Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A - Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies - April 1996

A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Questions and Answers

Children to be Counted

Q1. What data must an SEA use to allocate funds to LEAs?

A. An SEA must count the number of children 5 through 17 years of age from low-income families and the number of children residing in local institutions for neglected children.

Q2. What low-income data may the SEA use to allocate Basic Grant, Concentration Grant, and Targeted Grant funds to LEAs?

A. The SEA may use any one of the following to obtain counts of children from low-income families:

An SEA's flexibility in selecting the low-income data allows the SEA to use data more current or accurate than the census counts the Department uses to determine county amounts. Although SEAs possess broad discretion in selecting these data, they must further the purposes of Title I, Part A by directing funds to high-poverty areas. If an SEA decides to use data that are different from those used in the county allocation formula, the SEA must ensure that it is using the best available data on the number of children from low-income families.

Q3. May an SEA use a variety of sources of low-income data within the State to distribute the various county allocations among LEAs?

A. No. In determining the number of children from low-income families in its LEAs, the SEA must use the same measure of low-income throughout the State.

Q4. May an SEA use a combination of low-income factors if these data are used consistently for allocation purposes throughout the State?

A. Yes. For instance, a State might choose to use both decennial census data and current free-lunch data. The SEA must weight the data, however, so that LEA allocations are not determined on the basis of duplicate counts of children.

Neglected Children

Q5. If an LEA is unable or unwilling to provide services to children in local institutions for neglected children, may it retain the funds that were allocated on the basis of these children?

A. No. If an LEA is unwilling or unable to provide services to neglected children, the SEA must reduce the LEA's allocation by the amount generated by the neglected children.

Q6. May the SEA transfer these funds to another LEA?

A. Yes. These funds may be assigned to another State agency or LEA that agrees to assume educational responsibility for the neglected children.

Q7. May the SEA retain these funds?

A. Yes. If the SEA assumes educational responsibility for the neglected children, it is entitled to the funds generated by these children.

Q8. If neither the SEA nor another agency is willing to assume educational responsibility for neglected children, what happens to the funds?

A. The SEA must reduce the LEA's allocation by the amount that was based on neglected children. These funds would lapse and not be available for reallocation to other LEAs.

Q9. If an institution closes and the children are transferred to an institution in another LEA, must the SEA transfer the funds to the LEA in which the children now reside?

A. Yes. The SEA must adjust the allocations of the two LEAs to reflect the transfer.

Statewide Distribution

Q10. Under what circumstances may SEAs allocate funds directly to LEAs without regard to county allocations determined by the Secretary?

A. In any State in which a large number of LEAs overlap county boundaries, the SEA may apply to the Secretary for the authority to make Basic and Targeted Grant allocations directly to LEAs without regard to counties. In its application to the Secretary, the SEA must identify the data on children from low-income families it will use to allocate funds to LEAs and provide assurance that:

Q11. May an SEA allocate Concentration Grants directly to LEAs without regard to counties?

A. An SEA may make allocations directly to LEAs without regard to counties only if it is a State receiving a minimum Concentration Grant allocation from the Secretary.

Special Circumstances

Q12. Are there special circumstances that allow an SEA to make adjustments when determining final LEA allocations?

A. Yes. An SEA may adjust allocations it makes to LEAs for Basic Grants and Concentration Grants where (1) an LEA serves a substantial number of children within the same geographic area as another LEA and (2) an LEA is merged or consolidated, or a portion of the district is transferred to another LEA.

Q13. How must an SEA treat LEAs that contain two or more counties in their entirety?

A. Section 1124(c)(2) of Title I requires that an SEA treat each county as if it were a separate LEA. The LEA in turn must distribute to schools in each county within the LEA a share of the LEA's total grant that is no less than the county's share of the population counts used to calculate the LEA's grant.

Basic Grants

Q14. What data does an SEA use to determine whether an LEA has 10 formula children to qualify for Basic Grants?

A. In determining whether an LEA qualifies for Basic Grants, the SEA uses the count of children ages 5 through 17 years of age from low-income families that it has selected to use to allocate funds to LEAs plus the number of children residing in local institutions for neglected children.

Concentration Grants

Q15. For 1995-96 are SEAs required to use the count of children to determine LEA eligibility and allocate funds for Concentration Grants as they use to allocate Basic Grant funds?

A. Yes. To determine LEA eligibility and to allocate Concentration Grant funds, SEAs must use the same count of children used to allocate Basic Grant funds and determine eligibility.

Q16. If an LEA overlaps county boundaries and one of the counties is eligible, how does the SEA determine the LEA's eligibility to receive Concentration Grant funds and the amount of such funds for the LEA?

A. An LEA's eligibility is determined based on its total number of formula children, including those in all counties in which the LEA is located. The LEA is eligible if the number exceeds 6,500 or 15 percent of all children in the LEA. If the eligible LEA is located in part in an eligible county and in part in an ineligible county, the LEA is entitled to a proportionate amount of the eligible county's allocation based only on its number of formula children in that county compared to the total number of formula children in all eligible LEAs in the county. The children in the part of the LEA located in the ineligible county would not generate funds for the LEA.

Q17. Is an SEA required to reserve 2 percent of its Concentration Grant allocation for eligible LEAs that are located in ineligible counties?

A. No. This is an SEA option. The SEA may choose to reserve 2 percent, an amount less than 2 percent, or no funds at all.

Q18. If an SEA reserves Concentration Grant funds, must it distribute the reserved amount among all eligible LEAs in the State that are located in ineligible counties?

A. No. The SEA may rank order these LEAs according to the number or percentage of formula children and distribute the reserved funds among the selected LEAs it plans to serve in rank order based on their counts of formula children.

Q19. Is there an LEA hold-harmless provision for Concentration Grant funds for 1995-96?

A. No. Section 1122(c)(2) of Title I provides a hold harmless of 100 percent of the previous year's amount for 1996-97 only.

Hold-Harmless Provisions

Q20. If an LEA loses eligibility for Basic Grants in 1995-96, does the hold-harmless provision apply?

A. No. An LEA must be eligible in order for the hold-harmless provision to apply.

Reallocation

Q21. How does an SEA reallocate funds?

A. Section 1126(c) of Title I requires that an SEA reallocate Part A funds on a timely basis to LEAs in the State that need additional funds in accordance with criteria established by the SEA. Funds available for reallocation may include:

Waivers

Q22. May the provisions related to the allocation of Basic and Concentration Grant funds to LEAs be waived?

A. No. Section 14401(c) of ESEA prohibits the Secretary from waiving any statutory or regulatory provisions related to the allocation or distribution of funds to States, LEAs, or other recipients of funds under ESEA.
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