One issue that I have addressed on this page has been Title 1 funds, allocation of the funds and the district’s use of these funds. After speaking to employees around the district and in other districts in the state, it appeared to me that the Title 1 schools were receiving less and less money each year.
There has been a trend of taking money off the top to pay for staff and programs that are not put in place to help those the money is intended to help. There were questio…ns about the proper use of those funds. The following letter was sent out by MDE’s Federal Programs Director, Marcus Cheeks. This letter explains in detail HOW those funds can be used.
If this letter is adhered to within our district, I think we would expect to see some current Title schools no longer on the list. The ranked system, which has been in place for awhile, states that the schools are ranked in order of greatest at risk factor. Schools like the Southaven and Horn Lake schools would receive the most, and then Lake Cormorant. I have never thought that it was fair to take money away from the Title schools to use for schools that do not need the money and especially when the law clearly states who the money is intended to help.
Maybe MDE is monitoring this issue and doing more than we realize to ensure at risk schools receive the funds that were intended for them to begin with.
Since 2009, our district has received between $3.8 and $4.1 million dollars each year for our Title schools. The money is not equally divided among the schools, but to give you an idea of the money broken down per school, it would range from $237,000 up to $270,000 if equally divided among the Title schools. You can imagine how much the highest at risk factor schools could have received if using the ranked order. If one of the Southaven schools has 75% or more of their students receiving a free lunch, that school should and would be at the top of the list, receiving the most funds. A school that has 40% of their students on a free lunch would and should receive less and be ranked accordingly.
I have heard that our district is making some changes to address this issue. I hope that is the case, because the schools that need this money the most should get it.