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TEA Correspondence

A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.

Waiver Availability

  


December 8, 2010

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT:        Request for Waiver Regarding Cycle 2 Texas Title I Priority Schools Grant Program
School Improvement Grant (SIG) Funds

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has released guidance on the opportunity for the state to request waivers applicable to Section 1003(g) School Improvement Grant funding.  This is to notify you of the state’s intent to apply for the waivers listed below on behalf of local education agencies (LEAs) with one or more Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III campuses selected for the Texas Title I Priority Schools, Cycle 2 grant program.  

Background
The Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS) grant program is funded with federal School Improvement Grant funds, authorized under section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Title I or ESEA).  These grants, through the Texas Education Agency (Agency) to LEAs, are for use in
Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources in order to raise substantially the achievement of their students so as to enable the schools to make adequate yearly progress and exit improvement status.  Under the final requirements published by USDE, these funds are to be focused on the State’s persistently lowest-achieving schools and other schools that meet the federal definition of eligibility.  Three tiers of schools will be identified by the agency for this grant program.  In the Tier I and Tier II schools an LEA chooses to serve, the LEA must implement one of four school intervention models:  turnaround model, restart model, school closure, or transformation model.  In Tier III schools an LEA chooses to serve, the LEA must implement either 1) one of the four school intervention models, 2) the Tier III Transformation model, 3) the Texas Early College High School model, 4)  the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) model, or 5) the Texas College for All initiative.

The applicable waivers would allow any eligible LEA that receives a TTIPS Cycle 2 grant for an eligible campus to use those funds in accordance with the final requirements for School Improvement Grants and the LEA’s application for a grant. 

The State believes that the following waivers will increase the quality of instruction for students and improve the academic achievement of students in Tier I, Tier II, Tier III schools by enabling an LEA to use more effectively the school improvement funds to implement one of the four school intervention models in its
schools.

Comment Period
Notice of the proposed waivers will be published in the Texas Register in the next few weeks.  However, you will be able to provide comments on these proposed waivers from December 8-15, 2010, by electronic mail to NCLBTTIPS@tea.state.tx.us or by facsimile to (512) 305-9447.

To the Administrator Addressed
December 8, 2010
Page 2

Waivers

  • Waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2009 school improvement funds for the State and all of its eligible LEAs to September 30, 2014.

This waiver would extend the “life” of the funds for an additional year.  This will allow the state to fund the initial grant award and three years of continuation grants to the LEAs on behalf of their eligible campuses.

  • A waiver of Section 1116(b)(12) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to allow their Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Title I participating schools that will fully implement a turnaround or restart model beginning in the 2011-2012 school year to “start over” in the school improvement timeline.

 An LEA will implement this waiver only if the LEA receives a School Improvement Grant and requests the waiver in its application as part of a plan to implement the turnaround or restart model beginning in 2011-2012 in a school that the Agency has approved it to serve. As such, the LEA may only implement the waiver in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools as applicable, included in its application.

  • A waiver of  the 40 percent poverty eligibility threshold in section 1114(a)(1) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to implement a schoolwide program in a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III Title I participating school that does not meet the poverty threshold and is fully implementing one of the four school intervention models.

 This waiver will permit an LEA to implement this waiver only if the LEA receives a School Improvement Grant and requests to implement the waiver in its application.  As such, the LEA may only implement the waiver in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, as applicable, included in its application.

 Once the agency reviews any comments received and makes any appropriate modifications, the comments will be submitted to USDE as part of the state’s application to receive the Cycle 2 school improvement funds.  When TEA receives USDE approval of the waiver requests, additional information will be provided to LEAs on the implementation of the waivers through the Request for Application associated with this grant program.

For additional information on the proposed waiver requests, please contact Dorothy White in the Division of NCLB Program Coordination at (512) 463-9374.

Sincerely,

 

Cory Green, Senior Director
Division of NCLB Program Coordination

 

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