210:40-5-1 - Memorandum of understanding between the Office for Civil Rights, Region VI and the Oklahoma State Department of Education

210:40-5-1. Memorandum of understanding between the Office for Civil Rights, Region VI and the Oklahoma State Department of Education

(a) Introduction (Purpose). This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is being established to support mutual goals and objectives. It is our intention to:

(1) improve the ability of OCR and OSDE to accomplish their civil rights responsibilities;

(2) strengthen cooperation and coordination between OCR and OSDE;

(3) reduce the data collection burden on OSDE and local recipients, and at the same time, expedite the compilation of compliance information; and

(4) prevent duplication of effort and reduce the operating costs of OSDE, local agencies and OCR. This MOU applies to all OSDE programs and activities in elementary and secondary programs in Oklahoma public schools (K-12) which receive Federal financial assistance from the United States Department of Education (ED) or from any other agency of the Federal government which has delegated its initial civil rights responsibilities to ED. The authorities under which OCR operates are Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. OCR and OSDE determine the investigative and technical assistance activities included in the MOU.

(b) General provisions. The general provisions set out below represent the basic principles of the agreement that have been reached.

(1) Notification and consultation between staffs from both agencies in no way expresses or implies that participation in this agreement constitutes relinquishment of any of their respective legal responsibilities.

(2) The staffs of both agree to fully respect and adhere to the confidentiality requirements and prohibitions of each agency regarding compliant-related information and sensitive data. Adherence to these requirements and prohibitions must be consistent with Federal and State law. In case of conflict between valid Federal and State requirements, Federal requirements will prevail. See, e.g., U.S. v. Phoenix Union High District, 681 F. 2d 1235 (9th Cir. 1982).

(3) OCR adheres to specific time frames for processing complaints and compliance reviews. The time frames are required by OCR case control procedures. Also because of its case control procedures, OCR will not enter into any agreements with States involving the deferral or referral of complaint or compliance review activities to the State for investigation.

(c) Legal provisions.

(1) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, requires that any documents within the custody of OCR are subject to the disclosure requirements of the Act.

(2) The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, states that in order for OCR to disclose records, it must receive, from the head of the State of local governmental agency, a written request specifying what part of the record is desired and stating the purpose for which it is sought. If this procedure is not followed, then the record may not be disclosed. in addition, regulations require that an accounting procedure be established for records disclosed under the Act. Under this procedure, a record must be kept of the name and address of the person or entity to whom the disclosure is made, and the nature, purpose and date of the disclosure. As a general rule, an individual has a right under the Act to be notified of disclosures of his or her records. However, when the disclosure is made to another Federal, State or local government agency or instrumentality thereof, within or under the control of the United States, the Department's regulations provide that an individual will be granted notification of disclosure only at the discretion of the responsible Department official. (See 34 C.FR. § 5b.9 (b) (7)). It should also be noted that if the individual to whom the record pertains gives his or her written consent to disclosure, an accounting thereof is not required.

(d) Specific provisions. The parties further agree that:

(1) they will exchange agency organizational charts (annually) as well as revisions which may occur;

(2) they will exchange guidelines, manuals, procedures and other information which explain how the parties operate and make their determinations of compliance and noncompliance;

(3) OCR will furnish the OSDE with notification of individual open complaints as they occur throughout the year, as well as a semi-annual listing of open complaints filed against recipients receiving ED financial assistance. The listing of open complaints will only include the following:

(A) name of respondent institution;

(B) date complaint was docketed;

(C) basis of the alleged discrimination (race, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age);

(D) the general allegation or charge (employment, admissions, grading, discipline, placement, etc.);

(E) the status of the case (pre-investigation, investigation stage, negotiations conducted, postinvestigation enforcement stage); and

(F) copies of agreements developed between the complainant and recipient in cases resolved through Early Complaint Resolution (ECR).

(Any information relating to the complainant is only to be released in strict accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.)

(4) they will provide each other with reasonable access to case files, including final reports, interviews, and reports of findings on all open investigations and compliance reviews to the extent that release of such information is consistent with the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act provisions affecting their respective organizations;

(5) they will notify one another as soon as possible once an educational institution has been selected for a compliance review and exchange information during the preparation stage, as appropriate;

(6) consult with each other during OCR or State initiated complaint investigations and compliance reviews. If there is joint participation, OCR retains lead responsibility for investigating and resolving the complaint or compliance review. Each agency may issue its own investigative findings. In the case of conflict between Federal and State requirements, Federal requirements will prevail;

(7) they will assist each other's efforts to obtain voluntary compliance with civil rights laws and regulations, and consult relative to the resolution of conflicting compliance determinations;

(8) they will notify each other, and to the maximum extent possible coordinate on the provision of technical assistance relevant to civil rights laws and regulations;

(9) they will exchange appropriate reports on compliance and technical assistance activities (upon request), including survey data, policy documents, computer printouts and special analysis;

(10) they will exchange appropriate information to avoid duplicative requests for data from ED recipients;

(11) they will encourage the development of systems to expedite the flow of Federal financial information pertaining to Department of Education recipients.

(12) they they will encourage the development of compatible data formats;

(13) they will encourage participation in each other's training sessions to enhance the knowledge and monitoring skills of the respective staffs; if possible, notification of training sessions will be made in writing two weeks prior to the scheduled sessions;

(14) they may also exchange management information, including functional responsibilities, mission statements, and overall responsibilities; and

(15) they will conduct a minimum of one meeting per year to discuss problems of mutual interest, including implementation of the MOU. Principal staff responsible for implementation and adherence to the terms of this agreement, as well as notification and consultation under this agreement, are as follows:

Regional Director
Office of Civil Rights
Region VI
1200 Main Tower, Suite 2260
Dallas, Texas 75202
(214) 767-3959
Oklahoma State Department of Education
State Superintendent of Public instruction
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4599
(405) 521-3301

(e) Changing the MOU provision. This agreement may be expanded, modified, or amended at any time by mutual consent of both agencies and shall be reviewed and renewed from time to time as needed. It may be terminated if either agency is no longer interested in pursuing the activities, the activities have been completed, or they need revision. Each party agrees to give the other 30 days notice of intention to terminate.

This memorandum of understanding becomes effective upon the date when both signatures are affixed below.

(signed) 7-28-89
________________________________ ____________
Office of Civil Rights Date
U.S. Department of Education   
Taylor D. August   
Regional Civil Rights Director   
Region VI   
(signed) 8-9-89
_________________________________ ____________
Oklahoma State Department of Education Date
Gerald E. Hoeltzel   
State Superintendent of Public Instruction   

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