HISD reported having 11 schools that don’t receive Title I funds and 252 schools that do. According to the Department of Education, HISD spends 19 percent less per student on its Title I schools.
Districts shortchanging poor students, study finds
More than 40 percent of U.S. school districts are short-changing campuses with high concentrations of low-income children, according to a federal study released Wednesday. The Houston Independent School District is one of the biggest offenders, according to the report from the U.S. Department of Education, and proposed changes to federal education law could cost HISD. The study compares how much districts spend on schools with high and low numbers of poor children. Schools with more low-income students receive federal funding, called Title I, that is supposed to provide those campuses with extra resources. The new analysis found that many districts aren’t paying their fair share of local and state funds to those schools, so campuses with fewer poor children end up with more money. “That may be a shock for Houston, as it may be for other districts,” said Russlynn Ali, the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights. “That’s often a common myth, that we’re spending more on Title I schools.” HISD reported having 11 schools that don’t receive Title I funds and 252 schools that do. According to the Department of Education, HISD spends 19 percent less per student on its Title I schools. The disparity is due in part to HISD having a small number of non-Title I schools that are well funded. The study is unique because it looks at actual spending in schools. For example, each teacher’s salary is included instead of using an average salary. Using an average “masks the fact that schools serving disadvantaged students often have less experienced teachers who are paid less,” the Education Department said in a news release. “It also undermines the purpose of Title I funding, as districts can use federal funds to fill state and local funding gaps instead of providing additional services to students in poverty.” President Barack Obama’s administration has proposed closing the “loophole” in federal law to require that districts use actual expenditures to calculate school funding. Under one proposal, HISD would have to spend more in 72 percent of its schools because of the current funding gap, according to the study. In comparison, Los Angeles would have to boost funding in 19 percent of its schools. As one HISD official put it in an email, “Houston, we have a problem.” Here’s the part of the study that mentions HISD. USDOE _TitleI
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