School improvement funding has undergone a major overhaul, courtesy of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) education law. The changes, which will be rolled out in the fall of 2017, are expected to bring greater flexibility to states and districts as they strive to turnaround low-performing schools. But, the modifications also have funding implications that impact schools and providers alike.
Let’s start with a quick re-cap. Previously, funds for school improvement were awarded via formula to states as a separate pool of funds called the School Improvement Grants (SIG), under a sub-set of Title I called Section 1003(g). Each state then distributed the SIG funds to the lowest-performing schools through a competitive process. But SIG schools had to agree to use the funds to implement one of several specific intervention models. And, there was a cap on the amount of funding a single district could receive—regardless of how many low-performing schools were within its borders.
Now, under ESSA, school improvement no longer has its own separate funding authorization. Instead, states are required to reserve 7% of their general Title I funds for school improvement activities. Furthermore, the federally-prescribed intervention models are no longer mandated, giving states and districts the flexibility to work together to implement programs that meet the unique needs of each low-performing school. Finally, the annual per-district funding cap is gone.
These changes are important to follow because the sum of school improvement funding in the United States each year is over $1 billion—a sizeable pot of money.
More Flexibility in Methods & More Funding for Lowest-Performing Districts
Under ESSA, each state will determine how to competitively dole out its share of funds—and the parameters around how those funds will be used. Expect to see wide variations in this process from state to state.
Also, because there is no longer a cap on the amount of funding that can be awarded to school districts, expect to see increases in school improvement funding in districts with high numbers of low-performing schools. This will be a state-by-state decision, but could significantly impact school improvement distributions in many regions.
Listed below are examples of how several states are rolling out new school improvement plans.
Nevada: More Districts and Vendors Implementing Improvement Activities
In Nevada, the ESSA-related shift means more districts will receive improvement funds and more vendors will participate in improvement activities. Nevada has more than doubled the number of districts receiving funding for school improvement activities. In the previous SIG funding cycle, only five districts received funds. But starting in the summer of 2017, there are 11 districts that have been awarded funds through a competitive grant cycle for school improvement. During the application process, the state also held match-making events to pair vetted non-profit organizations with districts. In the past, one sole nonprofit worked with all five Nevada school improvement districts. Now, there are 10 providers working with various districts.
New York: Focus on Tried-and-true Strategies & Diversity
New York intends to identify a select number of school-improvement strategies to offer to low-performing schools. Data from the state’s current work with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is expected to influence the chosen strategies. The state has also committed to using a portion of its Title I school improvement funds on activities that increase diversity and reduce racial/ethnic and socio-economic isolation in schools.
Washington: Formula Distribution & Flexible Interventions
As outlined in the state’s draft ESSA plan, Washington will distribute school improvement funds via formula to schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support. The intent is to offer funding to implement interventions to meet the unique needs and characteristics of each school.
Want to know more?
RFPMatch.com offers customized insight into school improvement. Contact us today to learn more about how these changes could impact your key states and partner districts.
Dr. Paula Love
President of RFPMatch.com
Twitter: @RFPDoctor & @GrantsBuzz
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RFPMatch.com acquires education funding service GrantsAlert.com
NEWTON, N.C.—March 16, 2017—RFPMatch.com is pleased to announce the acquisition of GrantsAlert.com, a free service offering up-to-date information about education funding opportunities. This acquisition brings together the two top education funding matchmakers to deliver the best available knowledge and insight to the education community and the sector that serves it.
“We look forward to working with and supporting the educators who rely on GrantsAlert.com,” Dr. Paula Love, President of RFPMatch.com, said. “My team is excited to offer this powerful tool for America’s educators and workforce development folks who need information and guidance.”
GrantsAlert.com, founded by Joe Mizereck in 1996, has helped thousands of K-12 teachers and schools find funding to enrich classroom learning. The site offers free up-to-date alerts on corporate, foundation, state, and federal education funding opportunities.
“I cannot wait to watch all this unfold and know that I am making a great decision in handing my business over to Dr. Love,” Mizereck said. “She shares my passion to make a difference and to do good by helping others do good.”
Founded in 2005, RFPMatch.com delivers funding expertise and grant strategies to state and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and non-profit and for-profit education organizations. RFPMatch.com offers a comprehensive solution for locating and filtering grants and RFP opportunities, delivering the insight schools need to fund education needs and businesses need to grow. RFPMatch harnesses the power of deep web research technology and combines it with professional expertise to bring clients actionable funding insights specific to the education industry.
Together, the two services form an ideal team of funding matchmakers for the education community. GrantsAlert.com will continue to operate as a free grants service, sharing up-to-the-minute alerts on its website as www.grantalerts.com and on Twitter @GrantsBuzz. RFPMatch.com shares insights on funding news, trends, RFPs, and grants and is available for funding support services.
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