Please Join Today!
view counter

Countdown, Day 17: NCLB waiver frees up federal money, but it's no help in Philly

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 23, 2013 01:41 PM

When Pennsylvania received its waiver from No Child Left Behind, school districts around the state gained flexibility in using once-restricted federal dollars. But Philadelphia was not so lucky.

By law, districts were required to use 20 percent of their Title I money for Supplemental Education Services (SES) – generally, afterschool tutoring from private providers – and to transport students to better-performing schools. Philadelphia is scheduled to receive about $140 million in Title I funds in 2013-14, which is what led PFT president Jerry Jordan to send out a press release earlier this week, saying that $33 million could now be redirected to other purposes in the District, like bringing back laid-off classroom staff or restoring intervention and enrichment programs.

“Mayor Nutter, Superintendent Hite and the SRC must take full advantage of the flexibility offered by this waiver and immediately invest these critical resources into our schools and classrooms," said Jordan in the statement.

Philadelphia, however, never spent the full 20 percent on these services – more like $2 to $3 million a year, according to District spokesman Fernando Gallard.

Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller confirmed that the state had allowed this, while requiring that the District allocate any money within the 20 percent to other uses allowed under Title I, such as class-size reduction and hiring more reading specialists.  

Gallard said that, anticipating that the U.S. Department of Education would grant a waiver for Pennsylvania, the District had not budgeted any funds for SES this year, meaning that there is no money that can be redirected to other uses. 

The School District of Philadelphia faces an unprecedented situation – uncertainty over whether it will be in a position to open safe and functioning schools in September.

This feature, appearing each weekday, is an effort to highlight developments and motivate action as we get closer to the beginning of the school year. We encourage readers to send us information about both concerns and breakthroughs to

Click Here
view counter

Comments (4)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 9:14 pm
Obviously, the deck is stacked.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 10:39 pm
I'm still confused after reading this. Am I correct in understanding that the district dropped the ball in utilization of title 1 funding?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 10:16 am
No, it seems they had already budgeted the money presuming there would be a waiver.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 24, 2013 10:21 am
The use of Title I by the District needs a lot more scrutiny. The SES funds, if used, were often directed to "in house" tutoring. Title I professional development funds are likewise funneled "in house". Enrichment? Well very little of it is used for that; Nearly all goes to meaningless "compliance", meaning bureaucratic self serving waste. A tragedy of epic proportions, because like it or not, it weakens the argument for more funding for the poor. Bad spending of Title I only supports the argument that giving more money to poor school districts does absolutely nothing.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments


Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy