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Funding Formula Disadvantages Rural School Districts
Daily Yonder hits the nail on the head once again with a report by Caitlin Howley on how rural school districts may not get the same advantage from President Obama’s stimulus funding because of a twist in existing law. Howley writes:

“The new federal stimulus spending bill -- officially, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) -- provides an unprecedented, one-time infusion of education funding for states and schools.

Over $100 billion, $44 billion of which is now available, will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Education through a variety of existing and new programs. However, small rural districts may not benefit from this opportunity as much as their larger, urban counterparts —even if the rural districts serve needier student populations…”

Howley reports that the Department of Education will use the Title I formula to determine one time grants. Urban schools use numbers of disadvantaged students in their funding applications. The larger raw numbers of qualifying students give them higher scores and larger grants.  Rural schools use percentages. Because of their smaller numbers of students, their grants are smaller per student.

“The Rural School and Community Trust recently gave some good examples of how this system worked against small districts. Dillon 02 school district in rural South Carolina receives $1,057 for each student qualifying under Title I. Dillon has a student poverty rate of 38.5%. However, the nearby Greenville school district — one of the largest in the state — receives $1,467 for each eligible student, but its poverty rate is only 13.8%.

The Rural Trust
reminds us that Dillon, South Carolina, is the home of Ty’Sheoma Bethea, who wrote a letter to President Obama asking for help in repairing her decrepit school. The letter earned the 14-year-old a trip to Washington, D.C., to hear the President’s address to Congress about the need for a stimulus…” For the rest of the story, go to Daily Yonder

If you live in rural America and haven’t bookmarked this site for frequent visits, then you’re missing out on some of the best investigative reporting going on today.

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