How Do Districts Plan to Use Their ESSA Block Grant Money?
Andrew Ujifusa Education Week, ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act
Many districts are about to get a big boost in funding for the most flexible piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, better known as Title IV of the law. The program just got a big, $700 million boost from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018, bringing its total funding to $1.1 billion. And it could get even more money next year, because the House appropriations subcommittee in control of federal education spending is seeking $1.2 billion for the program in new legislation.
Districts can use Title IV funding for a wide range of activities that help students become safer and healthier, more well-rounded, or make better use of technology. And districts have a lot of leeway to customize Title IV to their needs. However, districts that get $30,000 or more must do a needs assessment, and spend at least 20 percent on an activity that makes students safer, and 20 percent on something that makes kids more well-rounded.
So how do districts plan to spend the money? Three education groups—AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Federal Program Administrators, and Whiteboard Advisors—surveyed districts to find out. Since May, 622 districts have responded to the survey…