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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Alms for the poor



No, school districts haven't been reduced to begging for money. But they might need to start scrounging next school year, when they get less federal funding for low-income students than they're used to.

The most recent census data shows that Florida has lost about 13 percent of its needy residents, and that will cost the state about $60-million, or 9.7 percent, of its Title I money, K-12 Chancellor Cheri Yecke told superintendents today. Unfortunately, she said in a later interview, the state funds its low-income students based on who gets free and reduced-price lunches, not on the overall state population of poor folks.

It may very well be that the poor people who are gone are older, while the number of needing students goes up.

"It really is undercutting our ability to assist school districts with large numbers of children in poverty," Yecke told The Gradebook. "This is huge."

She is asking the feds to revise the methodology for dispersing Title I money, and also has advised the governor's office and the Florida congressional delegation so they might help resolve the issue.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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