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Title I funding to be cut at schools

March 30, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Conococheague and Emma K. Doub elementary schools will no longer receive Title I funding next year, the Washington County Board of Education decided Tuesday.

As a result, four teachers whose salaries are paid with that money will be moved to other schools, according to Supervisor of Federal Programs Ralph Kline.

The School Board is reducing the number of Title I schools from 12 to 10 in order to concentrate services in schools with greater need.

"It is never comfortable to make the decision where people won't have services they're accustomed to," said Kline.

Title I is a federal program designed to help disadvantaged children meet the same performance standards as other students. Washington County uses most of the program money to pay for extra teachers, instructional assistants and other employees.

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This year, the School Board distributed $3.2 million in Title I funds among 12 elementary schools. Salaries and benefits of employees used 95 percent of that money, about $3.1 million, Kline said.

Next year, about the same amount of funding is expected. With salary increases, existing Title I personnel salaries will exceed that amount, Kline said.

By law, Title I funds can only be used at schools with high populations of children from poor families. This is measured by the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches.

Washington County's average is 31.6 percent, which is used as a benchmark. Schools with lower percentages cannot participate in the Title I program.

As of October, 27.8 percent of Conococheague students got free and reduced lunches, so the school is no longer eligible. Emma K. Doub's percentage is 35.4, the next highest among the current Title I schools.

Instructional assistants and reading teachers at both schools will be reassigned within the school system. "This is not a case where people will be losing jobs," said Kline.

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