Park View, Sterling Middle Eyed as Loudoun’s Next Title I Schools

Loudoun’s School Board may earmark federal Title I money for two secondary schools, which would be the first in the county.

Title I schools receive more federal dollars because they enroll high levels of students from low-income families. Six Loudoun schools now carry the Title I designation, and they are all elementary schools in Sterling. Soon, Sterling Middle School and Park View High School, also in Sterling, may be added to that list.

Evonne DeNome, supervisor of the school system’s federal programs, told School Board members Tuesday that she is recommending they designate Park View and Sterling Middle as Title I schools in an effort to funnel more federal dollars their way.

The population of poor students at both those schools has spiked in recent years. The percentage of students who qualify for the federal free and reduced-meal program at Park View was 53 percent four years ago, and is up to 65 percent. At Sterling Middle School, the rate has jumped from 57.7 percent four years ago, to 70 percent this year.

To qualify for free lunches, a family of four must make no more than $31,980 annually. To qualify for reduced-price meals, that same family can make an annual salary no more than $45,510. That’s quite a contrast from Loudoun County’s median household income of $115,574.

If the School Board designates Park View and Sterling Middle as Title I schools before their free-and-reduced-meal rate climbs to 75 percent, then the school system will have more flexibility in how it spends the federal dollars, according to DeNome.

If they wait, federal regulations require the money only be spent on those low-income students instead of benefiting the entire school—plus it requires loads of additional paperwork to track how the money is spent within a school, she said. “It would be nice to have the flexibility to target those Title I funds to support all students in Sterling Middle School and Park View High School as opposed to a small number.”

Harping back to a debate during last year’s Leesburg area attendance boundary changes, board member Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) asked if the board should consider redrawing boundaries to boost the number of low-income students at some schools, in hopes of qualifying for more federal Title I dollars.

“Should we look at boundary changes to disperse the ELL (English Language Learner) students into Ashburn and Sterling,” he asked.

It doesn’t quite work like that, DeNome replied.

This fiscal year, the school system received $1.9 million in Title I funding, a figure based on the division’s total number of students who qualify to receive free and reduced-price meals. This year, that is 13,529 students, or 17 percent of enrolled students.

Adding two more Title I schools will not take away money from the six elementary schools already in the program because, as of this year, the school system receives an additional $300,000 in Title I funds. “Park View and Sterling Middle will share that $300,000 increase,” DeNome said.

Title I money is used to provide extra support, both in and out of the classroom. It pays for additional teaching positions, a homeless specialist and liaison, instructional materials, family and community activities and events, and professional development for teachers and administrators.

See DeNome’s full presentation to the board here.

The School Board is scheduled to vote June 27 on whether to include Park View and Sterling Middle in its application for Title I funding.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
twitter.com/danielle_nadler

3 thoughts on “Park View, Sterling Middle Eyed as Loudoun’s Next Title I Schools

  • 2017-06-15 at 3:39 pm
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    In such a program is a sign of a nation that realizes a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

  • 2017-06-16 at 6:51 am
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    Let’s be clear about what is going on here.

    1. LCPS gets a certain amount of Title 1 funds based solely on the percentage of FRL kids in the entire district. The higher the percentage, the higher rate of FRL students, the more funds a district gets per student because it’s harder to teach poor kids in an environment with 50% FRL than it is in a 20% environment.

    2. The federal program assumes it costs 40% more to teach an FRL student than a non-FRL student. The Title 1 funds are a small drop in the bucket in that 40% with the district expected to pick up the rest. Of course, nobody in the federal program thought that a district with a low FRL percentage like LCPS (~17%) would concentrate all their FRL kids in a few schools like Sterling and Leesburg so you end up having 65% FRL schools and 8% FRL schools like those in Debbie Rose or Eric Hornberger’s neighborhoods. The idea is to spread around the resources.

    3. This sole purpose of this designation is to make it easier on LCPS staff so they don’t have to document how Title 1 funds are actually being spent on Title 1 kids. Instead, they just say these are Title 1 schools and we are giving them an extra 0.5% in per pupil funding. Never mind that the program was designed for LCPS to give an extra 40% in per pupil funding to these FRL kids. LCPS has no plans to do that but they darn sure don’t want to document spending the extra 0.5% on the actual FRL kids.

    LCPS’ attempt to confuse this issue is such a joke. Right across Route 7 are the schools in Debbie Rose’s district who could be routed to these same schools just a few blocks away. That would equalize the FRL rates in Algonkian and Sterling and make it easier to administer these schools. But Debbie firmly supports segregating by race and income so her kids and those of her neighbors don’t encounter these FRL kids in school. Debbie also opposes giving the schools with 60% FRL any significant amount of additional resources. Folks are complaining about a statute on the court house grounds and ignoring effective segregation before their own eyes in 2017.

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