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

State-level activities (Sec. 300.704)

Comment: One commenter suggested adding language in the regulations requiring public agencies to provide technical assistance to personnel in residential treatment facilities. The commenter stated that this assistance would help residential treatment facilities meet the requirements of FAPE for the children they serve.

Discussion: Section 300.704(a)(1), consistent with section 611(e)(1) of the Act, allows, but does not require, States to use funds reserved for State administration to provide technical assistance to other programs that provide services to children with disabilities, which could include residential treatment facilities providing services to children with disabilities under the Act. Section 300.704(b)(4)(i), consistent with section 611(e)(2)(C)(i) of the Act, allows, but does not require, States to use funds reserved for other State-level activities to provide support and direct services, including technical assistance, personnel preparation, and professional development and training, which could include technical assistance to staff who provide services to children with disabilities at residential treatment centers and other such facilities. Because the Act gives States the discretion to determine how to use these funds, so long as they are used in accordance with the requirements in Part B of the Act, the Department does not believe it would be appropriate to remove this discretion by regulation and require States to use these funds to provide technical assistance to particular types of facilities, as suggested by the commenter.

Changes: None.

Comment: We received a number of comments requesting that the regulations require States to use funds reserved for State-level activities for specific purposes. Some commenters stated that these funds should be used to find and train surrogate parents. Other commenters requested that these funds be used to support parent centers. One commenter requested that these funds be used for programs that employ well-researched best practices. Another commenter suggested that the funds be used for family involvement activities. One commenter requested that the regulations clarify that these funds may be used to purchase supplemental educational materials.

Discussion: The Act does not require States to use their funds reserved for other State-level activities for the purposes requested by the commenters. The Act also does not prohibit the use of funds for these purposes. Instead, States have discretion in determining how these funds are used, so long as they are used to carry out the activities in Sec. 300.704(b)(3) and (4). Therefore, we do not believe it would be appropriate to regulate as suggested by the commenters.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that the term "maximize" in Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v), regarding the use of funds to support the use of technology to maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum, was an "affirmative duty" and, thus, required more detailed instruction. This commenter also stated that the term "improve" in Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(xi), regarding the use of funds to provide professional development to teachers who teach children with disabilities in order to improve academic achievement, was an "affirmative duty" and, thus, required more detailed instruction.

Discussion: The language referred to by the commenter is from the Act. The activities noted by the commenter are authorized under the Act but are not required. The Department has reviewed Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v) and (b)(4)(xi) and does not believe that additional detail is necessary, because States need the flexibility that the Act provides to appropriately meet the needs within the State.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter agreed with the provision in Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v) that allows States to use funds to support the use of technology to maximize access to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities. The commenter stated, however, that SEAs and LEAs would be unwilling to research and employ new technologies and asked who would be responsible for conducting this activity.

Discussion: Supporting the use of technology to maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum is a State-level activity that States are permitted, but not required, to fund. States have considerable flexibility in determining what State-level activities will be funded, provided the requirements of Part B of the Act are met. How a State implements a particular activity or program is a matter best left to each State to decide.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v), regarding the use of technology to maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities, lacked specificity and asked for definitions of the terms "universal design principles," "maximize accessibility to the general curriculum," and "maximum extent."

Discussion: The definition of universal design, as used in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, is included in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section for subpart A. We believe this will clarify the meaning of "universal design principles," as used in Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v). The term "maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum" is sufficiently specific in the context used and does not need further definition. The term "maximum extent" is not used in Sec. 300.704(b)(4)(v).

Changes: None.