Bush Budget Could Double Money to Help Struggling Schools
School improvement efforts would get a big boost under the budget proposal President Bush unveiled yesterday. By changing some administrative rules, the budget would guarantee $570 million would be spent on turning around schools struggling to meet their goals under NCLB. That would be in addition to the $491 million currently being spent on such schools through a grant program.
In the explanatory notes along with the budget, the Department of Education proposes that all states reserve 4 percent of their Title I grants for districts to intervene in struggling schools. That would total $570 million under the department's $14.3 billion proposal for the program.
Under current rules, states must ensure that all districts receive at least 85 percent of their previous year's grant before they set aside 4 percent of their money. Because NCLB dramatically shifted the way Title I money distributed, many districts qualify under the "hold harmless" rules. (See a summary of this lively discussion sparked backed in December by this story.) Citing the Center on Education Policy, the department says that in current school year three states had no money left to spend on school improvement and 29 states couldn't set aside the whole 4 percent. This would change thatand could potentially take Title I money away from a significant number of districts.
You can read the details under the heading of "Promoting Fundamental Restructuring of Chronically Low-Performing Schools" on this page of the department's budget summary.