The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday signed off on a request to funnel federal Title I funding to Park View High School and Sterling Middle School.
This is the first time the school system will have secondary schools that receive Title I dollars.
Title I schools receive more federal dollars because they enroll high levels of students from low-income families. Before the board’s vote Tuesday, the county had just six schools that carried the Title I designation, and they are all elementary schools in Sterling.
The population of poor students at both Sterling Middle and Park View High has ticked up 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.
School Board members didn’t discuss the matter before voting Tuesday, but they discussed the move at length in a June 13 meeting.
By designating those two schools Title I schools before their free-and-reduced-meal rate climbs to 75 percent, the school system has more flexibility in how it spends the federal dollars.
“I just want to thank you for being proactive and serving Sterling Middle School and Park View High School before they hit that threshold,” School Board Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said to Supervisor of Federal Programs Evonne DeNome at the June 13 meeting.
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.