State Funds to Cover Title I Gaps Need A Watchdog in CORE Districts

State Funds to Cover Title I Gaps Need A Watchdog in CORE Districts

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SoCal Parent is an LAUSD budget wonk and past parent of a K-12 child educated in Los Angeles.

Summary: California needs to watchdog state EIA/EDY funds used by CORE Districts who obtained the RTTT federal waiver to supplant legitimate Title I funds programs. In fact, LAUSD has not made its in-lieu-of-SES/PD plan for 2013-14 public and there is reason to be concerned that these crucial funds could be lost this year and beyond to help the neediest kids.

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At its December 13, 2011, meeting, the Board of Education of LAUSD followed the advice of its Superintendent and increased the threshold at which its schools became eligible for Title I, Part A funding from 40% to 50% (item 12 in Board’s agenda).

The change was chronicled by the Los Angeles Times and quoted Board member Dr. Richard Vladovic: “There’s not enough money to go around, so I’ve got to get the most bang… The minute you water that down, then we can’t help anyone. We’ve spread it now probably too thin.”

Because federal law allows the funding of schools eligible for Title I, Part A support to be made from other sources of funding, staff also decided to not fund continuation, options, and special education schools that ranked above the 50% poverty threshold. Staff instead, as stated in p. A-13 of the “Program and Budget Handbook” (Rev. 3/26/2012) of LAUSD’s Federal and State Education Programs Branch, allocated “Economic Impact Aid-Educationally Disadvantaged Youth (EIA-EDY) resources in lieu of Title I funds. Although this funding serves the same purpose as federal Title I, the schools are no longer subject to NCLB, Title I, Part A mandates.” This practice continues to date.

The adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula on July 1, 2013, caused the EIA-EDY funds to be absorbed into the overall LCFF-based budget and LAUSD does not have the flexibility to use these funds in lieu of Title I, Part A revenues for these schools.

Simultaneously, LAUSD obtained a waiver from the US Department of Education from Section 1116 of the NCLB which requires, among other things, that all students be proficient in 2014. The waiver contains several mandates which were presented to Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee of LAUSD’s Board on January 9, 2014.

The Superintendent claims, in a document addressing frequently asked questions about the waiver, that supplemental educational services will be provided by LAUSD instead of outside contractors. These services will be made available as after-school intervention beginning in Spring 2014. The major push will be made during Summer. Combined with Professional Development, these services are budgeted to cost $46.3 million (slide 8 of January 9 presentation). However, it is apparent that these costs have not been encumbered because the “Projected Year Totals” for the Title I program in LAUSD’s First Period Interim Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2013-14 show that $60,430,801 have yet to be allocated.

This indicates that desperately needed services have been suspende for more than half of 2013-14. The new services will only be available to the 208 schools identified in the waiver. Students in the other 406 schools currently receiving Title I, Part A funds are ineligible for these services. Will children attending these schools be receiving services funded by LCFF funds instead? Why can’t they get services that are needed now instead of waiting until summer? Moreover, why are funds granted for 2013-14 going to be spent in 2014-15? Isn’t there a risk that these uses could be disqualified?

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