Sec. 644 Administrative Requirements and Standards

Sec. 644. [42 U.S.C. 9839]

(a)(1) Each Head Start agency shall observe standards of organization, management, and administration that will ensure, so far as reasonably possible, that all program activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the purposes of this subchapter and the objective of providing assistance effectively, efficiently, and free of any taint of partisan political bias or personal or family favoritism. Each such agency shall establish or adopt rules to carry out this section, which shall include rules to assure full staff accountability in matters governed by law, regulations, or agency policy. Each agency shall also provide for reasonable public access to information, including public hearings at the request of appropriate community groups and reasonable public access to books and records of the agency or other agencies engaged in program activities or operations involving the use of authority or funds for which it is responsible.

(2) Each Head Start agency shall make available to the public a report published at least once in each fiscal year that discloses the following information from the most recently concluded fiscal year, except that reporting such information shall not reveal personally identifiable information about an individual child or parent:

(A) The total amount of public and private funds received and the amount from each source.

(B) An explanation of budgetary expenditures and proposed budget for the fiscal year.

(C) The total number of children and families served, the average monthly enrollment (as a percentage of funded enrollment), and the percentage of eligible children served.

(D) The results of the most recent review by the Secretary and the financial audit.

(E) The percentage of enrolled children that received medical and dental exams.

(F) Information about parent involvement activities.

(G) The agency's efforts to prepare children for kindergarten.

(H) Any other information required by the Secretary.

(3) Each such agency shall adopt for itself and other agencies using funds or exercising authority for which it is responsible, rules designed to--

(A) establish specific standards governing salaries, salary increases, travel and per diem allowances, and other employee benefits;

(B) assure that only persons capable of discharging their duties with competence and integrity are employed and that employees are promoted or advanced under impartial procedures calculated to improve agency performance and effectiveness;

(C) guard against personal or financial conflicts of interest; and

(D) define employee duties in an appropriate manner that will in any case preclude employees from participating, in connection with the performance of their duties, in any form of picketing, protest, or other direct action that is in violation of law.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, no financial assistance shall be extended under this subchapter in any case in which the Secretary determines that the costs of developing and administering a program assisted under this subchapter exceed 15 percent of the total costs, including the required non-Federal contributions to such costs, of such program. The Secretary shall establish by regulation, criteria for determining

(1) the costs of developing and administering such program; and

(2) the total costs of such program. In any case in which the Secretary determines that the cost of administering such program does not exceed 15 percent of such total costs but is, in the judgment of the Secretary, excessive, the Secretary shall forthwith require the recipient of such financial assistance to take such steps prescribed by the Secretary as will eliminate such excessive administrative cost, including the sharing by one or more Head Start agencies of a common director and other administrative personnel. The Secretary may waive the limitation prescribed by this subsection for specific periods of time not to exceed 12 months whenever the Secretary determines that such a waiver is necessary in order to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.

(c) The Secretary shall prescribe rules or regulations to supplement subsections (a) and (f) of this section, which shall be binding on all agencies carrying on Head Start program activities with financial assistance under this subchapter. The Secretary may, where appropriate, establish special or simplified requirements for smaller agencies or agencies operating in rural areas. Policies and procedures shall be established to ensure that indirect costs attributable to the common or joint use of facilities and services by programs assisted under this subchapter and other programs shall be fairly allocated among the various programs which utilize such facilities and services.

(d) At least 30 days prior to their effective date, all rules, regulations and application forms shall be published in the Federal Register and shall be sent to each grantee with the notification that each such grantee has the right to submit comments pertaining thereto to the Secretary prior to the final adoption thereof.

(e) Funds appropriated to carry out this subchapter shall not be used to assist, promote, or deter union organizing.

(f)(1) The Secretary shall establish uniform procedures for Head Start agencies to request approval to purchase facilities, or to request approval of the purchase (after December 31, 1986) of facilities, to be used to carry out Head Start programs. The Secretary shall suspend any proceedings pending against any Head Start agency to claim costs incurred in purchasing such facilities until the agency has been afforded an opportunity to apply for approval of the purchase and the Secretary has determined whether the purchase will be approved. The Secretary shall not be required to repay claims previously satisfied by Head Start agencies for costs incurred in the purchase of such facilities.

(2) Financial assistance provided under this subchapter may not be used by a Head Start agency to purchase a facility (including paying the cost of amortizing the principal, and paying interest on, loans) to be used to carry out a Head Start program unless the Secretary approves a request that is submitted by such agency and contains—

(A) a description of the efforts by the agency to coordinate or collaborate with other providers in the community to seek assistance, including financial assistance, prior to the use of funds under this section;

(B) a description of the site of the facility proposed to be purchased or that was previously purchased;

(C) the plans and specifications of such facility;

(D) information demonstrating that--

(i) the proposed purchase will result, or the previous purchase has resulted, in savings when compared to the costs that would be incurred to acquire the use of an alternative facility to carry out such program; or

(ii) the lack of alternative facilities will prevent, or would have prevented, the operation of such program;

(E) in the case of a request regarding a previously purchased facility, information demonstrating that the facility will be used principally as a Head Start center, or a direct support facility for a Head Start program; and

(F) such other information and assurances as the Secretary may require.

(3) Upon a determination by the Secretary that suitable facilities are not otherwise available to Indian tribes to carry out Head Start programs, and that the lack of suitable facilities will inhibit the operation of such programs, the Secretary, in the discretion of the Secretary, may authorize the use of financial assistance to make payments for the purchase of facilities owned by such tribes. The amount of such a payment for such a facility shall not exceed the fair market value of the facility.

(g)(1) Upon a determination by the Secretary that suitable facilities (including public school facilities) are not otherwise available to Indian tribes, rural communities, and other low-income communities to carry out Head Start programs, that the lack of suitable facilities will inhibit the operation of such programs, and that construction of such facilities is more cost effective than purchase of available facilities or renovation, the Secretary, in the discretion of the Secretary, may authorize the use of financial assistance under this subchapter to make payments for capital expenditures related to facilities that will be used to carry out such programs. The Secretary shall establish uniform procedures for Head Start agencies to request approval for such payments, and shall promote, to the extent practicable, the collocation of Head Start programs with other programs serving low-income children and families.

(2) Such payments may be used for capital expenditures (including paying the cost of amortizing the principal, and paying interest on, loans) such as expenditures for--

(A) construction of facilities that are not in existence on the date of the determination;

(B) major renovation of facilities in existence on such date; and

(C) purchase of vehicles used for programs conducted at the Head Start facilities.

(3) All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors in the construction or renovation of facilities to be used to carry out Head Start programs shall be paid wages at not less than those prevailing on similar construction in the locality, as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Act of March 3, 1931, as amended (40 U.S.C. 276a et seq., commonly known as the "Davis-Bacon Act").

(h) In all personnel actions of the American Indian Programs Branch of the Head Start Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families, the Secretary shall give the same preference to individuals who are members of an Indian tribe as the Secretary gives to a disabled veteran, as defined in section 2108(3)(C) of title 5, United States Code. The Secretary shall take such additional actions as may be necessary to promote recruitment of such individuals for employment in the Administration.