications are approved for funding; (d) The size and the racial, ethnic, or religious diversity of the student population of the geographic region for which the EAC will provide services; and (e) Any other information concerning desegregation problems and proposed activities that the Secretary finds relevant in the applicant’s geographic region. Subpart D—What Conditions Must I Meet After I Receive a Grant? § 270.30 What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant? (a) A recipient of a grant under this part must: E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15676 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 57 / Thursday, March 24, 2016 / Proposed Rules (1) Operate an EAC in the geographic region to be served; and (2) Have a full-time project director. (b) A recipient of a grant under this part must coordinate assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other Federal technical assistance centers. As part of this coordination, the recipient shall seek to prevent duplication of assistance where an SEA, Comprehensive Center, Regional Educational Laboratory, or other Federal technical assistance center may have already provided assistance to the responsible governmental agency. § 270.31 What stipends and related reimbursements are authorized under this program? asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS (a) The recipient of an award under this program may pay: (1) Stipends to public school personnel who participate in technical assistance or training activities funded under this part for the period of their attendance, if the person to whom the stipend is paid receives no other compensation for that period; or VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Mar 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 (2) Reimbursement to a responsible governmental agency that pays substitutes for public school personnel who: (i) Participate in technical assistance or training activities funded under this part; and (ii) Are being compensated by that responsible governmental agency for the period of their attendance. (b) A recipient may pay the stipends and reimbursements described in this section only if it demonstrates that the payment of these costs is necessary to the success of the technical assistance or training activity, and will not exceed 20 percent of the total award. (c) If a recipient is authorized by the Secretary to pay stipends or reimbursements (or any combination of these payments), the recipient shall determine the conditions and rates for these payments in accordance with appropriate State policies, or in the absence of State policies, in accordance with local policies. (d) A recipient of a grant under this part may pay a travel allowance only to a person who participates in a technical assistance or training activity under this part. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 (e) If the participant does not complete the entire scheduled activity, the recipient may pay the participant’s transportation to his or her residence or place of employment only if the participant left the training activity because of circumstances not reasonably within his or her control. § 270.32 What limitation is imposed on providing Equity Assistance under this program? A recipient of a grant under this program may not use funds to assist in the development or implementation of activities or the development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of students to improve their academic and vocational achievement levels. PART 271 [REMOVED AND RESERVED] ■ 2. Part 271 is removed and reserved. PART 272 [REMOVED AND RESERVED] ■ 3. Part 272 is removed and reserved. [FR Doc. 2016–06439 Filed 3–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 57 (Thursday, March 24, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 15665-15676]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-06439]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Parts 270, 271, and 272

RIN 1810-AB26
[Docket ID ED-2016-OESE-0006]


Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance 
Centers)

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to revise the regulations that govern 
the Equity Assistance Centers (EAC) program, authorized under Title IV 
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and to remove the regulations that 
govern the State Educational Agency Desegregation (SEA) program, 
authorized under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Once final 
and effective, these amended EAC regulations would govern the 
application process for new EAC grant awards. The proposed regulations 
would update the definitions applicable to this program; remove the 
existing selection criteria; and provide the Secretary with flexibility 
to determine the number and composition of geographic regions for the 
program. Additionally, the proposed regulations would remove the 
regulations for the SEA program, which is no longer funded.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 25, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after 
the comment period. To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies, 
please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the 
Docket ID at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using 
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site 
under ``Are you new to the site?''
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address 
them to: Britt Jung, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue 
SW., Room 3E231, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 205-4513.
    Privacy Note: The Department's policy is to make all comments 
received

[[Page 15666]]

from members of the public available for public viewing in their 
entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. 
Therefore, commenters should be careful to include in their comments 
only information that they wish to make publicly available.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britt Jung, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E231, Washington, DC 20202-
6135. Telephone: (202) 205-4513 or by email: britt.jung@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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
these proposed regulations. To ensure that your comments have maximum 
effect in developing the final regulations, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific section or sections of the proposed regulations 
that each of your comments addresses and to arrange your comments in 
the same order as the proposed regulations.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall 
requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these 
proposed regulations. Please let us know of any further ways we could 
reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving 
the effective and efficient administration of the Department's programs 
and activities.

Specific Issues Open for Comment

    In addition to your general comments, we are interested in your 
feedback on the proposed flexibility in selecting the number and 
boundaries of the geographic regions. The Department currently plans to 
reduce the number of regional centers in the first competition after 
these final regulations become effective. We are particularly 
interested in your feedback on the following questions:
     Do applicants or program beneficiaries support the 
proposed flexibility allowing the Secretary to choose the number of 
regional centers?
     What factors should the Secretary consider when 
determining the composition of States in each geographic region?
     Are there potential costs or benefits associated with the 
proposed approach that we have not addressed?
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about these proposed regulations by accessing Regulations.gov. 
You may also inspect the comments in person in room 3E231, 400 Maryland 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Washington, 
DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. 
Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for these proposed regulations. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary 
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.

Background

    The Secretary proposes to revise the general regulations in 34 CFR 
part 270 that apply to both the EAC and the SEA programs and to revise 
the regulations in 34 CFR part 272 that apply only to the EAC program. 
We propose five key changes to these regulations. First, we propose to 
amend the section that governs the existing geographic regions to allow 
the Secretary flexibility in choosing the number and composition of 
geographic regions to be funded with each competition. Second, we 
propose to add religion to the areas of desegregation assistance, add a 
definition for ``special educational problems occasioned by 
desegregation,'' and amend the definition of ``sex desegregation'' to 
clarify the protected individuals identified by this term. Third, we 
propose to remove the existing selection criteria (to instead rely on 
the General Selection Criteria listed under the Education Department 
General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 75.210). Fourth, 
we propose to remove the limitations and exceptions established in 
current 34 CFR 270.6 on providing desegregation assistance, to align 
these regulations with those of other technical assistance centers. 
Fifth, we propose to remove 34 CFR part 271, as the SEA program has not 
been funded in twenty years. We also propose to merge part 272 into 
part 270, so that a single part covers the EAC program.
    We propose regulations that would permit the Secretary to establish 
the geographic regions for the EAC program with each competition, so 
the Department could respond to the magnitude of the need for 
desegregation assistance across the nation, taking into account funding 
levels and the circumstances that exist at the time of each 
competition. The Department currently plans to fund four regional 
centers in the first competition after these final regulations become 
effective.
    The proposed regulations would allow the Department to reduce the 
current number of regional centers while still providing technical 
assistance to beneficiaries across the nation. Presuming funding levels 
for the program remain constant, this would increase the funding 
available for each center and enable the centers to operate in the most 
effective and efficient manner. Reducing the current number of regions 
would limit the duplication of effort for overhead costs (such as 
start-up costs, administrative support, rent, etc.), and redirect those 
funds to technical assistance and support using the latest technology 
available. Furthermore, reducing the number of regions would allow the 
Department to provide more thorough support and monitoring of those 
consolidated centers, while ensuring technical assistance is still 
available to reach beneficiaries across the country. However, the 
proposed regulations would provide the flexibility to change the number 
and the composition of the regions in the future, in the event that 
funding levels or technical assistance delivery platforms were to 
change significantly. These decisions would necessarily take into 
consideration the need for centers to continue to provide support for 
communities across the country.
    The proposed regulations would add religion to the areas of 
desegregation assistance, as religion is specifically cited in Title IV 
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as an area of desegregation assistance, 
and add a definition for the term ``religion desegregation'' that is 
consistent with the terms describing race, sex, and national origin 
desegregation. The Department would amend the definition of a 
``Desegregation Assistance Center'' to refer to it as an Equity 
Assistance Center. The proposed regulations would also amend the 
definition of ``sex desegregation'' to explain that the Department 
interprets sex discrimination under Title IX to include discrimination 
based on transgender status, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and 
pregnancy and related conditions. Finally, the proposed regulations 
would add a definition for ``special educational problems occasioned by 
desegregation'' to clarify that this term does not refer to the 
provision of special education and related services as defined by the

[[Page 15667]]

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children with 
disabilities or staff providing services to them could be potential 
beneficiaries of technical assistance if they are affected by 
desegregation efforts.
    The proposed regulations would also eliminate the selection 
criteria and the prescribed point values under Sec.  272.30. At 
present, the prescribed point values are unduly restrictive on the 
Secretary's ability to structure each grant competition. Furthermore, 
there is significant overlap between the existing selection criteria 
and 34 CFR 75.210. As such, this change would provide the Secretary 
with greater flexibility to address program needs at the time of each 
competition, by allowing the use of any of the General Selection 
Criteria listed in 34 CFR 75.210, while ensuring that the selected 
projects for any competition meet the highest standards of professional 
excellence.
    The proposed regulations would remove current Sec.  270.6(b) in its 
entirety and amend current Sec.  270.6(a) to broaden this section to 
address all technical assistance activities under this program, rather 
than only those for race and national origin desegregation assistance. 
We propose to amend current Sec.  270.6 for clarity, and to align these 
regulations with the limitations on developing curriculum that apply to 
other technical assistance centers, such as the Comprehensive Centers. 
Consistent with the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 
1232(a), we cannot and do not authorize centers to exercise direction 
or control over the curriculum. As currently drafted, Sec.  270.6(b) 
could be misconstrued to permit the development or implementation of 
activities for direct instruction; removing this provision will ensure 
clarity. Moreover, this approach is similar to that taken in the most 
recent notice of final requirements, priorities, and selection criteria 
for the Comprehensive Centers Program published in the Federal Register 
on June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33573). In that notice, we included a reminder 
that an applicant could not meet the program requirements by proposing 
a technical assistance plan that included designing or developing 
curricula or instructional materials for use in classrooms.
    Finally, the proposed regulations would remove 34 CFR part 271, and 
merge current parts 270 and 272 into a single part under proposed 34 
CFR part 270. The current regulations for the Desegregation of Public 
Education Programs under 34 CFR part 270 govern both the SEA Program 
and the EAC Program. The current regulations for part 272 govern the 
EAC program. The current regulations for part 271 govern the SEA 
program. We propose to remove 34 CFR part 271 (and any references to 
part 271 in current parts 270 and 272), because the SEA Program has not 
received funding in two decades and is no longer administered by the 
Department. As the only program currently administered under the 
Desegregation of Public Education Programs is the EAC Program, we 
propose to move sections in current part 272 into part 270 so that 
there is a single part governing the EAC program. As a result of 
merging parts 270 and 272, we would reorder the sections within 
proposed part 270. Additionally, we propose to remove current sections 
Sec. Sec.  270.1 (desegregation of public education programs), 270.4 
(types of projects funded by the desegregation of public education 
programs), 272.3 (applicable regulations), and 272.4 (definitions), as 
these sections would become redundant with the merger.

   Table Demonstrating How the Current Regulations Would Be Renumbered
                     Under the Proposed Regulations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Current section          Proposed section   Substantive changes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
270.1.........................  (removed)........  N/A.
270.2.........................  270.6............  None.
270.3.........................  270.7............  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    update certain
                                                    definitions
                                                    applicable to this
                                                    program including
                                                    adding a new
                                                    definition of
                                                    religion
                                                    desegregation.
270.4.........................  (removed)........  N/A.
270.5.........................  270.31...........  None.
270.6.........................  270.32...........  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    revise the
                                                    prohibition against
                                                    providing materials
                                                    for the direct
                                                    instruction of
                                                    students and remove
                                                    the exception under
                                                    current 270.6(b).
Part 271......................  (removed)........  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    remove the
                                                    regulations for the
                                                    SEA program, which
                                                    is no longer funded.
272.1.........................  270.1............  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    update program name
                                                    to Equity Assistance
                                                    Centers.
272.2.........................  270.2............  None.
272.3.........................  (removed)........  N/A.
272.4.........................  (removed)........  N/A.
272.10........................  270.4............  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    add ``community
                                                    organizations'' to
                                                    the list of parties
                                                    that may receive
                                                    desegregation
                                                    assistance under
                                                    this program.
272.11........................  270.3............  None.
272.12........................  270.5............  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    revise the number of
                                                    geographic regions
                                                    served by the EACs.
272.30........................  (removed)........  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    remove the existing
                                                    selection criteria.
272.31........................  270.20...........  None.
272.32........................  270.21...........  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    replace ``expected
                                                    need'' with
                                                    ``evidence
                                                    supporting the
                                                    magnitude of the
                                                    demonstrated need''
                                                    as it relates to the
                                                    Secretary's
                                                    determination of the
                                                    amount of a grant.
272.40........................  270.30...........  The proposed
                                                    regulations would
                                                    broaden EAC
                                                    coordination of
                                                    technical assistance
                                                    to include
                                                    ``Comprehensive
                                                    Centers, Regional
                                                    Educational
                                                    Laboratories, and
                                                    other Federal
                                                    technical assistance
                                                    centers.''
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 15668]]

Significant Proposed Regulations

    We discuss substantive issues under the sections of the proposed 
regulations to which they pertain. Generally, we do not address 
proposed regulatory changes that are technical or otherwise minor in 
effect.

PART 270--DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

Section 270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program?

    Statute: Under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 
2000c-2000c-2 and 2000c-5, the Secretary is authorized, upon the 
application of any school board, State, municipality, school district, 
or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public 
school or schools, to render technical assistance to such applicant in 
the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the 
desegregation of public schools.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  270.1 refers to the 
``Desegregation of Public Education programs,'' which includes both the 
SEA Program and the DAC Program.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to replace this section with the 
language of current Sec.  272.1; in addition, we propose to change the 
name of the centers from Desegregation Assistance Centers (DACs) to 
Equity Assistance Centers. Our proposed regulations would also remove 
the reference to the SEA Program.
    Reasons: When first implemented, the Desegregation of Public 
Education Programs under 34 CFR part 270 covered both the SEA Program 
(current part 271) and the DAC Program (current part 272). The SEA 
Program under current part 271 has not received funding since 1995 and 
is not currently administered by the Department. Therefore, we propose 
to remove all regulations for this program.
    We propose to change the name from Desegregation Assistance Centers 
to Equity Assistance Centers because the term ``equity'' better 
reflects the breadth of the types of desegregation issues faced in 
schools now, as students from different backgrounds and experiences are 
brought together. Ultimately, the purpose of the regional centers is to 
ensure access to educational opportunities for all students without 
regard to their race, sex, national origin, or religion. In the 21st 
century, issues related to desegregation include harassment, school 
climate, resource equity gaps, discrimination, and instructional 
practices designed to reach all students. The Department has for some 
time referred to the regional assistance centers as ``Equity Assistance 
Centers'' in the notices inviting applications, in cooperative 
agreements, and on OESE's Web page for the grant program. The majority 
of the current regional centers refer to themselves as ``Equity 
Centers'' or ``Equity Assistance Centers.'' Therefore, we believe it is 
appropriate to formally refer to the regional centers as ``Equity 
Assistance Centers.''

Section 270.2 Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program?

    Statute: Section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 
states that the Secretary may render technical assistance upon the 
application of any school board, State, municipality, school district, 
or other governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public 
school or schools.
    Current Regulations: Under current Sec.  272.2, any public agency 
(other than an SEA or school board) or private, nonprofit organization 
is eligible to receive an EAC grant.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current Sec.  272.2 
(without any changes) to part 270 as Sec.  270.2.
    Reasons: We propose to move this section so that there is a single 
part covering the EAC program.

Section 270.3 Who may receive assistance under this program?

    Statute: Under section 403 of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 
1964, any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other 
governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or 
schools may, upon request, receive technical assistance. The Secretary 
has the authority to prescribe how the technical assistance is 
provided, i.e., through regional centers, and who the beneficiaries are 
of the technical assistance under this program in accordance with 20 
U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: The current regulation Sec.  272.11 states 
that a recipient of a grant under these parts, i.e., the regional 
centers, may provide assistance only if requested by a governmental 
unit legally responsible for operating a public school or schools 
located in its geographical service area. The regional centers are 
permitted to provide assistance to public school personnel and students 
enrolled in public schools, parents of those students, and other 
community members.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current Sec.  272.11 to 
part 270 as Sec.  270.3. We also propose to expand the list of 
beneficiaries who may receive technical assistance from the regional 
centers to include ``community organizations'' in addition to 
``community members.''
    Reasons: We propose to include community organizations within the 
list of beneficiaries who may receive assistance from the regional 
centers to clarify that all stakeholders with significant ties to 
public schools and students may assist in preparing, adopting, and 
implementing plans for the desegregation of public schools.

Section 270.4 What types of projects are authorized under this program?

    Statute: Section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 
authorizes the Secretary to provide for technical assistance to any 
school board, State, municipality, school district, or other 
governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or 
schools, upon request, by making available information regarding 
effective methods of coping with special educational problems 
occasioned by desegregation, and by making available the Department's 
personnel or other persons specially equipped to advise and assist in 
coping with such problems. The statute specifies that this technical 
assistance may include these actions ``among other activities.'' The 
Secretary has the authority to regulate other technical assistance 
activities that apply to the Equity Assistance Centers program under 20 
U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  272.10 states that the Secretary 
may award funds to DACs for projects offering technical assistance to 
governmental units legally responsible for operating a public school or 
schools, at their request, for assistance in the preparation, adoption, 
and implementation of desegregation plans. These projects must provide 
technical assistance in each of the following three areas of 
desegregation assistance: (1) Race, (2) sex, and (3) national origin. 
The section includes a non-exhaustive list of categories of 
desegregation assistance activities that are permissible under the 
statute, including training designed to improve the ability to 
effectively address special educational problems occasioned by 
desegregation, and identifies certain beneficiaries of such training.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to move current Sec.  272.10 to 
part 270 as Sec.  270.4 and to make the following changes in proposed 
Sec.  270.4. We propose to amend the reference to DACs in current Sec.  
272.10(a) to ``EACs.'' We also propose to add ``community 
organizations'' to the list of beneficiaries of desegregation technical 
assistance

[[Page 15669]]

activities in current Sec.  272.10(c)(3). Finally, we propose to update 
the number of desegregation assistance areas from ``all three'' in 
current Sec.  272.10(b) to ``all four.''
    Reasons: We propose to update all references to DACs to now refer 
to EACs, to be consistent with our change to describe the centers as 
``Equity Assistance Centers'' set forth in proposed Sec.  270.7. We 
propose to add ``community organizations'' to the list of beneficiaries 
of desegregation technical assistance activities because the Department 
believes that community organizations with substantive ties to a public 
school can be effective stakeholders in working with schools and other 
responsible governmental agencies on issues this program seeks to 
address. We propose to revise Sec.  272.10(b) to refer to four 
desegregation assistance areas, instead of three, to reflect the 
addition of religion desegregation to the existing desegregation 
assistance areas, as discussed in the explanation of proposed Sec.  
270.6.

Section 270.5 What geographic regions do the EACs serve?

    Statute: Under section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 
1964, the Secretary may render technical assistance upon application to 
any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other 
governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or 
schools. The statute does not prescribe the specific number of centers 
or geographic regions under the program. The Secretary has the 
authority to regulate the provision of technical assistance under 20 
U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  272.12 provides that the 
Secretary awards grants for desegregation assistance in ten geographic 
regions. The current regulations specify the States located within each 
of the ten geographic regions.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to eliminate the current 
requirement that EACs serve ten geographic regions and reduce the 
number of regional centers. The proposed regulations state that the 
Secretary would announce in the Federal Register the number of centers 
and regions to be covered for each competition and identify the 
criteria the Secretary considers when determining the number and 
boundaries of the geographic regions. Thus, the proposed regulations 
would allow the Secretary to choose the number of centers and the 
geographic composition of each center in any given grant cycle. The 
criteria the Secretary considers when determining the number and 
boundaries of the regions would include (1) size and diversity of the 
student population; (2) the number of LEAs; (3) the composition of 
urban, city, and rural LEAs; (4) the history of Equity Assistance 
Center and other Department technical assistance activities carried out 
in each geographic region; and (5) the amount of funding available for 
the competition. We also propose to move current Sec.  272.12 to 
proposed Sec.  270.5.
    Reasons: The proposed regulations would allow the Secretary to 
choose the number of centers and the geographic composition of each 
center in any given grant cycle, which would allow the Secretary to 
reduce the number of regional centers moving forward. The proposed 
regulations identify criteria the Secretary considers when determining 
the number and boundaries of geographic regions for a given grant year, 
which are designed to provide a variety of criteria the Secretary would 
use to determine the demand and underlying needs of each geographic 
region.
    This proposed change would allow the Secretary the flexibility to 
consider the amount of available funding for the EAC program and 
distribute it among an appropriate number of geographic regions. Since 
the Department was created, the amount of funding for the EAC program 
has dropped significantly, from $45 million in FY 1980 (for all 
Desegregation of Public Education programs) to $6.6 million in FY 2016 
for EAC grants. In developing the proposed regulations for this 
section, the Department reasoned that limiting the number of centers 
may be appropriate at times to reduce overhead costs and to ensure that 
a greater percentage of funds are used to directly serve beneficiaries. 
We also believe this change would improve each individual center's 
capacity to carry out robust technical assistance. Consolidating the 
number of regional centers would also help the Department to award 
grants to the highest-quality applications in future grant cycles.
    The proposed regulations would enable the centers to operate in the 
most effective and efficient manner by limiting the duplication of 
effort for overhead costs and redirecting those funds to technical 
assistance. In addition, providing each center with more resources 
would help each individual center attract and retain the highest-
quality experts in the field. Similarly, flexibility to determine the 
boundaries of geographic regions may enable more effective responses to 
new or emerging issues in the field by allowing the Secretary to create 
geographic regions based on areas facing similar issues. Furthermore, 
the capabilities of technology have changed dramatically since this 
program's enactment; the Internet now allows EACs to provide effective 
and coordinated technical assistance across much greater geographic 
distances than would have been possible when the current regulations 
were promulgated in 1987. Finally, allowing the Secretary to establish 
the number of regional centers for each competition will allow the 
Department to try different numbers to reach the optimal number of 
regional centers, without undergoing rulemaking each time it is 
necessary to alter the regions served under this program.

Section 270.6 What definitions apply to this program?

    Statute: Under section 401 of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 
1964, the terms ``Secretary,'' ``Desegregation,'' ``Public school,'' 
and ``School board'' are defined. The Secretary has the authority to 
define through regulation other terms that apply to the Equity 
Assistance Centers program under 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  270.3 defines key terms used by 
the Department in administering the program. Under the current 
regulations:
     ``Desegregation assistance'' means the provision of 
technical assistance (including training) in the areas of race, sex, 
and national origin desegregation of public elementary and secondary 
schools.
     ``Desegregation assistance areas'' means the areas of 
race, sex, and national origin desegregation.
     ``Desegregation Assistance Center'' means a regional 
desegregation technical assistance and training center funded under 34 
CFR part 272.
     ``Limited English proficiency'' has the same meaning under 
this part as the same term defined in 34 CFR 500.4 of the General 
Provisions regulations for the Bilingual Education Program.
     ``National origin desegregation'' means the assignment of 
students to public schools and within those schools without regard to 
their national origin, including providing students of limited English 
proficiency with a full opportunity for participation in all 
educational programs.
     ``Race desegregation'' means the assignment of students to 
public schools and within those schools without regard to their race 
including providing students with a full opportunity for participation 
in all educational programs regardless of their race. ``Race 
desegregation'' does not mean the assignment of students to public 
schools

[[Page 15670]]

to correct conditions of racial separation that are not the result of 
State or local law or official action.
     ``Sex desegregation'' means the assignment of students to 
public schools and within those schools without regard to their sex 
including providing students with a full opportunity for participation 
in all educational programs regardless of their sex.
    Proposed Regulations: First, we propose to change the name from 
``Desegregation Assistance Center'' to ``Equity Assistance Center.'' 
``Equity Assistance Center'' would be defined as a regional 
desegregation technical assistance and training center funded under 
this part. Second, we propose to clarify and update the definition of 
``sex desegregation'' to explain that sex desegregation includes 
desegregation based on transgender status, gender identity, sex 
stereotypes, and pregnancy and related conditions. Third, we propose to 
add religion desegregation to the definition of ``desegregation 
assistance'' and the ``desegregation assistance areas,'' and to define 
``religion desegregation'' in this section. Fourth, we propose to 
replace the current definition of ``limited English proficiency (LEP)'' 
with the definition of ``English learner'' under section 8101(20) of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended 
by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Public Law 114-95 (2015) (ESSA), and 
make conforming changes to the definition of ``national origin 
discrimination'' including replacing the reference to students of 
``limited English .proficiency'' to ``English learner'' students. 
Fifth, we propose to add a definition of ``special educational problems 
occasioned by desegregation'' to clarify this term. We would also move 
current Sec.  270.3 to proposed Sec.  270.7.
    Reasons: In the definitions we propose to change the name of the 
centers from ``Desegregation Assistance Centers'' to ``Equity 
Assistance Centers'' for the reasons discussed under proposed Sec.  
270.1.
    We propose to update the definition of ``sex desegregation'' to 
clarify the protected individuals identified by this term. We propose 
to clarify that ``sex desegregation'' includes the treatment of 
students on the basis of pregnancy and related conditions, which 
include childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and 
recovery therefrom, consistent with Title IX of the Education 
Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 (Title IX) and its implementing 
regulations at 34 CFR 106.40. We also propose to clarify that ``sex 
desegregation'' includes the treatment of students without regard to 
sex stereotypes, or their transgender status or gender identity, to 
highlight some emerging issues for which EACs may provide technical 
assistance in this area. This change reflects the Supreme Court's 
reasoning that discrimination based on ``sex'' includes differential 
treatment based on any ``sex-based conditions,'' Price Waterhouse v. 
Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 242 (1989) (case decided under Title VII of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), and subsequent 
court decisions recognizing that the prohibitions on sex discrimination 
protect transgender individuals from discrimination. See e.g., Glenn v. 
Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2011); Smith v. City of Salem, 378 
F.3d 566 (6th Cir. 2004); Schwenk v. Hartford, 204 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 
2000). The change also aligns with our Office for Civil Rights' 
interpretation of the prohibition of sex discrimination in Title IX and 
its regulations as reflected in its ``Questions and Answers on Title IX 
and Sexual Violence'' (Apr. 29, 2014), www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/qa-201404-title-ix.pdf; ``Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex 
Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities'' (Dec. 
1, 2014), www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/faqs-title-ix-single-sex-201412.pdf; and 
``Title IX Resource Guide'' (Apr. 24, 2015), www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/dcl-title-ix-coordinators-guide-201504.pdf. The Department interprets ``sex 
discrimination'' under Title IX and its regulations in a similar 
manner. See amicus brief filed in G.G v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd., 
No. 15-2056 (4th Cir.), available at www.justice.gov/crt/case-document/gg-v-gloucester-county-school-board-brief-amicus. These interpretations 
of Title IX and its regulations are particularly relevant to the 
meaning of ``sex'' under Title IV because Congress's 1972 amendment to 
Title IV to add sex as an appropriate desegregation assistance area was 
included in Title IX of the Education Amendments. This change is also 
consistent with other Federal agencies' recent regulatory proposals to 
codify similar interpretations of sex discrimination, including 
treatment of students without regard to transgender status, gender 
identity, or sex stereotypes (such as treating a person differently 
because he or she does not conform to sex-role expectations by being in 
a relationship with a person of the same sex). 80 FR 5246, 5277, 5279 
(Jan. 30, 2015) (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, 
Department of Labor; proposed 41 CFR 60-20.2(a) and 60-20.7); 80 FR 
54172, 54216-217 (Sept. 8, 2015) (Office for Civil Rights, Department 
of Health and Human Services; proposed 41 CFR 92.4); 81 FR 4494, 4550 
(Jan. 26, 2016) (Office of the Secretary, Department of Labor; proposed 
29 CFR 38.7). Thus, the proposed definition would more accurately 
reflect the Office for Civil Rights' and the Department's 
interpretation of Title IX and its regulations, our existing practices 
regarding sex desegregation and equity, and would be consistent with 
the interpretations and rulemakings of other Federal agencies.
    We propose to add a definition of ``religion desegregation,'' and 
to incorporate religion into the definitions of ``desegregation 
assistance'' and ``desegregation assistance areas.'' Sections 401 and 
403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorize the Secretary 
to render technical assistance to support the desegregation of public 
schools and the assignment of students to schools without regard to 
religion. While the current regulations do not address religion 
desegregation, the Secretary's authority to render technical assistance 
for the desegregation of public schools is clear under sections 401 and 
403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and desegregation is 
therein defined to include the assignment of students to public schools 
and within such schools without regard to their religion. Given the 
increasing religious diversity in the United States, and the increased 
tension that has developed in many of our schools related to a 
student's actual or perceived religion, the Department believes it 
would be beneficial to provide resources for schools to assist in 
developing effective strategies to ensure all students have a full 
opportunity to participate in educational programs, regardless of 
religion. Further, adding religion desegregation to the desegregation 
assistance areas will allow the Department to build upon and support 
the work of the United States Department of Justice under Title IV to 
ensure compliance with Federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the 
basis of religion.
    We propose to amend the current definition of ``limited English 
proficiency (LEP)'' so that this term is identical to, and has the same 
meaning as, ``English Learner'' under ESEA section 8101(20), as the 
statutory definition reflects the Department's current understanding of 
this target population. We also propose to amend the definition of 
``national origin desegregation'' to clarify that this term includes 
providing students who are English learners with a full opportunity for 
participation in all educational

[[Page 15671]]

programs ``regardless of their national origin.''
    Lastly, we propose to add a definition of ``special educational 
problems occasioned by desegregation.'' This phrase is included within 
the statute and regulations, but could be confused with requirements to 
provide special education and related services under IDEA. The new 
definition clarifies the distinction between the term ``special 
educational problems occasioned by desegregation'' under Title IV and 
``special education and related services'' under the IDEA. Under this 
proposed definition, children with disabilities or staff providing 
services to them would not be precluded from being potential 
beneficiaries of technical assistance if they are affected by 
desegregation efforts.

Section 270.20 How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a 
grant?

    Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not address 
how the Secretary evaluates an application for a grant under these 
programs, and the Secretary has the authority to regulate these 
requirements under 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  272.31 provides that the 
Secretary evaluates the application on the basis of all of the 
selection criteria in Sec.  272.30. The Secretary cannot pick and 
choose from the selection criteria. These selection criteria include 
mission and strategy, organizational capacity, plan of operation, 
quality of key personnel, budget and cost effectiveness, evaluation 
plan, and adequacy of resources. The Secretary then selects the highest 
ranking application for each geographical service area to receive a 
grant.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to remove the program specific 
selection criteria and the associated point values in current Sec.  
272.30. We propose to amend current Sec.  272.31(a) to state that the 
Secretary evaluates applications on the basis of criteria in 34 CFR 
75.210, and may select from among the list of factors under each 
criterion in 34 CFR 75.210. We also propose to move current Sec.  
272.31 to proposed part 270, as Sec.  270.20.
    Reasons: We propose to remove the selection criteria and the 
associated point values in current Sec.  272.30, and revise current 
Sec.  272.31, to provide the Secretary with greater flexibility in 
identifying the most relevant factors for each grant competition.
    Under current Sec.  272.30, the Secretary is required to use all of 
the established selection criteria and the associated point values for 
each competition. As a result, the Secretary has no flexibility to 
adjust the selection criteria in accordance with the needs of the 
program at the time of each competition. The current selection criteria 
also limit the opportunities to improve the selection process, based 
upon experience gained in running the program.
    Using the general selection criteria listed in 34 CFR 75.210 would 
ensure that the program selection process can be refined over time, 
based upon the needs and concerns identified at the time of each 
competition. The general selection criteria have been vetted and tested 
across many Departmental programs, and provide a wide range of factors 
for evaluating applications in any competition.
    Substantively, there is significant overlap between current Sec.  
272.30 and the general selection criteria of 34 CFR 75.210, which would 
allow the Secretary to continue to use some similar elements of the 
selection criteria, if those elements are deemed the most appropriate 
choices for ensuring high-quality applicants.
    Similarly, allowing the Secretary to identify the point values for 
each selection criterion at the time of the competition would allow the 
Secretary to hone the selection process over time. The Secretary will 
have the flexibility to weight more heavily those selection criteria 
determined to be most important in identifying effective centers.
    Finally, this change will bring the EAC regulations into alignment 
with many other Departmental regulations for discretionary grant 
programs.

Section 270.21 How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant?

    Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is silent about 
how the Secretary may determine the amount of each grant. The Secretary 
has the authority to regulate this issue under 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 
3474.
    Current Regulations: Under current Sec.  272.32, the Secretary 
determines the amount of an EAC grant award on the basis of the amount 
of funds available under this part. The Secretary also conducts a cost 
analysis of the project. The Secretary considers the magnitude of the 
expected needs of responsible governmental agencies for desegregation 
assistance in the geographic region, as well as the costs required to 
meet the expected needs. Further, under current Sec.  272.32(d), the 
Secretary considers the size and racial or ethnic diversity of the 
student population of the geographic region. Finally, the Secretary 
considers any other information concerning desegregation problems and 
proposed activities that the Secretary finds relevant in the 
applicant's geographic region.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to amend current Sec.  272.32(c) 
to consider the ``evidence supporting the magnitude of the demonstrated 
need of the responsible governmental agencies for desegregation 
assistance,'' instead of ``expected need.'' We propose to update 
current Sec.  272.32(d) to replace the reference to ``the DAC'' with 
``the EAC.'' We also propose to move current Sec.  272.32 to part 270, 
as proposed Sec.  270.21.
    Reasons: We propose that the Secretary determines the amount of a 
grant on the basis of ``evidence supporting the magnitude of the 
demonstrated need'' rather than ``expected need'' to encourage 
applicants to support their stated needs with data demonstrating the 
technical assistance needs of the geographic region.
    An approach to technical assistance informed by data and evidence 
would promote comprehensive and preventative policies to combat 
segregation. Encouraging applicants to analyze needs of their 
geographic regions during the application process will jumpstart these 
efforts. Finally, a data-driven approach to geographic need will help 
potential applicants anticipate the future needs of their regions and 
make better use of existing resources.

Section 270.30 What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant?

    Statute: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is silent about 
the conditions that must be met by a recipient. The Secretary has the 
authority to regulate on this issue under 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Pursuant to current Sec.  272.40, a recipient 
of EAC grant funds must operate an EAC in the geographic region to be 
served and have a full-time project director. The EAC must also 
coordinate assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs 
funded under 34 CFR part 271.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to replace all references to 
``DAC'' or ``DACs'' with ``EAC'' or ``EACs.'' We also propose to amend 
current Sec.  272.40(c) to state that a recipient of a grant under this 
part must coordinate assistance in its geographic region with 
appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational 
Laboratories, and other Federal technical assistance centers. As part 
of this coordination, the recipient would seek to prevent duplication 
of assistance where an SEA, Comprehensive Center,

[[Page 15672]]

or Regional Educational Laboratory may have already provided assistance 
to the responsible governmental agency. Finally, we propose to move 
current Sec.  272.40 to part 270, as proposed Sec.  270.30.
    Reasons: The Department is proposing to replace all reference to 
DACs with the equivalent reference to EACs to reflect the proposal to 
change the term to Equity Assistance Centers.
    Proposed Sec.  270.30(c) would specify that a recipient of a grant 
under this part must coordinate assistance in its geographic region 
with appropriate SEAs, Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational 
Laboratories and other Federal technical assistance centers. This 
change is meant to reflect two important updates: First, the EACs would 
not be required to coordinate with SEAs funded under the SEA program, 
because the SEA Program no longer exists and no SEAs are funded under 
this program. Second, the proposed regulations would highlight the 
centers' responsibilities to work with a variety of stakeholders by 
noting that they ``must coordinate'' with appropriate SEAs, 
Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other 
Federal technical assistance centers. We propose to promote this 
coordination to prevent technical assistance centers from duplicating 
work and to encourage technical assistance centers to share expertise 
regarding equity and desegregation issues.

Section 270.32 What limitation is imposed on providing Equity 
Assistance under this program?

    Statute: Under section 403 of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 
1964, the Secretary may render technical assistance upon application to 
any school board, State, municipality, school district, or other 
governmental unit legally responsible for operating a public school or 
schools. The Secretary has the authority to regulate the provision of 
technical assistance under 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474.
    Current Regulations: Current Sec.  270.6(a) states that a recipient 
of a grant for race or national origin desegregation assistance may not 
use funds to assist in the development or implementation of activities 
or the development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction 
of students to improve their academic and vocational achievement 
levels. However, current Sec.  270.6(b) provides that a recipient of a 
grant for national origin desegregation assistance may use funds to 
assist in the development and implementation of activities or the 
development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of 
students of limited English proficiency, to afford these students a 
full opportunity to participate in all educational programs.
    Proposed Regulations: We propose to remove current Sec.  270.6(b) 
in its entirety. We also propose to amend current Sec.  270.6(a) to 
simply state that a recipient of a grant under this program may not use 
funds to assist in the development or implementation of activities or 
the development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of 
students to improve their academic and vocational achievement levels.
    Reasons: We propose to clarify that the prohibition on the 
development of curriculum materials for direct instruction applies to 
technical assistance activities under this program. Consistent with the 
General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(a), we cannot 
and do not authorize centers to exercise direction or control over the 
curriculum. As currently drafted, these provisions could be 
misconstrued to permit the development or implementation of activities 
for direct instruction; removing the provisions will ensure clarity. 
Moreover, this approach is similar to that taken in the most recent 
notice of final priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for 
the Comprehensive Centers Program published in the Federal Register on 
June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33573). In that notice, we stated that an applicant 
could not meet the program requirements by proposing a technical 
assistance plan that included designing or developing curricula or 
instructional materials for use in classrooms. Finally, we have removed 
the limitation under current Sec.  270.6(a) that these regulations only 
apply to grants ``for race or national origin desegregation 
assistance'' because the limitations on curriculum development under 
GEPA 1232(a) apply to all technical assistance activities under this 
program. Thus, the proposed changes align these regulations with the 
statutory limitations on developing curriculum that apply to other 
technical assistance centers.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This proposed regulatory action is a significant regulatory action 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.
    We have also reviewed these regulations under Executive Order 
13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of

[[Page 15673]]

Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing these proposed regulations only on a reasoned 
determination that their benefits would justify their costs. In 
choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those 
approaches that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that 
follows, the Department believes that these proposed regulations are 
consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action would not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has 
assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and 
qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated 
with this regulatory action are those resulting from statutory 
requirements and those we have determined as necessary for 
administering the Department's programs and activities.
    Discussion of Costs and Benefits: We have determined that the 
potential costs associated with this regulatory action would be minimal 
while the potential benefits are significant.
    For Equity Assistance Center grants, applicants may anticipate 
costs in developing their applications. Application, submission, and 
participation in a competitive discretionary grant program are 
voluntary. The proposed regulations would create flexibility for us to 
use general selection criteria listed in EDGAR 75.210. We believe that 
any criterion from EDGAR 75.210 that would be used in a future grant 
competition would not impose a financial burden that applicants would 
not otherwise incur in the development and submission of a grant 
application. Other losses may stem from the reduction of the number of 
regional centers for those applicants that do not receive a grant in 
future funding years, including the costs of eliminating those centers 
and associated job losses.
    Notably, we do not believe that reducing the number of regions 
would prevent EACs from providing technical assistance to beneficiaries 
across the country. Technological advancements allow EACs to provide 
effective and coordinated technical assistance across much greater 
geographic distances than when the current regulations were promulgated 
in 1987.
    The benefits include enhancing project design and quality of 
services to better meet the statutory objectives of the programs. These 
proposed changes would also allow more funds to be used directly for 
providing technical assistance to responsible governmental agencies for 
their work in equity and desegregation by reducing the amount of funds 
directed to overhead costs. The proposed flexibility of the geographic 
regions would increase the Department's ability to be strategic with 
limited resources. In addition, these changes would result in each 
center receiving a greater percentage of the overall funds for the 
program, and this greater percentage and amount of funds for each 
selected applicant would help to incentivize a greater diversity of 
applicants.
    In addition, the Secretary believes that students covered under sex 
desegregation and religion desegregation would strongly benefit from 
the proposed regulations. The revised definition of ``sex 
desegregation'' would eliminate lost opportunities for assistance by 
providing clarification regarding the scope of issues covered under sex 
desegregation, thus removing any confusion for EACs and the 
beneficiaries they serve as to which parties are entitled to assistance 
under this term. For religion desegregation, grantees would need to 
provide technical assistance to responsible governmental agencies 
seeking assistance on this subject, but the costs associated with these 
new technical assistance activities would be covered by program funds.
    Elsewhere in this section under Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we 
identify and explain burdens specifically associated with information 
collection requirements.

Clarity of the Regulations

    Executive Order 12866 and the Presidential memorandum ``Plain 
Language in Government Writing'' require each agency to write 
regulations that are easy to understand.
    The Secretary invites comments on how to make these proposed 
regulations easier to understand, including answers to questions such 
as the following:
     Are the requirements in the proposed regulations clearly 
stated?
     Do the proposed regulations contain technical terms or 
other wording that interferes with their clarity?
     Does the format of the proposed regulations (grouping and 
order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce 
their clarity?
     Would the proposed regulations be easier to understand if 
we divided them into more (but shorter) sections? (A ``section'' is 
preceded by the symbol ``Sec.  '' and a numbered heading; for example, 
Sec.  270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program?)
     Could the description of the proposed regulations in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this preamble be more helpful in 
making the proposed regulations easier to understand? If so, how?
     What else could we do to make the proposed regulations 
easier to understand?
    To send any comments that concern how the Department could make 
these proposed regulations easier to understand, see the instructions 
in the ADDRESSES section.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that these proposed regulations would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards define 
institutions as ``small entities'' if they are for-profit or nonprofit 
institutions with total annual revenue below $15,000,000, and defines 
``non-profit institutions'' as small organizations if they are 
independently owned and operated and not dominant in their field of 
operation, or as small entities if they are institutions controlled by 
governmental entities with populations below 50,000. The Secretary 
invites comments from small entities as to whether they believe the 
proposed changes would have a significant economic impact on them and, 
if so, requests evidence to support that belief. The Secretary believes 
that the small entities which will be primarily affected by these 
regulations are public agencies and private, nonprofit organizations 
that would be eligible to receive a grant under this program. However, 
the Secretary believes that the proposed regulations would not have a 
significant economic impact on these small entities because the 
regulations do not impose excessive regulatory burdens or require 
unnecessary Federal supervision, and will not affect the current status 
quo for the burden imposed on these small entities under existing 
regulations. However, the Secretary specifically invites comments on 
the effects of the proposed regulations on small entities, and on 
whether there may be further opportunities to reduce any potential 
adverse impact or increase potential benefits resulting from these 
proposed regulations without impeding the effective and efficient 
administration of

[[Page 15674]]

the Equity Assistance Center grant program.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    These proposed regulations do not contain any information 
collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for these programs.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.004D)

List of Subjects in 34 CFR Parts 270, 271, and 272

    Elementary and secondary education, Equal educational opportunity, 
Grant programs--education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: March 17, 2016.
Ann Whalen,
Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Delegated the Duties of Assistant 
Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, and under the authority 
of 20 U.S.C. 3474, the Secretary of Education proposes to amend parts 
270, 271, and 272 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations as 
follows:

0
1. Part 270 is revised to read as follows:

PART 270-- EQUITY ASSISTANCE CENTER PROGRAM

Subpart A--General
Sec.
270.1 What is the Equity Assistance Center Program?
270.2 Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program?
270.3 Who may receive assistance under this program?
270.4 What types of projects are authorized under this program?
270.5 What geographic regions do the EACs serve?
270.6 What regulations apply to this program?
270.7 What definitions apply to this program?
Subpart B--[RESERVED]
Subpart C--How Does the Secretary Award a Grant?
Sec.
270.20 How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a grant?
270.21 How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant?
Subpart D--What Conditions Must I Meet After I Receive a Grant?
Sec.
270.30 What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant?
270.31 What stipends and related reimbursements are authorized under 
this program?
270.32 What limitation is imposed on providing Equity Assistance 
under this program?

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 2000c-2000c-2, 2000c-5, unless otherwise 
noted.

PART 270--EQUITY ASSISTANCE CENTER PROGRAM

Subpart A--General


Sec.  270.1  What is the Equity Assistance Center Program?

    This program provides financial assistance to operate regional 
Equity Assistance Centers (EACs), to enable them to provide technical 
assistance (including training) at the request of school boards and 
other responsible governmental agencies in the preparation, adoption, 
and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools, 
and in the development of effective methods of coping with special 
educational problems occasioned by desegregation.


Sec.  270.2  Who is eligible to receive a grant under this program?

    A public agency (other than a State educational agency or a school 
board) or private, nonprofit organization is eligible to receive a 
grant under this program.


Sec.  270.3  Who may receive assistance under this program?

    (a) The recipient of a grant under this part may provide assistance 
only if requested by school boards or other responsible governmental 
agencies located in its geographic region.
    (b) The recipient may provide assistance only to the following 
persons:
    (1) Public school personnel.
    (2) Students enrolled in public schools, parents of those students, 
community organizations and other community members.


Sec.  270.4  What types of projects are authorized under this program?

    (a) The Secretary may award funds to EACs for projects offering 
technical assistance (including training) to school boards and other 
responsible governmental agencies, at their request, for assistance in 
the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the 
desegregation of public schools.
    (b) A project must provide technical assistance in all four of the 
desegregation assistance areas, as defined in Sec.  270.7.
    (c) Desegregation assistance may include, among other activities:
    (1) Dissemination of information regarding effective methods of 
coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation;
    (2) Assistance and advice in coping with these problems; and
    (3) Training designed to improve the ability of teachers, 
supervisors, counselors, parents, community members, community 
organizations, and other elementary or secondary school personnel to 
deal effectively with special educational problems occasioned by 
desegregation.


Sec.  270.5  What geographic regions do the EACs serve?

    (a) The Secretary awards a grant to provide race, sex, national 
origin, and religion desegregation assistance under this program to 
regional Equity Assistance Centers serving designated geographic 
regions.
    (b) The Secretary announces in the Federal Register the number of 
centers and geographic regions for each competition.
    (c) The Secretary determines the number and boundaries of each 
geographic region for each competition

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on the basis of one or more of the following:
    (1) Size and diversity of the student population;
    (2) The number of LEAs;
    (3) The composition of urban, city, and rural LEAs;
    (4) The history of the Equity Assistance Center technical 
assistance activities, and other Department technical assistance 
activities, carried out in each geographic region; and
    (5) The amount of funding available for the competition.


Sec.  270.6  What regulations apply to this program?

    The following regulations apply to this program:
    (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations 
(EDGAR) in 34 CFR part 75 (Direct Grant Programs), part 77 (Definitions 
That Apply to Department Regulations), part 79 (Intergovernmental 
Review of Department of Education Programs and Activities), and part 81 
(General Education Provisions Act--Enforcement), except that 34 CFR 
75.232 (relating to the cost analysis) does not apply to grants under 
this program.
    (b) The regulations in this part.
    (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and 
Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted in 
2 CFR part 3474 and the OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide 
Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted 
in 2 CFR part 3485.


Sec.  270.7  What definitions apply to this program?

    In addition to the definitions in 34 CFR 77.1, the following 
definitions apply to the regulations in this part:
    Desegregation assistance means the provision of technical 
assistance (including training) in the areas of race, sex, national 
origin and religion desegregation of public elementary and secondary 
schools.
    Desegregation assistance areas means the areas of race, sex, 
national origin and religion desegregation.
    Equity Assistance Center means a regional desegregation technical 
assistance and training center funded under this part.
    English learner has the same meaning under this part as the same 
term defined in section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act, as amended.

(Authority: Section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, 
Pub. L. 114-95 (2015) (ESSA))

    National origin desegregation means the assignment of students to 
public schools and within those schools without regard to their 
national origin, including providing students such as those who are 
English learners with a full opportunity for participation in all 
educational programs regardless of their national origin.
    Public school means any elementary or secondary educational 
institution operated by a State, subdivision of a State, or 
governmental agency within a State, or operated wholly or predominantly 
from or through the use of governmental funds or property, or funds or 
property derived from governmental sources.
    Public school personnel means school board members and persons who 
are employed by or who work in the schools of a responsible 
governmental agency, as that term is defined in this section.
    Race desegregation means the assignment of students to public 
schools and within those schools without regard to their race, 
including providing students with a full opportunity for participation 
in all educational programs regardless of their race. ``Race 
desegregation'' does not mean the assignment of students to public 
schools to correct conditions of racial separation that are not the 
result of State or local law or official action.
    Religion desegregation means the assignment of students to public 
schools and within those schools without regard to their religion, 
including providing students with a full opportunity for participation 
in all educational programs regardless of their religion.
    Responsible governmental agency means any school board, State, 
municipality, school district, or other governmental unit legally 
responsible for operating a public school or schools.
    School board means any agency or agencies that administer a system 
of one or more public schools and any other agency that is responsible 
for the assignment of students to or within that system.
    Sex desegregation means the assignment of students to public 
schools and within those schools without regard to their sex (including 
transgender status, gender identity, sex stereotypes, and pregnancy and 
related conditions), including providing students with a full 
opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of 
their sex.
    Special educational problems occasioned by desegregation means 
those issues that arise in classrooms, schools, and communities as a 
result of desegregation efforts based on race, national origin, sex, or 
religion. The phrase does not refer to the provision of special 
education and related services for students with disabilities as 
defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 
U.S.C. 1400 et seq.)

Subpart B--[Reserved]

Subpart C--How Does the Secretary Award a Grant?


Sec.  270.20  How does the Secretary evaluate an application for a 
grant?

    (a) The Secretary evaluates the application on the basis of the 
criteria in 34 CFR 75.210.
    (b) The Secretary selects the highest ranking application for each 
geographic region to receive a grant.


Sec.  270.21  How does the Secretary determine the amount of a grant?

    The Secretary determines the amount of a grant on the basis of:
    (a) The amount of funds available for all grants under this part;
    (b) A cost analysis of the project (that shows whether the 
applicant will achieve the objectives of the project with reasonable 
efficiency and economy under the budget in the application), by which 
the Secretary:
    (1) Verifies the cost data in the detailed budget for the project;
    (2) Evaluates specific elements of costs; and
    (3) Examines costs to determine if they are necessary, reasonable, 
and allowable under applicable statutes and regulations;
    (c) Evidence supporting the magnitude of the need of the 
responsible governmental agencies for desegregation assistance in the 
geographic region and the cost of providing that assistance to meet 
those needs, as compared with the evidence supporting the magnitude of 
the needs for desegregation assistance, and the cost of providing it, 
in all geographic regions for which applications are approved for 
funding;
    (d) The size and the racial, ethnic, or religious diversity of the 
student population of the geographic region for which the EAC will 
provide services; and
    (e) Any other information concerning desegregation problems and 
proposed activities that the Secretary finds relevant in the 
applicant's geographic region.

Subpart D--What Conditions Must I Meet After I Receive a Grant?


Sec.  270.30  What conditions must be met by a recipient of a grant?

    (a) A recipient of a grant under this part must:

[[Page 15676]]

    (1) Operate an EAC in the geographic region to be served; and
    (2) Have a full-time project director.
    (b) A recipient of a grant under this part must coordinate 
assistance in its geographic region with appropriate SEAs, 
Comprehensive Centers, Regional Educational Laboratories, and other 
Federal technical assistance centers. As part of this coordination, the 
recipient shall seek to prevent duplication of assistance where an SEA, 
Comprehensive Center, Regional Educational Laboratory, or other Federal 
technical assistance center may have already provided assistance to the 
responsible governmental agency.


Sec.  270.31  What stipends and related reimbursements are authorized 
under this program?

    (a) The recipient of an award under this program may pay:
    (1) Stipends to public school personnel who participate in 
technical assistance or training activities funded under this part for 
the period of their attendance, if the person to whom the stipend is 
paid receives no other compensation for that period; or
    (2) Reimbursement to a responsible governmental agency that pays 
substitutes for public school personnel who:
    (i) Participate in technical assistance or training activities 
funded under this part; and
    (ii) Are being compensated by that responsible governmental agency 
for the period of their attendance.
    (b) A recipient may pay the stipends and reimbursements described 
in this section only if it demonstrates that the payment of these costs 
is necessary to the success of the technical assistance or training 
activity, and will not exceed 20 percent of the total award.
    (c) If a recipient is authorized by the Secretary to pay stipends 
or reimbursements (or any combination of these payments), the recipient 
shall determine the conditions and rates for these payments in 
accordance with appropriate State policies, or in the absence of State 
policies, in accordance with local policies.
    (d) A recipient of a grant under this part may pay a travel 
allowance only to a person who participates in a technical assistance 
or training activity under this part.
    (e) If the participant does not complete the entire scheduled 
activity, the recipient may pay the participant's transportation to his 
or her residence or place of employment only if the participant left 
the training activity because of circumstances not reasonably within 
his or her control.


Sec.  270.32  What limitation is imposed on providing Equity Assistance 
under this program?

    A recipient of a grant under this program may not use funds to 
assist in the development or implementation of activities or the 
development of curriculum materials for the direct instruction of 
students to improve their academic and vocational achievement levels.

PART 271 [REMOVED AND RESERVED]

0
2. Part 271 is removed and reserved.

PART 272 [REMOVED AND RESERVED]

0
3. Part 272 is removed and reserved.

[FR Doc. 2016-06439 Filed 3-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P