COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 60
March 18, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Questions regarding Goals 2000

 
  On March 11, the 1996 General Assembly adopted an
  outstanding budget for public schools in the 1996-98
  biennium.  The General Assembly, building on the proposed
  budget of Governor Allen, provided unprecedented state
  support for the Standards of Quality and for major
  initiatives relating to at-risk students, educational
  technology and assessment of student performance on high
  academic standards.  The combined efforts of the Governor
  and the General Assembly are well deserving of the recent
  bipartisan expressions of praise and the gratitude of those
  working on behalf of the students in Virginia's public
  schools.
  
  Many of you have raised questions about the status of the
  highly publicized debate around "Goals 2000."  This
  memorandum is intended to respond to those questions.
  
  First, there is no reference in the budget to Goals 2000 by
  name or public law citation.  Even though this issue was the
  focus of much discussion, the language in the Appropriation
  Act states:
  
  G. Upon the passage by eighty-five or more local school
     boards of resolutions requesting such, the
     Superintendent of Public Instruction shall, on behalf
     of local school divisions, apply by June 30, 1996 for
     federal funds as specified by the local resolution
     which are, or may become, available pursuant to federal
     legislation to support local school division efforts in
     the areas of teacher training, curriculum development
     and the purchase of instructional materials related to
     implementing the Standards of Learning.  No funds
     received under this provision shall be retained by the
     Department of Education but all such funds shall be
     distributed to requesting local school divisions
     pursuant to the requirements of the federal program. 
     For purposes of this item, the Superintendent of Public
     Instruction is hereby designated as the "State
     Educational Agency" under the provisions of any such
     federal legislation and any successor act or amendment
     thereto.  The provisions of this paragraph shall be
     effective upon passage of this act.
  SUPTS. MEMO NO. 60
  March 18, 1996
  Page 2
                                                             
  
  As a result of this language amendment, many of you have
  shared your confusion about whether or not your local boards
  should be considering a resolution to request funding under
  Goals 2000.
  
  First, please remember that the budget as a whole, including
  this language amendment, will not be effective until signed
  into law by the Governor.  The Governor may sign, veto,
  offer amendments to, or make item vetoes to the budget bill. 
  Final action on the budget is expected within thirty days
  following the April 17, 1996 reconvened session of the
  General Assembly.
  
  Second, you should be aware that opinions vary regarding
  legislative intent.  The budget bill originally passed by
  the House of Delegates mandated participation in Goals 2000,
  relying upon representations by federal officials and other
  indications that there were "no strings" attached to these
  funds.  I think it is fair to say that the Senate was more
  skeptical about the absence of federal "strings"; the budget
  bill originally passed by the Senate did not mandate or
  authorize participation in Goals 2000, and Senate conferees
  opposed inclusion of the House's mandate of participation. 
  The budget conferees from both houses eventually agreed to
  the above-quoted language amendment as a compromise.
  
  Despite this uncertainty, the following is clear:
  
     o    Virginia may be entitled to $6.6 million dollars
          in this second year of the Goals 2000 program, and
          these funds must be requested no later than June
          30, 1996;
  
     o    The language adopted by the 1996 General Assembly
          requires that all available funds be allocated to
          local school divisions; 
  
     o    Federal legislation requires that grants to local
          school divisions be awarded on a competitive
          basis; therefore, there is no guarantee that all
          divisions that apply will receive grants, nor has
          the amount of any grant yet been determined.
  
  Under the provisions of the language amendment to the 1996-98 budget, 
  local school boards may act on a resolution to
  request the Superintendent of Public Instruction to apply to
  the U. S. Department of Education for Goals 2000.  While
  Virginia would need to apply by June 30 to receive these
  funds, there has been no schedule set for submitting local
  applications or awarding local grants.
   
                                                           
    SUPTS. MEMO NO. 60
  March 18, 1996
  Page 3
                                                             
  
  To facilitate discussion by your board, I am including a
  copy of the relevant sections of the federal law, Goals
  2000:  Educate America Act.  
  
  Importantly, before any local school division may receive a
  grant under the Goals 2000 law, the local school board must
  commit to develop, and submit for State approval, a "local
  improvement plan" that satisfies the requirements of the
  Goals 2000 law.  Section 309 of the federal law sets forth
  specific and detailed requirements that must be satisfied in
  the development and implementation of each "local
  improvement plan."  The requirements include the following:
  
     o    The local school board must create a broad-based
          panel, comprised as specified in Section
          309(a)(3)(A), to develop the "local improvement
          plan."
  
     o    The "local improvement plan" must "address
          districtwide educational improvement, directed at
          enabling all students to meet the State content
          standards and State student performance standards"
          (defined in the budget language approved by the
          1996 General Assembly to be "teacher training,
          curriculum development and the purchase of
          instructional materials related to implementing
          the Standards of Learning").
   
     o    The "local improvement plan" must set forth a
          strategy for "(i) ensuring that all students have
          a fair opportunity to learn; (ii) improving
          teaching and learning; (iii) improving governance
          and management; (iv) generating, maintaining, and
          strengthening parental and community involvement;
          and (v) expanding improvements throughout the
          local educational agency."
  
     o    The "local improvement plan" must "promote the
          flexibility of local schools in developing plans
          which address the particular needs of their school
          and community and are consistent with the local
          improvement plan."
  
     o    The "local improvement plan" must "describe a
          process of broad-based community participation in
          the development, implementation and evaluation of
          the local improvement plan."
  
  
  
         SUPTS. MEMO NO. 60
  March 18, 1996
  Page 4
                                                             
  
     o    The "local improvement plan" must describe how the
          local school board will implement specific
          programs for "identifying the most pressing needs
          facing students and their families with regard to
          social services, health care, nutrition, and child
          care, and entering into partnerships with public
          and private nonprofit agencies to increase the
          access of students and families to coordinated
          nonsectarian services in a school setting or at a
          nearby site."
  
     o    The panel established pursuant to Section
          309(a)(3)(A) of the Goals 2000 law must continue
          in existence after development of the "local
          improvement plan" and must be informed of progress
          on the "local improvement plan" by the local
          school board, must review the plan and the
          progress made, must determine if revisions in the
          plan should be recommended to the local school
          board, and must "periodically report such
          determination to the public."
  
     o    No more than five percent of the grant funds may
          be used for "administrative expenses."
  
     o    At least 50 percent of the grant funds provided by
          a local school board to individual schools must be
          made available to "schools with a special need for
          such assistance, as indicated by a high number or
          percentage of students from low-income families,
          low student achievement, or other similar
          criteria."
  
  The language amendment adopted by the General Assembly
  provides for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to
  apply for Goals 2000 funds "on behalf of local school
  divisions" who request such action by resolution.
  
  I am advised by the Office of the Attorney General that, in
  order to insure effectiveness for purposes of the budget
  language, any resolution passed by a local school board
  must, inter alia, set forth the local school board's
  commitment to satisfy each of the requirements specified in
  Section 309 of the federal Goals 2000 law, including but not
  limited to, those set forth above.  I am also advised that
  the Office of the Attorney General reviews legislation for
  any conflicts with constitutional or federal statutory law,
  but that this review has not been completed with respect to
  the budget language cited here.
  
   
  
  
   SUPTS. MEMO NO. 60
  March 18, 1996
  Page 5
                                                           
                                                           
  Importantly, however, the Elementary and Secondary Education
  Subcommittee of House Appropriations was advised by a
  federal official that there are "no strings" attached to
  funds provided under Goals 2000.  Therefore, some local
  school boards may not wish to request Goals 2000 funding
  if required to comply with all of the restrictions in
  Section 309, but may wish to request such funds if the 
  U.S. Department of Education provides a complete and legally
  enforceable waiver of all such restrictions.  We are unable 
  to offer guidance at this point as to the likelihood of 
  obtaining, or the legal effect of, such a waiver.
  
  Therefore, the Office of the Attorney General has
  recommended that any local school board, which adopts a
  resolution requesting Goals 2000 funds, states specifically
  that the request is either (a) contingent upon obtaining a
  full and enforceable waiver of federal restrictions, or (b)
  made without regard to whether such a waiver is obtained.
  
  Finally, with respect to the timing of any local school
  board resolution, you may wish to consider the following. 
  As noted above, the Governor may sign, veto or propose
  amendments to this provision of the budget.  The question
  has arisen as to whether any resolution, adopted before
  final action on the budget, would be effective, and how
  action by the Governor may affect any resolution adopted
  before that time.  I have asked the Office of the Attorney
  General to examine the issue and answer accordingly.
    
  Please be assured that I will convey any additional
  information or action to you as it becomes available.  I
  hope the material provided in this memorandum proves useful. 
  You may wish to share this with your board members should
  they desire to discuss or take action in this regard.
  
  
  
  WCBJr:clc
  Attachment:  This memo and its attachment will be sent to
               the superintendent's office.
  
  cc:     William H. Hurd, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General
          Office of the Attorney General