Title I funds may go to professional development

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

What determines the amount of Title I funding a school will receive? Is it true that 80 percent of Title I funding must be

used for professional development?

Do conventions qualify as professional development? Who in the school system is responsible for monitoring Title I spending?

The federal government, via four grant formulas, allocates Title I Part A money based on the number of children in school

districts — or “local educational agencies” — who live at or below the poverty level.

The grants, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s website:

Basic Grants — go to districts “in which the number of children counted in the formula is at least 10 and exceeds 2 percent

of an LEA’s school-age population.”

Concentration Grants — go to districts “where the number of formula children exceeds 6,500 or 15 percent of the total school-age

population.”

Targeted Grants — “based on the same

data used for Basic and Concentration Grants except that the data are

weighted so that

LEAs with higher numbers or higher percentages of children from

low-income families receive more funds. Targeted Grants flow

to LEAs where the number of schoolchildren counted in the formula

(without application of the formula weights) is at least

10 and at least 5 percent of the LEA’s school-age population.”

Education Finance Incentive Grants —

“based on factors that measure ... a state’s effort to provide

financial support for

education compared to its relative wealth as measured by its per

capita income” and “the degree to which education expenditures

among LEAs within the state are equalized.”

John Spikes, school system director of federal programs, said it’s untrue that 80 percent of Title I funding must be spent

on professional development.

But, he said, Title I money may be spent on professional development — including conferences — if the professional development

is part of a reform strategy to improve instruction quality and the curriculum.

“Title I funds are monitored by both school-level administrators and the district’s federal programs department,” Spikes said

in a statement forwarded to The Informer.

Online: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com.