GREENSBORO, NC - The Guilford County school board tabled a discussion to reallocate Title I funds for certain schools in the district.
On Tuesday, the board considered a proposal that would cause 28 to 30 schools to lose Title I funding. Title I funds are used to support failing children or children who are at most risk of failing.
Currently, 62 schools receive Title I funds. The idea is to distribute the same amount of federal money, to less schools.
The district would still get the same amount of money from the federal government, but only the schools in desperate need would receive more money.
“New reports on Title I funding show we can make a bigger impact on student success if we reduce the number of schools receiving the funds and focus those resources on what we have seen works. GCS recognizes that there are limited resources and no easy answers, but we are committed to working with every school to make the most of the resources they have.” – Dr. Whitney Oakley, executive director of curriculum and instruction.
During a public comment session, many parents and advocates questioned how the district could consider such a proposal.
"You can't fund poor schools with money from other poor schools, we have to increase overall revenue," said Todd Warren, a teacher at the Guilford Elementary.
Beverly Ann McAvery agreed, "How can any Title I school be considered less needy?"
The proposal stems from a study by School House Partners and John Hopkins University. The study takes a look at how the district and school spend Title I funds and how those funds can be used more effectively. One of the suggestions would be to add more funds in smaller number of schools.
Several board members said they couldn't support any proposal that would take money away from schools.
"I don't see how there's any way we can take any resources away from any school," said Darlene Garrett.
Ed Price echoed, "I just can't support this. I move to keep Title I funding the same as it was this year."
However, Price's motion failed to pass, as some board members wanted additional time to consider all options. The board will still consider changing funding levels for schools or maintain the current levels. Board members said they do want to see a greater share of the 22.5 million dollar Title I funds go directly to schools, but they agreed it would mean more accountability at the school level on how that money is spent.
Either way, parents, advocates and educators said funding cuts could mean losing teachers, special instructors and programs while increasing class sizes and decreasing test scores.
"We have been losing supplies, we have been losing textbooks, we have been losing technology and we have been losing teachers," said Warren.
The board said they want to make a final decision at their next meeting.