Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) supplement State and local education funding for low-achieving children, especially in high-poverty schools, to help them master challenging curricula and learn to the same high State standards that other children are expected to meet. The program provides the extra academic support and learning opportunities that are often required to help disadvantaged students catch up with their classmates or make significant academic progress. For example, Title I funds may support extended-day kindergarten programs, learning laboratories in mathematics, science, and computers, and other arrangements to extend and accelerate academic progress.
The 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) extensively revised Title I and other Federal elementary and secondary education programs. Major reauthorization changes now encourage States and communities to integrate their Title I programs with wider State and local reforms stressing high standards and challenging curricula. Each State must establish or adopt a set of challenging content and performance standards to be used as a basis for Title I reforms at the school district and school levels. All Title I instruction, assessment, and accountability will, over time, align with the standards.
In addition, the reauthorized program puts greater emphasis on: overall improvements in teaching and learning at the school-building level; program coordination by school districts (LEAs); greater accountability for student achievement in exchange for local flexibility to use funds in ways that make the most sense for students; improved targeting of Title I funds to the neediest schools; and partnerships between schools and communities to support higher achievement for all children.
How Title I funds are allocated
Federal allocations are based primarily on the number of children from low-income families in each LEA, using the most recent estimates provided by the Census Bureau, and weighted by per-pupil expenditures for education in the State. LEAs are also required to base within-district allocations to schools on poverty data. The authorizing statute gives States the flexibility to use alternative poverty data to redistribute allocations to LEAs with fewer than 20,000 residents.
Prior to FY 1999, LEA Grants allocations were based on county-level poverty data, and States made sub-allocations from the county to the LEA level based on the best available data on the number of poor children.
LEA Grants are allocated through two formulas: Basic Grants and Concentration Grants. Basic Grants are allocated to LEAs with at least 10 poor children counted for formula allocation purposes who make up at least 2 percent of the LEA's 5-17 population, while Concentration Grants provide additional funds to LEAs where the number of formula children exceeds 6,500 or 15 percent of the total school-age population.
Beginning in FY 2000, a portion of funds appropriated for Title I Grants to LEAs is reserved for Title I Accountability Grants, which are allocated to each State according to their respective shares of regular LEA Grants funds. States then sub-allocate these funds to support school improvement efforts in LEAs with schools that have been identified as needing improvement under the Title I statute.
State reservation of funds for drop-out prevention and intervention programs
The Part D Subpart 2 Local Agency program requires each State educational agency to reserve, from its Title I Grants to LEAs allocation, funds generated by the number of children in locally operated institutions for delinquent youth. Funds are awarded to LEAs with high proportions of youth in local correctional facilities for drop-out prevention and intervention programs for neglected, delinquent, and other categories of at-risk youth.
Local Agency programs, operated by LEAs, provide services to help youth in local corrections institutions maintain and increase their academic skills, and also to prevent other students from dropping out of school. Activities may include vocational education, special education, career counseling, and coordination with local health and social services; drop-out prevention programs may take place in public or private schools.