Notice to Extend the Request for Comment on Draft Convening Report Regarding Negotiated Rulemaking and Bureau of Indian Affairs Funded School Facilities Repair, Renovation & Construction
The U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution gives notice that the comment period announced in the October 22, 2007 (72 FR 59556) on the draft convening report regarding Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-funded school facilities construction as identified in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB Act) will be extended to February 1, 2008. The draft report was prepared at the request of the DOI, BIA, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). Such a convening report is described generally in the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1996, Public Law 104-320, Section 563(b). As a neutral, independent federal program, the U.S. Institute and its impartial contractor team, Consensus Building Institute (CBI) conducted two-hundred (200) interviews of people with an interest in BIA-funded school facilities construction. The purpose of the interviews was to explore the opportunities for, and barriers to, using negotiated rulemaking to develop regulations implementing the requirements of the NCLB Act related to BIA-funded school facilities. The draft report covers school facility topics identified from the NCLB Act: Methods to catalog school facilities; Determining formulas for priority and funding for school replacement construction and new construction; Determining formulas for priority and funding for school renovation and repair; Facilities standards for home living (dormitory) situations. In the draft report, CBI identified several key themes from its interviews: There is a strong willingness to go forward with a negotiated rulemaking, as it is required by statute. Interviewees were supportive of negotiating to improve the fairness, efficiency and transparency of the funding formulas for all aspects of school facilities funding. There is a need to integrate the formal negotiation with less formal methods of consulting with the tribes who will not have seats at the table. CBI suggests a national workshop for all tribes with school facilities as part of the preparation for the negotiation process. This workshop could help identify options for the negotiating committee to work with. Representation of the tribes on the negotiating committee is required by the NCLB Act to be roughly proportional to the percent of students each tribe has in the system. For the majority of tribes (i.e. beyond the top eleven for student population), there will need to be a process for sharing seats or otherwise developing representation structures. The draft convening report may be accessed at: http:// www.cbuilding.org and at: http://www.ecr.gov. This notice invites interested individuals, organizations and governments to review and offer comments that focus on the findings and recommendations presented draft convening report.