MCH Title I, Title II, IDEA, Impact Aid, E-rate, NCLB, & School-Wide Programs
Understanding federal funding programs can help you target your campaign to the districts and schools with dollars to spend on your products and services. A brief overview of the programs and qualifiers follows:
School District NCLB Intensity
Federal NCLB/Title I funding is concentrated in School-wide Title I Program (SWP) schools. Districts with a large number of SWP schools are highly dependent on federal funding and are most encumbered by federal No Child Left Behind rules and regulations. Fewer than 800 districts are responsible for more than half of the SWP schools. These districts are good targets for offers closely aligned with meeting No Child Left Behind targets. More than 8,800 school systems have no SWP schools. Federal funding is far less influential in these districts, which means they are typically better targets for offers that rely on discretionary funds.
School-Wide Title I Programs
School-Wide Title I Programs are schools with more than 40% of students below the poverty line. They are allowed to co-mingle most of their federal funds to be used for programs to serve all students. Their most important objective is to improve the academic performance of all students, i.e., raise their test scores.
Due to the impact of No Child Left Behind, these schools are seeing increasing control of curriculum decisions from district administrators. Marketers must now mail directly to both the schools and districts with Title I School-Wide Programs to reach those budget dollars effectively. At the school level, the school principal is often the Title I key decision-maker. Another influencer is the District Director of Special Education who may allocate portions of IDEA funds for early intervention.
Title I Funds
Several hundred districts receive substantial increases in Title I funding each year. The School-Wide Title I program schools in these districts should have significant funds to implement new programs and curricula.
Districts that received significant increases in Title I funding for the previous budget year are also like to have carryover funds that must be spent. You can also target the largest recipients of overall Title I funding. The “Title I Top 100” selection spotlights the schools in the districts that receive the largest allocation of Title I funds.
School District Title I Dollars
The total amount of federal Title I funding for each district is available as a selection criteria. Large districts with many School-Wide program schools receive the bulk of the funding.
Title I Dollars Per Student
Districts can be segmented based on their total Title I funding divided by district enrollment. The School-Wide program schools within high-dollar districts receive the bulk of the district’s federal funding.
Title I Enrollment Percent
Federal Title I funding is targeted to low-income students. Schools and districts with the largest percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches receive the most federal funding. School-Wide Title I schools have 40% or more low-income students.
Title II Part A
These funds are often referred to as state grants to Improving Teacher Quality. The funds are used to help schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality. Funds are distributed on a formula basis. Institutions that receive funding have flexibility in how the funds are spent. In fact, the Department of Education guidance publication states “these agencies have the flexibility to use these funds creatively to address challenges to teacher quality”. Examples given range from teacher preparation, recruitment, hiring, professional development, and teacher retention.
Impact Aidprovides payments to local education agencies that are burdened by federal activities. The funds are used to provide technical assistance and support services to staff. With the exception of construction payments and additional payments for children with disabilities, Impact Aid funds are considered general aid and can be used in whatever manner the district chooses.
Thesefunds must be used only to pay the excess costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities. Allowable expenditures include teachers, administrators, related services providers such as speech therapists, materials, and supplies, professional development, and specialized equipment.
This program assists schools and libraries in acquiring affordable telecommunications and Internet services. This program is available to most public and non-profit K-12 schools as well as public and private libraries. The program discounts available to applicants depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served.
Failing Schools and Failing Districts
Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), institutions that don’t meet improvement goals are commonly called “Failing Schools.” The Department of Education avoids that term. The official classification is “Identified for Improvement.” In most cases, MCH refers to these schools as “Identified.”
NCLB requires every state to set standards for academic improvement (called Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP) in schools that receive federal funds. A school is classified as “Identified for Improvement” when it does not meet its AYP targets for two or more years in a row. Once the school is “Identified,” it is subject to sanctions that grow more demanding each additional year.
Purchasing priorities of these schools are affected by the sanctions placed on their funds. Companies that provide certain products and services can benefit by marketing to schools with these buying needs.
The sanctions for each year include:
First Year: Offer school choice, provide transportation assistance, and set aside 10- 15% of the school’s Title I allocation for staff development.
Second Year: Provide additional instruction for struggling students through “supplemental education services” (SES).
Third Year: Begin implementing major changes to administrative policies, staffing, and/or curriculum.
Fourth Year: Prepare a plan for “Restructuring.”
Fifth Year (Schools in Restructuring): Restructure through one of these means: replacing most of its staff, contracting outside management, reconstituting as a charter school, altering the school’s governance, or turning control over to the state.
Note: The sanctions set out in NCLB only technically apply to schools receiving Title I federal funds, but some states classify and report non-Title I schools as needing “Improvement” if they do not meet their AYP goals for two or more years. Where these non-Title I schools are reported by the state, MCH also classifies these schools as “Identified,” but federal sanctions may not necessarily apply.
A district as a whole can be “Identified for Improvement” if it falls short of AYP standards district-wide. These districts must have their own improvement plans and must use outside resources to provide additional instruction as part of the “supplemental educatoin services” (SES).
Education Turnkey Systems
MCH’s partner, Education TURNKEY Systems, Inc., compiles Title I data including special funding increases, enrollment percentages, dollars per student, and total Title I dollars at districts, schools, and schools with School-Wide programs.