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Rural Schools Hurt By Title I Funding Formula

It's been a while since we've updated you on the group pushing to change the way federal Title I funds are divvied up, but the Formula Fairness campaign still is fighting to make that happen.

The group recently released new analysis that showed nearly one out of four school districts with the highest poverty rate nationally would be better off if the formula for distributing that money made no effort to target high-poverty districts.

Schools use federal Title I money to help low-income students improve their academic achievement, and the Formula Fairness campaign is fighting to change the way those funds are distributed in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The current formula has a weighting system that's supposed to increase the share of money going to districts with high concentrations of student poverty, but those behind the campaign say the formula ends up hurting small, poor districts.

The Rural School and Community Trust, the campaign's primary sponsor, used 2009 data from a Congressional Research Service study to show that only two of the 340 school districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally benefit from one of the formula's two weighting provisions.

It also found that 83 of the 281 districts hurt by that same weighting provision are hurt so badly that they would be better off if there were no weighting system at all.

The campaign has some bipartisan support, but it hasn't been at the forefront of the reauthorization discussions of the No Child Left Behind Act. We'll keep you posted.

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