P. O. BOX 2120

January 7, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Application for Special Education 1999-2000 Capacity Building Grants ("Sliver Funds")

Background and Purpose of "Sliver" Funds

In years when the federal special education appropriation to states increases at a 
rate greater than inflation, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 
requires states to reserve the amount above the rate of inflation to make subgrants 
to local education agencies (LEAs).  The subgrants are to assist LEAs in providing 
direct services and in making systemic changes to improve results for children with 
disabilities.  The State Education Agency (SEA) may establish priorities in awarding 
these subgrants to LEAs competitively or on a targeted basis.  The purpose of the subgrants, 
as distinguished from federal special education flow-through funds, is to provide funding 
that the SEA can direct to address particular needs not readily addressed through the 
use of flow-through funds.  The SEA may direct the use of these funds to promote innovation, 
capacity-building, and systemic changes that are needed to improve educational results.

As a result of the increase in the federal appropriation for the 1999-2000 school year, 
the Virginia Department of Education (DOE) has reserved $2.5 million under this IDEA 
"sliver" provision.  These funds are being offered to school divisions and state-operated 
programs as subgrants to assist them in improving their programs within the context of 
the performance goals and indicators of Virginia's State Improvement Plan for Special 
Education (SIP), a copy of which is attached.

Application Process

Local school divisions and state-operated programs (SOPs) may apply for these "sliver" 
grants for the 1999-2000 school year using the attached application.  The awarded funds 
may be carried over until September 30, 2001.  Each school division and SOP has been 
allocated an amount equal to $8.50 per special education pupil, with $4,000 minimum if 
less than 50 pupils are served, and $14,500 minimum if 50 or more pupils are served. The 
list of allocations is attached.

Please understand that "sliver" funds are only available in the years that Congress 
increases the federal appropriation at a rate greater than the rate of inflation.  
Therefore, you should plan the scope and continuation of this project with the knowledge 
that grants may not be available in future years.  The federal appropriation increase 
for 1999-2000 was unusually large, and we believe the likelihood of future increases 
of this magnitude to be minimal.

Completed applications for these funds must be received by 5 p.m. February 15, 2000.
Any allocations not applied for will be added proportionately to the allocations of 
school divisions and SOPs that do apply.  Two or more school divisions or SOPs may 
combine their allocations and submit a joint application, provided a single school 
division or SOP is designated as fiscal agent for the grant.  Mail completed applications 

   John Mitchell, Associate Director
   Office of Special Education and Student Services
   Virginia Department of Education
   P. O. Box 2120
   Richmond, VA 23218-2120

For questions or assistance, contact John Mitchell via e-mail at 
or by phone at (804) 225-2704.