Flexible Funding with ESSA, New Federal Education Legislation

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Flexible School Funding with ESSA, a New Piece of Key Federal Education Legislation

New federal education legislation may soon be affecting school budgets and allowing more flexibility in terms of spending. In 2016, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into legislation, effectively replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA changes several key budgetary and spending requirements, which will allow for flexibility in state and school spending with a focus on evidence-based assessments and interventions.

Increased Spending Flexibility for Schools

According to the Department of Education, under ESSA, funding is no longer directed for federally-specific interventions; rather, the DOE will prioritize funds based on the state’s lowest-performing five percent of schools, low graduation rates, and low performance among subgroups of students. This shift increases schools’ flexibility to use funds for locally-tailored, evidence-based strategies created in collaboration with principals, teachers, and parents. As such, it is a critical step in shifting away from the federal approach of top-down interventions used in NCLB and towards instituting local level accountability and measurable goals that are meant to create higher overall standards and closing of achievement gaps.

ESSA Funding for Title I and Title II Schools

The Association of School Business Officials International states that funding under Title I has seen no changes. Under Title II, the allotment will change from the NCLB’s 35/65 funding model based on student population and student poverty to ESSA’s 20/80 model gradually over the next several years. Minimum awards granted to each state will be slowly discontinued; however, states are allowed more flexibility to use the dollars for things such as class-size reductions, teacher evaluations, development and training.
Under ESSA’s Title IV funding guidelines, many programs were eliminated and replaced with noncompetitive, formula-based grants. This section includes details about the support of safe and healthy students initiative, which emphasizes school coordination with other schools and community-based organizations (substance abuse, mental health, violence, etc.) in using evidence-based programs to create change.

Pay for Success (PFS) Grants Under ESSA

Additionally, the Pay for Success (PFS) grant model is implemented under ESSA, providing federal funding based on outcomes, which may be used by schools, districts, and leading education agencies (LEAs). Districts receiving above $30,000 must perform a needs assessment and then expend 20% of grants on safe and healthy school activities, 20% to a well-rounded education, and the remaining 60% on three priorities (with a 15% cap on technology spending).

Using Surveys to Assess Needs and Gather Evidence for ESSA Funding

Overall, these new regulations under ESSA are helping schools to move forward and will promote a more well-rounded education, while at the same time upholding accountability to ensure the progress of all students. With more flexibility in spending federal dollars, schools, districts, and LEAs have a better chance to create and promote change through assessments and evidence-based intervention programs.
One of the most effective and reliable ways to assess needs and gather scientifically valid evidence for the funding options available under the new federal education legislation is through school surveys. Pride Surveys offers a variety of measures that are customizable up to ten questions to help schools, grant recipients, and state agencies evaluate and address many topics from substance abuse and school climate to bullying and mental health in schools.
Browse our most popular surveys, find out why Pride is the right partner for your school’s surveying needs, or check out the valuable resources in our blog. Questions? Give us a call today at (877) 957-6870 or fill out our quick online contact form.

Taber, Tiffany. “Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act to Enhance Equity and Excellence.” May 26, 2016 http://blog.ed.gov/2016/05/implementing-the-every-student-succeeds-act-to-enhance-equity-and-excellence/

Association of School Business Officials International. “The Every Student Succeeds Act.” January 2016 http://www.oasbo.com/documents/16WC-ESSA.pdf

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