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Published in Print: February 24, 1999, as Department Set To Use Revised Title I Estimate

Department Set To Use Revised Title I Estimate

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The Department of Education will allocate Title I money to districts this year using 1995 school-poverty estimates from the Census Bureau, as recommended by a recent National Academy of Sciences report.

The change was announced in a Feb. 12 memo to the chief state school officers. The department will also base its grant awards on district, rather than county, poverty data.

Under the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the department is required to use the most up-to-date poverty data available to allot this year's $7.6 billion in annual Title I grants. Previously, the department relied on data from the most recent U.S. Census, which is taken once every decade.

This year, estimated grant awards will be announced in April, and final awards will be released in June, Gerald N. Tirozzi, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, wrote in the memo to the chiefs.

Previously, Congress adopted "hold harmless" language mandating that the switch to the newer poverty estimates would not cause states to lose federal funds in 1999-2000--the first school year after the change.

"We do not anticipate that this schedule will cause significant disruption for states and [local education agencies] because the 100 percent hold-harmless provision in effect for [school year] 1999-2000 generally guarantees that LEAs will receive at least the same amounts as last year," Mr. Tirozzi wrote.

The ESEA is up for renewal this year, and the Education Department has said it does not want to amend the funding formula again. But some Republicans have called for a larger ESEA overhaul.

--Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 18, Issue 24, Pages 20,22

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