How Can Title I Funds Be Distributed In Delaware School Districts And Charters?

Since I’ve been posting articles the past couple days about Title I funding from the feds, I’ve received many questions about how these funds can be allocated.  There is no simple answer as the below document from the Delaware Department of Education will show.  This must be an accountant or auditor’s worst nightmare, trying to keep up with district budgets!

In addition, the formula was definitely changed in the past couple years based on this email from the DOE:

Low Socio-Economic Status (SES)

As many of you are aware, the USDA has made changes to the School Nutrition Programs. Most recently is the introduction of Community Eligibility.

In the past, the school nutrition program meal benefit eligibility forms have been the source data for low income determination.  As you may remember, in March 2013 we told you that we would be moving to the DHSS Alternative Poverty (SNAP, TANF or Medicaid) measure for low socio economic status for 2013-14.  Over the past year, we continued to get guidance from USDA and USED regarding these programs and application to other programs.

Based on this new information, the state will move to a standardized low socio-economic status measure. The new measure is Direct Certification or Direct Cert.  This measure includes SNAP or TANF and does not include Medicaid.  We strongly believe this is the purest measure of low socio economic status.  In addition, the sharing of student level data is allowable for specific purposes.  With Medicaid, there are potential issues of HIPPA.

The new low income indicator is defined to be:
A student is Low-SES if any one of the following two indicator is yes:
o  TANF (Public assistance)
o  SNAP (Food stamp)

For purposes of eSchool, the new indicator will be named: Low-Income.  This is to distinguish from Low-SES that is used for the past four years.  A separate data column in eSchool will be created for the new indicator.  It will be co-existence with LOW-SES for the past years so that historical low-SES data will not be interrupted.

The new indicator will APPLY TO 2013-2014 DATA AND BEYOND starting from Fall 2013 DCAS reporting and all federal and state reporting including EDEN and school profiles.  We may have instances where we will do a look-back with the Direct Certification data for trend purposes.

Districts are still able to use a different measure of poverty when distributing funds and providing services to their schools.  The DDOE will not be collecting free and reduced lunch price information in the future, unless legislatively mandated to do so.  If you do collect information through another means, you will be expected to secure those data appropriately. 

We know we have reports online and published that have a different methodologies for low SES.  Our plan is to highlight the change in methodology on these reports, and to be clear on any reports to you, which method of low SES we are using or had been used.

This email was sent to school leaders on May 30th, 2014…

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2015 Title I Allocations For ALL Delaware Districts And Charters

Yesterday, I wrote an article about Capital School District’s $330,000 loss in Title I funding, but the actual amount they lost was a little bit higher.  The amount they lost, the highest loss in the state, was $338,093.00.  Which school district had the biggest gain?  Which charter gets the most, and which gets NO Title I funding?  Find out here:

Yes, Charter School of Wilmington gets NO Title I federal funds.  A public school in Wilmington!  After Capital, it looks like Smyrna, Lake Forest and Seaford took pretty big hits in Title I cuts.  But nothing compares to Capital, which lost three times the second highest loss.  It doesn’t look like opt-out will cause a district to lose federal funds, when a new formula will do it all by itself.  Last year, the Feds changed the Title I formula from basing the number of students who receive “free and reduced lunch” at their school to the number of students whose families get special services from the state which accounts for an overall loss of Title I funds for the state of $600,000.

The bulk of the losses are occurring in Kent and Sussex counties, while all of the New Castle County districts saw an increase.  Does this mean poverty is increasing in New Castle and decreasing in Kent and Sussex?