The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) has received numerous requests from school districts concerning this subject, and has prepared this Commissioner’s Memo to provide guidance to school districts.
I. REQUIREMENTS OF TITLE I AND NON-TITLE I SCHOOLS TO PROVIDE SCHOOL CHOICE AND/OR SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL SERVICES.
Ark. Code Ann. §§ 6-15-419(24) and 6-15-426 require all Arkansas public schools or school districts created pursuant to Title 6 of the Arkansas Code to be subject to the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing Assessment & Accountability Program (ACTAAP).
Section 9.06 of the ADE’s ACTAAP Rules provides that the second year a school fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), that school shall be classified as being in Year 1 of School Improvement. Any school classified in Year 1 of School Improvement shall offer eligible students choice options to another school in the district not in School Improvement.
School choice requirements for non-Title I schools are the same as for Title I schools, with the exception of requiring set aside funds [See Section II below].
Section 9.07 of the ADE’s ACTAAP Rules provides that the third year a school fails to make AYP, that school shall be classified as being in Year 2 of School Improvement. Any school classified in Year 2 of School Improvement shall offer eligible students Supplemental Educational Services (SES) in keeping with federal guidelines, in addition to continued consequences from Year 1 of School Improvement.
Prior to the first day of school, parental notification procedures for both non-Title I schools and Title I schools are the same. Consideration is given for all schools utilizing the appeal process. Students eligible to receive SES and choice options are students scoring below the level of proficiency on any assessments, as required under ACTAAP, and MUST be provided without regard to the school’s identification in improvement or Title status. In keeping with requirements established in both state and federal statutes, low achieving students from low-income families shall be given priority access to these services. Eligibility is not dependent on whether a student is a member of a sub-group that caused the school to not make AYP, or whether the student is in a grade that takes the statewide assessments required by Section 1111 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). (See Section F of the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) Non-Regulatory Guidance document on Supplemental Education Services and Section 9.0 (“Accountability") of the ACTAAP Rules.)
II. REQUIREMENTS OF TITLE I SCHOOLS AND NON-TITLE I SCHOOLS TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR SCHOOL CHOICE AND/OR SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL SERVICES AND TRANSPORTATION.
a. Title I Schools.
Concerning funding, Section 9.11 of the ACTAAP Rules provides that schools that receive Title I funds must meet all funding requirements as specified by federal guidelines. Schools that do not receive Title I funds must implement programming in keeping with the school’s Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (ACSIP) Plan as revised.
As to the provision of SES, Section K-1 of the USDOE’s Non-Regulatory Guidance document on SES, a local educational agency (LEA) may use Title I funds, as well as other Federal, State, local, and private resources to pay for SES required as a part of the School Improvement process. To augment the amount of funds available to provide SES, a State Educational Agency (SEA) may use funds it reserves under Title I, Part A and Title V, Part A to increase the funds available for LEAs to provide SES for eligible students requesting such services. See Section 1116(e)(7) of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
As to the amounts that Title I schools must spend on choice-related transportation and SES, Section K-2 of the USDOE’s Non-Regulatory Guidance document provides:
The law (NCLB) establishes a joint funding mechanism for choice-related transportation and supplemental educational services. Unless a lesser amount is needed to meet demand for choice-related transportation and to satisfy all requests for supplemental educational services, a LEA must spend an amount equal to 20 percent of its Title I, Part A allocation, before any reservations, on:
(1) choice-related transportation;
(2) supplemental educational services; or
(3) a combination of (1) and (2).
This means that the amount of funding that an LEA must devote to SES depends in part on how much the LEA spends on choice-related transportation.
However, if the cost of satisfying all requests for supplemental educational services exceeds an amount equal to 5 percent of a LEA’s Title I, Part A allocation, the LEA may not spend less than that amount on those services.
A LEA may spend an amount exceeding 20 percent of its Title I, Part A allocation if additional funds are needed to meet all demands for choice-related transportation and SES.
b. Non-Title I Schools.
A non-Title I school’s required spending amounts appear to be bounded by the requirements of the school’s ACSIP Plan, per Section 9.11 of the ACTAAP Rules.
Non-Title I schools are required to provide Supplemental Services type activities for eligible students but ARE NOT required to use the providers list, as approved by the SEA. Such activities may be conducted during or outside the school day. This does not require any set aside funds.
For any questions, please call Annette Barnes, Coordinator of School Improvement, at 501-682-4393.