34 CFR § 602.36 - Senior Department official's decision.

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§ 602.36 Senior Department official's decision.

(a) The senior Department official makes a decision regarding recognition of an agency based on the record compiled under §§ 602.32, 602.33, 602.34, and 602.35 including, as applicable, the following:

(1) The materials provided to the Advisory Committee under § 602.34(c).

(2) The transcript of the Advisory Committee meeting.

(3) The recommendation of the Advisory Committee.

(4) Written comments and responses submitted under § 602.35.

(5) New evidence submitted in accordance with § 602.35(c)(1).

(6) A communication from the Secretary referring an issue to the senior Department official's consideration under § 602.37(e).

(b) In the event that statutory authority or appropriations for the Advisory Committee ends, or there are fewer duly appointed Advisory Committee members than needed to constitute a quorum, and under extraordinary circumstances when there are serious concerns about an agency's compliance with subpart B of this part that require prompt attention, the senior Department official may make a decision in a recognition proceeding based on the record compiled under § 602.32 or § 602.33 after providing the agency with an opportunity to respond to the final staff analysis. Any decision made by the senior Department official absent a recommendation from the Advisory Committee may be appealed to the Secretary as provided in § 602.37.

(c) Following consideration of an agency's recognition under this section, the senior Department official issues a recognition decision.

(d) Except with respect to decisions made under paragraph (f) or (g) of this section and matters referred to the senior Department official under § 602.37(e) or (f), the senior Department official notifies the agency in writing of the senior Department official's decision regarding the agency's recognition within 90 days of the Advisory Committee meeting or conclusion of the review under paragraph (b) of this section.

(e) The senior Department official's decision may include, but is not limited to, approving, denying, limiting, suspending, or terminating recognition, granting or denying an application for an expansion of scope, revising or affirming the scope of the agency, or continuing recognition pending submission and review of a compliance report under §§ 602.32 and 602.34 and review of the report by the senior Department official under this section.

(1)

(i) The senior Department official approves recognition if the agency complies with the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part and if the agency effectively applies those criteria.

(ii) If the senior Department official approves recognition, the recognition decision defines the scope of recognition and the recognition period. The recognition period does not exceed five years, including any time during which recognition was continued to permit submission and review of a compliance report.

(iii) If the scope or period of recognition is less than that requested by the agency, the senior Department official explains the reasons for approving a lesser scope or recognition period.

(2)

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, if the agency either fails to comply with the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part, or to apply those criteria effectively, the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition.

(ii) If the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition, the senior Department official specifies the reasons for this decision, including all criteria the agency fails to meet and all criteria the agency has failed to apply effectively.

(3)

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(3)(ii) of this section, if a recognized agency fails to demonstrate compliance with or effective application of a criterion or criteria, but the senior Department official concludes that the agency will demonstrate or achieve compliance with the criteria for recognition and effective application of those criteria within 12 months or less, the senior Department official may continue the agency's recognition, pending submission by the agency of a compliance report, review of the report under §§ 602.32 and 602.34, and review of the report by the senior Department official under this section. In such a case, the senior Department official specifies the criteria the compliance report must address, and a time period, not longer than 12 months, during which the agency must achieve compliance and effectively apply the criteria. The compliance report documenting compliance and effective application of criteria is due not later than 30 days after the end of the period specified in the senior Department official's decision.

(ii) If the record includes a compliance report, and the senior Department official determines that an agency has not complied with the criteria for recognition, or has not effectively applied those criteria, during the time period specified by the senior Department official in accordance with paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition, except, in extraordinary circumstances, upon a showing of good cause for an extension of time as determined by the senior Department official and detailed in the senior Department official's decision. If the senior Department official determines good cause for an extension has been shown, the senior Department official specifies the length of the extension and what the agency must do during it to merit a renewal of recognition.

(f) If the senior Department official determines, based on the record, that a decision to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition may be warranted based on a finding that the agency is noncompliant with, or ineffective in its application of, a criterion or criteria of recognition not identified earlier in the proceedings as an area of noncompliance, the senior Department official provides -

(1) The agency with an opportunity to submit a written response and documentary evidence addressing the finding; and

(2) The staff with an opportunity to present its analysis in writing.

(g) If relevant and material information pertaining to an agency's compliance with recognition criteria, but not contained in the record, comes to the senior Department official's attention while a decision regarding the agency's recognition is pending before the senior Department official, and if the senior Department official concludes the recognition decision should not be made without consideration of the information, the senior Department official either -

(1)

(i) Does not make a decision regarding recognition of the agency; and

(ii) Refers the matter to Department staff for review and analysis under § 602.32 or § 602.33, as appropriate, and consideration by the Advisory Committee under § 602.34; or

(2)

(i) Provides the information to the agency and Department staff;

(ii) Permits the agency to respond to the senior Department official and the Department staff in writing, and to include additional evidence relevant to the issue, and specifies a deadline;

(iii) Provides Department staff with an opportunity to respond in writing to the agency's submission under paragraph (g)(2)(ii) of this section, specifying a deadline; and

(iv) Issues a recognition decision based on the record described in paragraph (a) of this section, as supplemented by the information provided under this paragraph.

(h) No agency may submit information to the senior Department official, or ask others to submit information on its behalf, for purposes of invoking paragraph (g) of this section. Before invoking paragraph (g) of this section, the senior Department official will take into account whether the information, if submitted by a third party, could have been submitted in accordance with § 602.32(a) or § 602.33(e)(2).

(i) If the senior Department official does not reach a final decision to approve, deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition before the expiration of its recognition period, the senior Department official automatically extends the recognition period until a final decision is reached.

(j) Unless appealed in accordance with § 602.37, the senior Department official's decision is the final decision of the Secretary.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)