More schools, less money are in Hillsborough Title I program
The trends have been with us since the recession hit: More families are using food stamps and more children are getting free and reduced-priced lunch.
Not unrelated is an increase in schools that get federal anti-poverty dollars under the Title I program.
But although there are more schools this year -- 147, up from 138 last year -- there's less money. Last year's preliminary budget showed $69.7-million while this year the district expects to get $64.5-million.
Title I, which has been around for decades, seeks to close the achievement gap between students from wealthy and middle-class families and those growing up in low-income homes. These days that's a blurry distinction, as food stamp use has become common in middle-class suburban neighborhoods.
Five of the six new Title I schools are in east Hillsborough: Mintz and Seffner elementary schools; Eisenhower, Rodgers and Mann middle schools. The sixth, Alexander Elementary, is in west Tampa near Town 'N Country.
The money is not supposed to replace state spending, but supplement it through tutors, counselors, after-school programs and the like.