Q. Our school is closed and will operate via distance learning. Can we offer Title services in this same manner through our certified Title staff?
A. Yes. LEA distance learning plans should include how to adapt and continue Title I (or other Title services) through distance learning. As classroom certified staff are expected to support students during e-learning, so must the federally funded certified staff, including equitable services at non-public schools. The Title I certified staff should collaborate with the administrators and classroom certified staff to determine the best method to carry this out. In a Targeted Assistance program, students identified for targeted intervention should receive frequent interaction with the Title I teacher in addition to or in coordination with their general education teacher. In a Schoolwide program, the plan should adapt the school improvement strategies for distance learning.
For example, the Title I staff could be a second set of educators that reach out to ensure e-learning lessons are understood and completed by students. Or, Title I staff could conduct small groups virtually with students in need of additional support. This is determined locally, including through consultation for equitable services at non-public schools. However, the LEA may also decide to have Title I staff conduct alternate activities as well, such as participate in virtual professional development, update the Title I schoolwide plan, plan future professional development activities when staff returns, etc.
Q. Our LEA applied for Title I reallocated funding for activities that have been canceled due to COVID-19. Will we lose those funds?
A. No. It is recognized LEAs are facing challenges meeting certain fiscal requirements; therefore, LEAs may choose to revise their Title I, Part A and reallocated funds budget at any time prior to submitting final financial reports and reallocated addendum. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LEAs with unspent Title I reallocated funds will be allowed to carry them forward for use in the 2020-2021 school year. It will be expected these funds will be represented in the consolidated application and budgeted toward student services and aligned with the school’s plan and student needs.
LEAs may need to prioritize and determine redistribution of these funds. Schools may have had projects budgeted in Title I that are no longer feasible or cancelled and may require a budget revision.
- Example 1: Schools may not be spending money designated for travel, in-person professional development, and other in-person activities. An alternative option may be for the LEA to consider expanding the Title I Homeless Set-Aside to make more materials available for homeless and high mobility learners. Due to economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is reasonable to anticipate more families will be experiencing homelessness.
- Example 2: Title I services may need to be adjusted due to the LEA distance learning plan. This may involve amending the Title I schoolwide plan and services to eligible students in a Targeted Assistance program to include subscriptions to online learning platforms, increasing the number of hot spots available for checkout, and developing web-based video training/materials to help parents better support their child’s learning.
Q. How can our LEA spend funds originally budgeted for Family Engagement activities (specifically, Title I required family engagement set-aside)?
A. Now, more than ever, distance learning requires a partnership between the school and family. There are many possible uses for family engagement using Title I funds. It is critical to connect learners and their families to distance learning by ensuring each child has what they need. These funds may be used to develop resources, web-based platforms/materials, internet hot spots, and creating coaching/teaching tutorials to help parents and families with at-home learning.
Q. Can the LEA purchase 1 to 1 technology devices like iPads or Chromebooks using Title I funds?
A. Yes, with consideration to the following circumstances:
- In a Targeted Assistance program, technology may only be purchased for Title I eligible students.
- In a Schoolwide program, the purpose of purchasing technology must be based on the school’s needs assessment and outlined in the schoolwide plan.
- For homeless students, in this time of emergency, the LEA may use the Title I set-aside homeless funds to purchase a technology device, such as an iPad or Chromebook, as it is essential for the child’s learning and connection with the school.
- LEA leaders must consider the distinction between local funds and Title I funds to ensure that at the school level, the school receives the same funds it would receive if it were not receiving Title I funds. Title I funds are for Title I schools.
Q. Will any flexibility be provided regarding Title I carryover?
A. Yes, NDDPI recently received approval on six fiscal waivers and one of them was for Title I carryover. Districts are allowed to carry over all of their unspent Title I funds from the 2019-2020 school year without the need for an excess carryover waiver. No further action is needed.