Superintendent's Memo #013-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

January 21, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Competition for 2012-2013 Federal Adult Basic Education (ABE) Awards

In the spring of 2012, the Virginia Department of Education will conduct a new competition for Virginia's allocation of federal ABE funds authorized under Section 222 (a)(1) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). The Office of Adult Education and Literacy (OAEL) will administer the competition and award grants to qualified applicants for use during the state fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2012.

Due to repeated delays of the reauthorization of WIA in Congress, the state, local, and regional five-year plans for providing adult education services, which have served as the basis for funding since 1999, have become outdated. Moreover, recent fiscal pressures have forced division administrators to make difficult decisions about their budgetary priorities. After much consideration and consultation with the federal Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), which oversees the distribution of WIA funding to the states, the Virginia Department of Education has concluded that the most effective way to ensure the ongoing improvement of the adult education and literacy system in Virginia, while maintaining maximum flexibility at the local and regional levels, is to renew the competition for funding in 2012.

This competition will require all prospective eligible providers, as defined in WIA, to submit new plans for delivering adult education and literacy services with their grant application materials. In the past few months, some divisions have indicated their interest in transferring responsibilities for their adult education and literacy programs to other organizations. Recent guidance from OVAE indicated that such transfers may only be completed via a new competition among all eligible providers in the locality or region from which these requests originate. This new competition will ensure equitable access to the ABE funding among all eligible providers across the Commonwealth and allow those divisions interested in partnering with other entities to pursue their plans in compliance with the legislation.

Eligible providers, according to the legislation, include, "A local education agency; a community-based literacy organization of demonstrated effectiveness; a volunteer literacy organization of demonstrated effectiveness; an institution of higher education; a public or private nonprofit agency; a library; a public housing authority; a nonprofit institution that is not described previously and has the ability to provide literacy services to adults and families; and a consortium of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries, or authorities described previously." School divisions interested in partnering with other organizations or entities as a means to fulfill their responsibilities for providing adult education and literacy services under Section 22.1-253.13:1 of the Code of Virginia are encouraged to begin planning and pursuing these partnerships in anticipation of the release of the ABE request for proposals in the spring of 2012.

In the coming months, OAEL staff will meet with the Board of Education's Adult Education and Literacy Advisory Committee, host a number of webinars, and conduct regional meetings to gather feedback about the details of the competition from division staff and other interested stakeholders. The outcomes of these meetings and other information about the competition will be provided by OAEL regularly.

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Randall Stamper, director, Office of Adult Education and Literacy, via e-mail at Randall.Stamper@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2053.

PIW/RS/gjm