Brookfield Local School District gets about $1 million a year from the federal government in Title funding.
That’s a significant amount of money but, according to district officials, there hasn’t been a detailed plan as to how to use the money.
The money awarded is largely based on a district’s percentage of low-income students as determined by the free- and reduced-price lunch applications, said district Treasurer Jordan Weber.
“It cannot be used for anything that’s used for every student,” he told the school board Aug. 16. Instead, it is to be used for students who are not meeting academic baselines, Weber said.
“It’s really for us to fill in these pockets of needs without dipping into the general fund,” he said.
The district’s 2023-24 Title budget plans to use the money for educational aides, tutors, staff development, intervention programs, career counseling, credit recovery, the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program and other programs.
“It’s such an integral part to so much of what goes on” in the school, Weber said.
The district went through a federal grant review process in the spring that was eye-opening, officials said, and they have been discussing with VAZA Consulting the best way to use the money.
“There are very strict guidelines that we must adhere to when using these funds,” said Kristin Foster, district director of teaching, learning and accountability. “You have to use them for specific reasons. As we go through these, we were looking at the different Title grants and funds that we were given and trying to figure out the best uses for Brookfield Local School District.”
The district actually gets funding in seven categories of Title funding, a total of $916,313 for the 2023-24 school year.
“This is my 13th year as an administrator. I’ve been to every board meeting, just about; I never sat through a Title 1 spending plan in the district,” said Supt. Toby Gibson. “We are starting to get ahead of the game and trying to educate, not only you, but the community as well.”
“I don’t think I really grasped this until last year,” Foster said.
Long-serving board members said they were aware the district receives Title funding, but have never known to the level of specificity presented Aug. 16 how the money was spent, and what it could be used for.
“In my 20-some years, I don’t think that we’ve ever had a breakdown,” said Board President Ronda Bonekovic.
Here is a breakdown of the federal Title funding Brookfield Local School District has received for the 2023-24 school year, and how school officials plan to use it.
- Title 1-A, which is used for improving family involvement in a child’s education and creating a more cohesive and supportive learning environment, $472,735. The district will use this funding to pay for educational aides, credit recovery, English language arts and math tutors, pupil services, and supplies for community engagement. The district has proposed hiring a school community liaison, and the funding for the position would come from this allocation.
- Title A, which is used for supporting school improvement activities that increase student achievement and targets specific schools, $43,106. Brookfield Middle School is the target school and the money will be used for a math tutor and an educational aide.
- Title 2-A, which is used for teacher and administrative training, $47,527.
- Title 4-A, which is used to give a well-rounded education and improve school conditions and the use of technology, $38,345. This money will be used for career counseling, the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program and supplemental programs in art and science, technology, engineering and math, and that extend the school day or school year. The district also proposes to start an “esports” program for video gamers, if there is enough student interest.
- Title 5-B, which is used to help rural districts meet state academic standards, $28,658. This money will be used to pay for English language arts and math coaches.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which addresses special education, $267,003. This money will be used to hire intervention specialists.
- Expanding Opportunities for Each Child, which addresses advanced coursework, careers, personalized learning, credit recovery and acceleration services, $18,939. This money will be used for credit recovery programs and the Warrior Academy, which offers online courses outside of what is offered by the school district.