DATE: February 11, 2004

TO: State Directors of Vocational and Technical Education

FROM: Susan Sclafani

Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education

SUBJECT: Guidance for Submission of State Plan Revisions, Proposed Performance Levels, and Budgets for Perkins Grant Awards - OMB NOTICE OF ACTION 1830-0556

As you know, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins III) authorizes appropriations only through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 (October 1, 2002 September 30, 2003). FY 2003 funds were made available to states on an advance-funded basis for use in FY 2004 (July 1, 2003 September 30, 2004). In the absence of Congressional action to reauthorize Perkins III, section 422(a) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) automatically extends the law for one additional year. However, this office has approved state plans and performance level agreements only through June 30, 2004.

Section 122(a)(2) of Perkins III anticipates that each eligible agency will review its state plan and submit any annual revisions that it determines to be necessary. Under the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 76.140(a), the Secretary also may determine that an amendment to a state plan is essential and require a state to make the amendment. Since so much time has passed since we approved the current state plans, many states have experienced significant changes in their economic and labor market conditions. Additionally, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) has made sweeping changes in federal education policy and created an important, new framework for improving the academic achievement of high school students. Thus, in addition to any revisions that your eligible agency may wish to make to its state plan as a consequence of your own review under section 122(a)(2) of Perkins III, we have determined that, before we can issue new Perkins III grants to states for the period beginning July 1, 2004, each eligible agency must submit the following for our approval:

  • A letter indicating that the eligible agency wishes to extend its Perkins III state plan signed by someone who is authorized to act on behalf of the eligible agency;

                 Revisions that update your state plan to reflect changes in conditions in the state as well as the implementation of NCLB;

  • A budget for the year beginning July 1, 2004; and
  • Proposed performance levels for the year beginning July 1, 2004, on which each state must reach agreement with this office.

Request to Extend State Plan.The eligible agency must request an extension of its current state plan. The request must be in writing and signed by someone who is authorized to act on behalf of the eligible agency in your state.

Revisions to the State Plan. As outlined in greater detail in the attachment to this memorandum, we expect each eligible agency to make revisions to its state plan in the following four key areas:

  • Improving the academic skills of vocational and technical education students;
  • Strengthening connections between secondary and postsecondary education;
  • Preparing individuals for occupations in demand that pay family-supporting wages; and
  • Investing in effective, high-quality local programs.

We believe that these are common areas of mutual interest and concern regardless of what provisions may be enacted to reauthorize Perkins III. The revisions your state makes this year should provide a good foundation for planning for, and the implementation of, any changes to Perkins III that may be enacted in the next year. They also will help us in better understanding your state's needs in order to assist you in meeting them.

Updated Budget. Each eligible agency will need to update its budget to reflect its new allotments from the funds that will be available beginning July 1, 2004, for Titles I (state grant) and II (Tech-Prep grant) under Perkins III. Your state's budget must be in the attached format.

Proposed Performance Levels. Each eligible agency also will need to submit proposed performance levels for the core indicators of performance for the program year beginning July 1, 2004, and reach agreement with this office on adjusted performance levels. Your state must submit its proposed levels on the attached form.

Your eligible agency must propose levels of performance that require the state to continually make progress toward improving the performance of vocational and technical education students' as required by section 113(b)(3)(A)(i)(II) of Perkins III.

We strongly encourage you to discuss your state's proposed performance levels with the Department prior to submission. Your Regional Accountability Specialist (RAS) will contact you by telephone during the period from February through April 2004 to discuss your proposed performance levels. Your state must then submit its proposed performance levels along with the state plan revisions and updated budget requested in this guidance.

After we have approved your state's submissions, we will award your state its Tech-Prep grant and the first installment of its grant under Title I of Perkins III, funds for which become available July 1, 2004. To ensure timely receipt of new grant awards, each state must submit a letter requesting an extension of its state plan, state plan revisions, updated budget, and proposed performance levels to the address below by April 30, 2004:

State Administration and Accountability Group

Division of High School, Postsecondary and Career Education

Office of Vocational and Adult Education

U.S. Department of Education

Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 4215

Washington, DC 20202-7324

ATTN: Mr. Maurice James

You also may e-mail your submission to Maurice James, Chief of the State Administration Branch, at, or fax your submission to the attention of Maury James at (202) 205-5522. If you submit your materials by e-mail or fax, you are responsible for confirming that a complete and legible copy of the submission is received in our office and that a hard copy with an original signature is sent within a reasonable period. If you have questions concerning your submission, please contact your state liaison:

We appreciate your efforts to improve the quality of vocational and technical education opportunities offered to young people and adults. We look forward to continuing to work with you to prepare America's future.