What is Title I and how are these funds distributed to different types of school districts?
Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies for children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
The majority of Title I funds are allocated at the district level in all states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, based on mathematical formulas involving the number of children eligible for Title I support and the state per pupil cost of education.1
Title I funds are currently allocated through four grants. While mathematical formulas for all four grants are fundamentally based on the count of formula-eligible children and several shared provisions, each grant has a unique, complex series of algorithms for determining allocations for that grant.
The total Title I allocations per formula-eligible child varied among the 12 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) geographic locales, which were based on a district’s population and proximity to an urbanized area. The locales with the highest total Title I final allocations per formula-eligible child were the most densely and least densely populated areas: large cities ($1,466) and remote rural areas ($1,313). Districts in fringe rural areas ($1,070), fringe towns ($1,088), and small suburban areas ($1,102) had the lowest total Title I final allocations per formula-eligible child.
Title I, Part A total final allocation per formula-eligible child, by school district characteristics: 2015
1 To create the poverty quarters, all school districts are ranked, from the highest to the lowest, according to their percentage of formula-eligible 5- to 17-year-old children. Districts are divided into quarters based on the percentage of all 5- to 17-year-old children they serve, such that each quarter includes districts serving 25 percent of the 5- to 17-year-old children in the United States (including Puerto Rico).
School districts in the highest poverty quarter (i.e., the poorest districts) had the highest total Title I allocations per formula-eligible child, and districts in the lowest poverty quarter (i.e., the least-poor districts) had the lowest total Title I allocations per formula-eligible child. School districts in the highest poverty quarter had the highest total Title I final allocation per formula-eligible child ($1,381), and districts in the lowest poverty quarter had the lowest allocation ($1,023).
School districts with a 5- to 17-year-old population of less than 300 (the smallest districts) had the highest total Title I allocation per formula-eligible child ($1,442) compared with districts of all other population sizes; districts with a population of 25,000 or more (the largest districts) had the second-highest allocation ($1,323). The final Title I allocation per formula-eligible child was lowest for districts with a population of 5,000 to 9,999 ($1,107).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Study of the Title I, Part A Grant Program Mathematical Formulas (NCES 2019-016), Executive Summary, Introduction, and Chapter 1.
1 Federal Title I funds are allocated to districts but given to states who can reserve funds at the state level. Based on certain criteria, states are also able to make different allocations to their districts than the federal allocation. See https://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html.
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