Cassville Schools seeing continuous drop in funding

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

District dealing with 50 percent reduction in federal funding over last 5 years

The Cassville School District is reviewing its five federal title program budgets since the U.S. Education Department has reduced funding to the district by 50.3 percent over the last five years.

The district received $1,241,218 in the 2009--2010 school year, but that funding dropped to $616,843.62 in the current school year, according to district records.

"We're not going to cut any programs," said Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent. "We're just going to have to revamp how we spend that money in those programs."

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 introduced the following federal programs: Title I, part A for disadvantaged students; Title I, part C for migrant students; Title II, part A for improving the quality of each teacher and principal; Title III for limited English proficient students; and Title VI, part B for technology.

Title I, part A saw the biggest decline from $1,012,672 in 2009--2010, to $473,955.89 for this school year.

Those funding cuts mainly affect preschool to fifth grade, LeCompte said. The district now pays for supplies and teacher's aides with local dollars.

"Now, with the state not having as many local dollars coming to us, that is going to make it a little tougher," she said.

When the district applies for federal dollars each year, it knows what it is eligible for, said Superintendent Richard Asbill. The district has to wait to see what is actually allocated. The Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education -- which administers the federal title program funding throughout the state -- then facilitates those dollars out based on the district's application. Each federal allocation starts every year on July 1.

"We've reduced our program services budget over the last four years," Asbill said. "Now, we're at a point again, where we have to reevaluate and say, 'These are our priorities. This is what we get funding for, and this is what we don't get funding for.'"

The Cassville School Board has to decide whether the district can continue paying for some of the program services, such as supplies and teacher's aides, with local funding, he said.

"We can't continue to just be making up the difference," Asbill said.

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