The US Department of Education has released updated non-regulatory guidance for Title I of ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA). Of interest are at least two items.
First, the guidance reaffirms the policy announced by Secretary DeVos to a group of State CAPE leaders in March that religious organizations will now to be free to serve as contract providers of equitable services. See Section C-28 on pages 36-37 of the guidance.
Second, the guidance reverses a previous policy that barred the pooling of Title I funds across public school districts. Section B-8, Subsection 3, on page 17, says:
  • Pooling across LEAs: Because eligibility for Title I services is based on a child’s residence and not where the child attends school, it is common that multiple LEAs have a responsibility to provide services to eligible children who attend the same private school, making provision of those services through pooling across LEAs potentially more educationally effective and efficient than by each individual LEA providing services to eligible students in the same private school. Thus, multiple LEAs may pool the Title I funds generated by their private school children from low-income families who reside in a participating Title I public school attendance area to serve eligible low-achieving private school children who reside in those LEAs. In other words, low-achieving private school children in greatest need who reside in a participating Title I public school attendance area in any of the applicable LEAs may be served with the pooled funds. The LEAs, in consultation with appropriate private school officials, must establish criteria to determine the eligible private school students in greatest educational need to receive services.