April 1, 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides significant new funding for programs under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Specifically, the ARRA provides $10 billion in additional Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Title I, Part A funds to local education agencies (LEAs) for schools that have high concentrations of students from families that live in poverty in order to help improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet state academic achievement standards. These funds create an unprecedented opportunity for educators to implement innovative strategies in Title I schools that improve education for at-risk students and close the achievement gaps while also stimulating the economy. The additional resources will enable LEAs to serve more students beyond the approximately 20 million currently served and boost the quality of teaching and learning. Final allocations of Title I, Part A ARRA funds to each state and LEA are available at: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/tables.html?src=rt.
This document provides states and LEAs with basic information regarding how and when Title I, Part A ARRA funds will be awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. Additional guidance regarding these funds, including how they should be used, the submission of waiver requests, and the reporting requirements, will be posted on www.ed.gov. The Department also will provide information about Title I School Improvement grants, for which a $3 billion appropriation will be made available beginning fall 2009.
Title I, Part A ARRA funds are a key resource, consistent with statutory and regulatory requirements, for carrying out the ARRA principles described below.
Overview of ARRA
Principles: The overall goals of the ARRA are to stimulate the economy in the short term and invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of our nation. The success of the education part of the ARRA will depend on the shared commitment and responsibility of students, parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, education boards, college presidents, state school chiefs, governors, local officials, and federal officials. Collectively, we must advance the ARRA's short-term economic goals by investing quickly, and we must support the ARRA's long-term economic goals by investing wisely, using these funds to strengthen education, drive reforms, and improve results for students from early learning through college. Four principles guide the distribution and use of ARRA funds:
Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs. ARRA funds will be distributed quickly to states, LEAs and other entities in order to avert layoffs and create jobs. States and LEAs in turn are urged to move rapidly to develop plans for using funds, consistent with the law's reporting and accountability requirements, and to promptly begin spending funds to help drive the nation's economic recovery.
b. Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. ARRA funds should be used to improve student achievement and help close the achievement gap. In addition, the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) program requires progress on four reforms authorized under the bipartisan ESEA and the America Competes Act of 2007:
Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
Establishing pre-K-to-college-and-career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;
Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.
Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability. To prevent fraud, waste and abuse, support the most effective uses of ARRA funds and accurately measure and track results, recipients must publicly report on how funds are used. Due to the unprecedented scope and importance of this investment, ARRA funds are subject to additional and more rigorous reporting requirements than normally apply to grant recipients.
Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the "funding cliff." ARRA represents a historic infusion of funds that is expected to be temporary. Depending on the program, these funds are available for only two to three years. These funds should be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the funding expires.
Awarding Title I, Part A ARRA Funds
The Department awarded 50 percent of each state's Title I, Part A ARRA funds on April 1, 2009. These funds were awarded under each state's existing approved ESEA Consolidated State Application and the provision of the certification required by section 1607 of the ARRA. In order to receive the remaining Title I, Part A ARRA funds, a state must submit, for review and approval by the Department, additional information that addresses how the state will meet the accountability and reporting requirements in section 1512 of the ARRA.
The Title I, Part A ARRA awards are in addition to the regular FY 2009 Title I, Part A grant awards that the Department plans to make on July 1 and Oct. 1, 2009. Together, these four grant awards (i.e., the two phases of the Title I, Part A ARRA funds and the two phases of the regular FY 2009 Title I, Part A funds) constitute a state's total FY 2009 Title I, Part A allocation.
The fact that Title I, Part A ARRA funds are FY 2009 funds does not preclude a state from awarding some or all of these funds to an LEA on the basis of an amended FY 2008 LEA application.
In accordance with the goals of the ARRA, the Department encourages states to award Title I, Part A ARRA funds to their LEAs as quickly as possible, consistent with prudent management, so that LEAs can begin using the funds. Similarly, an LEA should use its Title I, Part A ARRA funds expeditiously but prudently. Note that, in the absence of a waiver, an LEA must obligate at least 85 percent of its total FY 2009 Title I, Part A funds (including ARRA funds) by Sept. 30, 2010. Any remaining FY 2009 Title I, Part A funds will be available for obligation until Sept. 30, 2011.
LEA Eligibility for Title I, Part A ARRA Funds
An LEA is eligible to receive Title I, Part A ARRA funds if it is eligible under the statutory eligibility criteria established in sections 1125(a)(1) and 1125A(c) of the ESEA for the Targeted and Education Finance Incentive Grant formulas of Title I, Part A.
Reservation of Title I, Part A ARRA Funds
A state must reserve 4 percent of its total FY 2009 Title I, Part A allocation, including Title I, Part A ARRA funds, for school improvement activities under section 1003(a) of the ESEA. Of this 4 percent of funds, at least 95 percent must be allocated directly to LEAs for school improvement activities.
A State may reserve funds for State administration from its total FY 2009 Title I, Part A allocation, including Title I, Part A ARRA funds, provided the amount does not exceed the amount allowable under section 1004(b) of the ESEA. As it did last year, the Department will provide a table showing the base each state must use in determining the amount it may reserve for state administration.
The Secretary intends to propose, for public comment, regulations to adjust the limitation on state administration expenditures in section 1004(b) of the ESEA to help states defray the costs of the ARRA data collection requirements.
Uses of Title I, Part A ARRA Funds
LEAs must use their Title I, Part A ARRA funds consistent with the Title I, Part A statutory and regulatory requirements, including the requirements to provide equitable services to eligible private school students. Uses should be aligned with the core goals of the ARRA to save and create jobs and to advance reforms consistent with the requirements of Title I.
Because the ARRA funds constitute a large increase in Title I, Part A funding that will likely not be available at the same level beyond Sept. 30, 2011, schools and LEAs have a unique opportunity to improve teaching and learning and should focus these funds on short-term investments with the potential for long-term benefits, rather than make ongoing commitments that they might not be able to sustain once ARRA funds are expended.
Congress in its ARRA conference report indicated its intent that grantees use some of their Title I funds for early childhood programs and activities. The Administration is committed over the long term to expanding early childhood educational opportunities and creating a more seamless web of high-quality services for parents and children. In the coming weeks, the Department will provide additional guidance on opportunities to use ARRA funds to expand high-quality early childhood educational services.
Examples of potential uses of Title I, Part A ARRA funds that are allowable under Title I and consistent with ARRA principles:
Establishing a system for identifying and training highly effective teachers to serve as instructional leaders in Title I schoolwide programs and modifying the school schedule to allow for collaboration among the instructional staff;
Establishing intensive, year-long teacher training for all teachers and the principal in a Title I elementary school in corrective action or restructuring status in order to train teachers to use a new reading curriculum that aggressively works on improving students' oral language skills and vocabulary or, in some other way, builds teachers' capacity to address academic achievement problems;
Strengthening and expanding early childhood education by providing resources to align a district-wide Title I pre-K program with state early learning standards and state content standards for grades K–3 and, if there is a plan for sustainability beyond 2010–11, expanding high-quality Title I pre-K programs to larger numbers of young children;
Providing new opportunities for Title I schoolwide programs for secondary school students to use high-quality, online courseware as supplemental learning materials for meeting mathematics and science requirements;
Using longitudinal data systems to drive continuous improvement efforts focused on improving achievement in Title I schools;
Providing professional development to teachers in Title I targeted assistance programs on the use of data to inform and improve instruction for Title I-eligible students;
Using reading or mathematics coaches to provide professional development to teachers in Title I targeted assistance programs; and
Establishing or expanding fiscally sustainable extended-learning opportunities for Title I-eligible students in targeted assistance programs, including activities provided before school, after school, during the summer, or over an extended school year.
Invitation for Waivers
The Secretary will consider a request for a waiver with regard to the use of Title I, Part A ARRA funds:
of one or more of the "set-aside" requirements in Title I, Part A that apply to the use of funds by LEAs;
to calculate the per-pupil amount (PPA) for supplemental educational services (SES) based on an LEA's FY 2009 Title I, Part A allocation without regard to some or all of the ARRA funds;
to allow a state to grant its LEAs a waiver of the carryover limitation in section 1127 of Title I more than once every three years; or
of the Title I, Part A maintenance-of-effort requirement (see below).
Maintenance of effort: With prior approval from the Secretary, a state or LEA may treat SFSF funds used for elementary or secondary education as non-federal funds for purposes of determining whether the state or LEA has met the Title I, Part A maintenance of effort requirement. This may reduce the incidence of LEAs failing to maintain fiscal effort and the need to seek a waiver from the Department.
Supplement, not supplant: The Department may not waive the Title I, Part A "supplement, not supplant" requirement. Note, however, that in certain circumstances, including cases of severe budget shortfalls, an LEA may be able to establish compliance with the "supplement, not supplant" requirement, even if it uses Title I, Part A funds to pay for allowable costs that were previously paid for with state or local funds. (For additional information, see Title I Fiscal Issues Non-Regulatory Guidance, available at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/fiscalguid.pdf [PDF, 256K].)
Comparability: The Department may not waive the Title I, Part A comparability requirement.
Each state and LEA is responsible for ensuring that Title I, Part A ARRA funds are used prudently and in accordance with the law.
Each LEA receiving Title I, Part A ARRA funds must report a school-by-school listing of per-pupil educational expenditures from state and local sources for the 2008-09 school year. Further information will be provided in forthcoming Department guidance.
The President and the Secretary are committed to ensuring that ARRA dollars are spent with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. The Administration will post reports on ARRA expenditures on the recovery.gov Web site.
The Department will provide regular updates as additional information regarding Title I, Part A ARRA funds becomes available.
The Department will also provide information on the government-wide data collection and reporting requirements under the ARRA as this information becomes available.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email them to TitleI.ARRA@ed.gov.