Hawaiʻi to Receive Over $54M in Federal Aid For Schools

June 13, 2020, 1:41 PM HST · Updated June 13, 1:41 PM
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ʻĪao Intermediate School. PC: file photo.

This week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced that Hawai‘i will be receiving over $54 million in Title I, Part A federal aid for schools to help improve teaching and learning opportunities for at-risk students, especially those in low-income communities. The first round of funds will be dispersed in July with the remaining funds, as adjusted, becoming available in October.

“Many of our keiki face challenges outside of their control and that require support in our schools. We have worked to ensure these funds are delivered to our teachers to help provide them with the tools they need to meet the educational needs of all our keiki, providing them with a strong foundation in learning,” Gabbard said in a press release.

Background: The Hawai‘i Department of Education’s (HIDOE) 256 K-12 public schools and 34 public charter schools, which are located on seven of Hawai‘i’s eight main islands, collectively make up the 10th largest school system in the nation, serving approximately 180,000 students. During the 2019-2020 school year, nearly 47% of students were considered economically challenged.

Of the $16.3 billion appropriated for Title I, Part A across the country, approximately $5.5 billion will become available on July 1, 2020, and the remainder will become available on October 1, 2020. Hawai‘i will receive just over $54 million in Title I, Part A funds.

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Funding is distributed first to state educational agencies (SEAs), which then allocate funds to local educational agencies (LEAs), which in turn dispense funds to public schools in need. In Hawai‘i, according to the state’s Title I Equity Plan, the HIDOE is both the SEA and LEA with no separate governance.

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) provides grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to provide financial assistance to school districts for services that improve the teaching and learning of children at risk of not meeting challenging State academic standards, especially those children who reside in areas with high concentrations of children from low-income families.

There are two types of assistance that can be provided by Title I funds. The first is a “schoolwide program” in which schools can dispense resources in a flexible manner. The second is a “targeted assistance program” which allows schools to identify students who are failing or at risk of failing. Assistance for school improvement includes government grants, allocations, and reallocations based on the school’s willingness to commit to improving their standing in the educational system. Each educational institution requesting these grants must submit an application that describes how these funds will be used in restructuring their school for academic improvement

ED allocates Title I, Part A funds to LEAs through four statutory formulas—Basic Grants, Concentration Grants, Targeted Grants, and Education Finance Incentive Grants.

  1. The Basic Grant provides funds to LEAs through a statutory formula based primarily on the number of children, ages 5 through 17, from low-income families in each LEA
  2. The Concentration Grant provides funds to LEAs that meet the Basic Grants eligibility criteria and in which the number of children counted under the Basic Grant formula exceeds 6,500 children or 15 percent of the total population ages 5 through 17
  3. The Targeted Grant formula uses the same data elements as Basic and Concentration Grants. ED then adjusts the number of formula children to give greater weight to those LEAs with higher numbers or percentages of formula children. In order to receive a Targeted Grant, the number of formula children in an LEA counted for Basic Grant formula purposes must be at least 10 and equal or exceed five percent of the LEA’s total population of children ages 5 through 17.
  4. The Education Finance Incentive Grant (EFIG) formula distributes funds to States based on (1) an effort factor that measures a State’s effort to provide financial support for education compared to its relative wealth as measured by its per capita income, and (2) an equity factor that measures the degree to which education expenditures vary among school districts within a State. The EFIG formula benefits States that spend more money on education relative to their wealth and States that have a greater degree of equalized education expenditures among their LEAs.

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