What is Title I?
Title I is a federal grant program designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty. The Title I program originated in 1965 when Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and was reauthorized in 2001 with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. Title I is one of the oldest and largest federal programs supporting elementary and secondary education in existence, and over 90% of the school systems in the United States receive some sort of Title I funding.
The Title I program provides financial assistance through State educational agencies (SEAs) to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards. Title I reaches about 12.5 million students enrolled in both public and private schools. Title I funds may be used for children from preschool age to high school, but most of the students served (65 percent) are in grades 1 through 6; another 12 percent are in preschool and kindergarten programs.
How can Title I funds help my child and my child’s school?
· Technology (Software and resources used throughout the school and from home.)
· Instructional Supplies (To provide an enriched academic environment.)
· Parent Involvement Nights (Math Night, Reading Night, etc.)
· Professional Development (Providing teachers with additional instruction.)
· Staffing Options (Partial or full funding of instructional personnel.)
· Provide tutoring and intervention programs (During or after the school day.)
General Title I Information For Parents
- Caldwell County Schools’ Title I Team
- Dr. Lesa Widener, Director: Oversees Title I Program for the district, Budget, Planning, Allocations, and Determines Allowable Expenditures
- Susan Walker, School Improvement and Professional Development Coordinator: Monitors and Provides Support for NCStar (online School Improvement Planning System), Coordinates Professional Development, and Monitors Title I Documentation by schools
- Crystal Williams, Administrative Assistant for Title I: Handles all aspects of an administrative assistant for the Title I Program, Budget Specialist for Title I (Creates and Monitors Budgets), Approves Purchase Orders, Monitors Bookkeeper Fund Reports, and Works with Schools to ensure all expenditures are allowable, reasonable, and necessary to be compliant with Federal Guidance.
- Overview of Title I
- Title I School allocations are based directly certified data gather through Child Nutrition
- Allocations may be different from year to year depending on the directly certified data that is captured at a specific time usually April 1. There is no such thing as “cuts” with this funding source since it is an entitlement grant whose amount varies based on multiple variables.
- Receiving and agreeing to use Title I funds comes with restrictions and reporting that is necessary for a school system to meet compliance.
- Currently, all elementary, middle, K-8 schools and Gateway are Title I Schoolwide Schools. This means the total allocation received from the state is assigned to 20 individual schools each year. If a school drops below 35% economically disadvantaged status, they can no longer receive Title I funds. If a school that is not being served reaches 75% economically disadvantaged status, they MUST be served.
- The key components of Title I include: parent and family engagement, highly qualified teachers, and the use of research/evidence-based programs and materials.
- Funding Information
- Funds are not released for expenditures through Title I until the state has approved the district’s plan and budget. After the budget has been posted, the Title I Director will notify principals and bookkeepers that funds may be encumbered if expenses are directly related to School Improvement Plan Goals. The exception is costs associated with payroll codes that began July 1. Typically, funds are dropped sometime in October depending on when the LEA plans have been reviewed and approved.
- Planning is a strict requirement that must be explicit and intentional. Title I funding is not a “pot of money” for general expenses. All purchases must be detailed with any information needed so that there will be “no questions” left unanswered for an outside auditor when reviewing Purchase Orders.
- Purchases made with Title I funds must be approved by the LEA Title I Director. All purchases must pass the three-prong test: are they allowable, reasonable, and necessary?
- Audit exceptions can result in the payback of funds.
- Title I funds cannot be reimbursed at any time. There are no direct pays with Title I funds in Caldwell County Schools.