As we reported earlier in the week, several Indiana charters have raised concerns recently about significant decreases in their Title I money for the current school year. Many are upset that their funding has shrunk below levels allowed in federal statute for “local education agencies,” a label they argue should apply to them.
In addition, some charter leaders say their neighboring traditional public schools saw an increase in Title I funding, which leads to questions about how the entitlement is calculated on the state level. Many are worried about the lack of clarity.
IDOE staff has asked the U.S. Department of Education to advise on this point. In particular, the department is asking about the calculation of Title I funds for charter schools “in light of an overall reduction of Title I dollars and a significant decrease in the Census Poverty Count for several charter schools,” according to a statement.
“Title I dollars are provided by the federal government to help schools that have high levels of poverty,” the statement reads. “Generally speaking, the Census Poverty Count is one of the major factors in the formula that determines how much a school receives in its Title I allocation. This year, many schools saw a reduction in their Census Poverty Count, which could lead to a reduction in their Title I allocation.”
The IDOE will communicate with both charter and traditional public schools once it receives further federal guidance.