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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Timeframe for Public Reporting About LEA Performance Public Reporting and Privacy (Sec. 300.602(b))

(originally published on December 1, 2008 – 73 FR 73006; effective date – December 31, 2008)

Comment: Several commenters requested that we change the public reporting timeline in proposed Sec. 300.602(b)(1)(i)(A). Some of these commenters argued that the Secretary does not have the statutory authority to establish a timeline and that meeting the timeline would be an excessive burden on States. Other commenters agreed with the concept of a timeline and offered suggestions as to what the timeline should be. Some commenters suggested that the regulations allow for State-determined timelines; others recommended timelines ranging from 90 to 120 days following a State's submission of its APR to the Secretary; still others recommended a 60 day timeline beginning with a State's receipt of its annual determination from the Secretary. Commenters stated that a State-determined timeline or a timeline triggered by the State's receipt of it annual determination from the Secretary would allow for a more careful analysis of individual LEA data, thereby ensuring more accurate public reporting on the performance of each LEA.

Discussion: Section 300.602(b)(1)(i)(A) implements section 616(b)(2)(C)(ii)(I) of the Act. Although the Act is silent on the timeline for public reporting, section 607(a) of the Act provides that the Secretary shall issue regulations to the extent that such regulations are necessary to ensure that there is compliance with specific requirements of the Act. We proposed a timeline for public reporting in the NPRM because there was uncertainty in the field about reporting requirements. Specifically, following the publication of the Part B regulations in 2006, the Department received many informal inquiries from SEA personnel and other interested parties regarding the timeline for reporting information to the public about LEAs' performance relative to its State's targets. It is still the Department's position, after consideration of the comments, that establishing a definitive timeline is necessary to ensure that each State provides timely information to the public.

We agree, however, with the commenters who suggested that an extended timeline would allow for more accurate analysis of LEA data, thereby improving the quality of information reported to the public and, ultimately, contributing to improved outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. Additionally, extending the timeline will reduce the burden associated with establishing a timeline for public reporting. Therefore, we have revised the timeline in Sec. 300.602(b)(1)(i)(A) to require a State to report annually on the performance of each LEA located in the State on the targets in the State's SPP as soon as practicable but no later than 120 days following the submission of its APR to the Secretary under Sec. 300.602(b)(2).

Changes: We have replaced the 60 day timeline in Sec. 300.602(b)(2) with the requirement that the State report on the performance of each LEA located in the State on the targets in the State's SPP as soon as practicable but no later than 120 days following the State's submission of its APR to the Secretary.

Comment: One commenter suggested that changes to Sec. 300.602 are not necessary and that issuing administrative guidance on public reporting requirements, including timelines, would be more appropriate.

Discussion: Public accountability is served by requiring States to make the documents referenced in Sec. 300.602(b)(1)(i)(B) available to the public within a specific timeframe. A regulation provides a degree of certainty on the timing of notice to the public that administrative guidance would not. We are aware that a number of States did not post public reports on LEA performance for FFY 2005 year by the time they submitted their APRs on FFY 2006. Therefore, regulatory action, rather than non-regulatory guidance is needed to ensure the proper and effective implementation of the requirements of Part B of the Act.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter noted that proposed Sec. 300.602(b)(1)(i)(B) differs from current Sec. 300.602(b) in that it refers to the State's Web site as opposed to the SEA's Web site. This commenter requested that the Department clarify whether the information must be posted on the SEA's or the State's Web site in instances where SEAs have Web sites that are separate from State government Web sites.

Discussion: We agree that the reference in the regulations should be to the SEA's Web site, rather than to the State's Web site, and have made this change.

Changes: Sections 300.602(b)(1)(i)(B) and 300.606 have been revised to require posting on the SEA's Web site, rather than the State Web site.

Comment: Another commenter requested that the Department clarify each State's obligation to make public any former reports on the performance of the LEAs within the State as well as the time frame when this information must be made available to the public.

Discussion: Neither the Act nor the regulations address the public posting of reports on the performance of the LEAs that were issued prior to the promulgation of these regulations. Posting historical documents related to the implementation of the IDEA on an SEA's Web site may be beneficial, but it is not required by the Act or the regulations implementing Part B of the Act. The decision to post historical documents and a timeline for posting these reports and notices would be most appropriately decided by each State.

Changes: None.