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Every Student Succeeds Act

DeVos Releases ESSA Title I School Spending Guidance

By Evie Blad — June 20, 2019 1 min read
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When districts get an infusion of Title I funds, the Every Student Succeeds Act says that federal money should add to the state and local funds schools already receive without taking the place of any of those dollars.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released final guidance Thursday about what districts must do to prove they are complying with that part of the law—ensuring that Title I provides the intended boost to targeted high-poverty schools, rather than displacing money into non-Title I schools.

DeVos’ release is the final version of draft “supplement not supplant” guidance the Education Department put out in January. The nonregulatory guidance says districts must show that the way they allocate state and local money to schools does not use a school’s Title I status as a factor.

The guidance takes a much lighter touch than the Obama administration’s first stab at the issue after ESSA was signed into law in 2015. Those proposed regulations would have required spending at Title I schools be at least equal to that of the non-Title I schools. Civil rights groups praised that approach.

But echoing concerns from school administrators, DeVos said those original draft supplement-not-supplant regulations could be too burdensome for districts.

“Teachers and school leaders consistently tell me the ever-growing paperwork burden is one of the biggest impediments to focusing on what really matters: the kids,” DeVos said in a statement. “This proposal does not change the legal obligations school districts have to make appropriate investments in education. It simply makes clear that a school district has significant flexibility in how it demonstrates compliance with the law.”

You can read the full guidance here.