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Ed. Dept. Expands Pool of Schools Eligible for Turnaround Aid

January 27, 2010 1 min read

Thanks to the painstaking, yet necessary exercise of fact-checking a story this afternoon, I came across two important changes to the rules for the $3.5 billion in Title I school improvement aid that the Education Department is gearing up to dole out to states later this year.

Thelma Melendez , the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, lays it all out in this recent letter to state schools chiefs. See pages 11-17 of this Powerpoint presentation from the Education Department to get even more explanation.

Under the tweaked rules—which resulted from a spending bill signed by President Obama in mid-December—greater numbers of schools will now be eligible to receive school improvement grants for doing turnaround work. The main change seems to be that states that want to direct the aid to schools that don’t have a high enough concentration of poor kids to operate a schoolwide Title I program can now do so without getting a federal waiver.

The amount of money that each school could receive has also been bumped way up, from $500,000 per year to as much as $2 million per year. That’s quite a boost, and one that the Education Department says will help ensure “full and effective implementation of the turnaround, restart, and transformation models.”