Some Districts Gain Title I Funds
Sep 22, 2008
As the 2008-2009 school year began, more schools and districts across the country received increases in their Title I funds than in recent years. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the largest source of federal funding for low-income students. In FY 2008, Congress appropriated an 8 percent increase in Title I grants to states, the first significant increase in three years. The distribution of Title I funding to states is based on a complex formula that includes an annual updating of the number of low-income children in each state, based on estimates by the U.S. Census. According to the Center on Education Policy, every state (with the exception of Wisconsin) received an increase in Title I funding in 2008. Vermont, North Carolina, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Maine received the largest percent gains. Still, due to shifts in low-income populations, some school districts received fewer funds this year. Among those were Chicago Public Schools and Gwinnett County, Georgia, school districts that in recent years have used Title I to support early childhood programs.
CLASP's research shows that schools and districts across the country use Title I to support high-quality early education for children from birth to the age of school entry. While previous funding cuts and the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind law have in some cases constrained the ability of schools and districts to use Title I for early education, the availability of new dollars in some districts may create opportunities for expansion. Moreover, Title I funds are flexible and can be layered with other funding sources and be used in community-based settings. That means that early childhood champions will want to make the case now for quality investments and work with school districts and others in their community to incorporate Title I funds into their long-term strategies for funding early childhood programs.