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Local Flexibility Demonstration ("Local-Flex") (VI-A-3-B)
This program provides school districts with the flexibility to consolidate certain federal education funds and use them for any educational purpose permitted under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in order to assist the districts in making adequate yearly progress and in narrowing achievement gaps. Because local communities are often in the best position to determine the most effective use of educational resources, this program was created to demonstrate how local initiatives can help meet a state's definition of adequate yearly progress and attain specific measurable goals for improving student achievement and narrowing achievement gaps.
WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act
Focuses on What Works
- Requires the use of disaggregated achievement data to gauge success. In their applications, districts must indicate how they will monitor the implementation of their Local-Flex plans in order to ensure effectiveness. For example, a district will only be granted Local-Flex authority if, among other things, its proposal specifies how it will use achievement data and other academic indicators to manage the proposed activities and monitor progress.
Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility
- Permits consolidation of funds across several programs. A district with Local-Flex authority may use consolidated funds for any educational purpose under NCLB in order to meet its state's definition of adequate yearly progress and other specific educational goals set in the Local-Flex agreement. Districts that consolidate funds will not be required to meet any of the specific requirements of the programs included in the consolidation. However, districts still will have to meet the general purposes of those programs.
Increases Accountability for Student Performance
- Requires districts to set student achievement objectives. As part of their Local-Flex plans, school districts must set annual objectives for improving student achievement and eliminating achievement gaps.
- Withdraws flexibility authority if achievement objectives are not met. The U.S. Department of Education must terminate any Local-Flex agreement with a district if that agency fails to meet the state's definition of adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years.
- Requires that parents be informed of the outcomes associated with the flexible use of funds. Each Local-Flex district will be required to disseminate widely to parents and the public an annual report that describes how the district used funds consolidated under the agreement to improve student achievement and reduce achievement gaps.
How It Works
This program allows the secretary of education to enter into local flexibility demonstration agreements with up to 80 local districts in states that do not have State-Flex authority. Local-Flex districts may consolidate and use certain federal funds for any educational purpose authorized under the ESEA. Unlike the district performance agreements under State-Flex (which are between SEAs and districts), the flexibility agreements under Local-Flex are directly between the secretary and districts.Each agreement will be for a period of five years, but that time period may be shortened or extended depending on a district's performance under the agreement.
Local-Flex districts may consolidate and use funds received on a formula basis under any of the following authorities and use those funds for any educational purpose permitted under the ESEA:
- Title II: Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting: Subpart 2 of Part A;
- Title II: Enhancing Education through Technology: Subpart 1 of Part D;
- Title IV: Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities: Subpart 1 of Part A;
- Title V: Innovative Programs: Subpart 1 of Part A.
The secretary will enter into Local-Flex agreements with districts on a competitive basis using a peer-review process. The Department may enter into no more than three Local-Flex agreements per state.
To be considered for Local-Flex, a district must submit to the Department a proposed Local-Flex agreement that contains several elements, including: a five-year plan that outlines strategies for meeting the district's achievement goals; information on how the district will consolidate and use funds received by formula under permitted programs; information on how the district will use baseline data on student academic achievement and data on achievement trends; and information on the district's specific measurable education goals with annual objectives for raising student achievement and narrowing achievement gaps relative to the baseline achievement data.
How It Achieves Quality
In order to ensure quality, the secretary will select Local-Flex districts on a competitive basis using a peer review process. The secretary will enter into Local-Flex agreements only with a district whose application shows substantial promise of helping it to meet the state's definition of adequate yearly progress and state specific goals for improving academic achievement and eliminating achievement gaps. If a district fails to meet the state's definition of adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years, the Department will terminate the Local-Flex agreement with that district.
How Performance Is Measured
At the end of each year of the Local-Flex agreement, the district must prepare a report that describes how the district used the funds consolidated under the agreement to improve student achievement and reduce achievement gaps. The district submits this report to the secretary and must widely disseminate it to parents and the general public. If a Local-Flex district does not make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years during the term of the agreement, the secretary must terminate the agreement.