Previously, I wrote about the new Title VIII guidance. On July 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education issued the long-anticipated Title VIII non-regulatory guidance for ESSA. This guidance explains Equitable Services for Eligible Private School Children, Teachers, and Other Educational Personnel. You can find the guidance at https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/files/esea-titleviii-guidance-2023.pdf.
My previous blog focused on Title IIA within the guidance. Today, I want to focus on money issues. See Section B in the guidance, Allocations and Expenditures.
ED packed a lot of information into this section of the guidance. I encourage you to read the guidance, but let me just point out a few highlights.
Worksheet for Equitable Share of Funds
There is a very clear worksheet contained in questions B-1. Ask your LEA to fill out the worksheet during consultation which will provide fiscal transparency and clarity.
Pooling is covered extensively in the guidance. Question B-4 explains the options and gives clear and practical examples of how pooling can be achieved. Keep in mind that pooling is a required topic for consultation. Private school officials can state their desire for pooling, but both the private school and LEA must agree to pool funds. Other aspects of pooling—members of the pool declining services after funds have been pooled and private schools located in the LEA that do not seek equitable services—are covered in questions B-6 and B-7.
Obligation of Funds
This section details the differences between allocation, obligation, and expenditure. Question B-12 is particularly important if the LEAs with whom you work cut off the expenditure of funds before the end of the school year. The guidance states, “…the obligation period does not end with the end of the school year or the State’s fiscal year.”
Notice of Allocation
This section reiterates the legal requirement that SEAs inform private school officials in a timely manner of the amount of funds generated by private school students in each program covered by Title VIII. This includes Titles IC, IIA, IIIA, IVA, IVB, and IVF subpart 3 (Title IA has its own guidance and requirements). If you have not been receiving this information, it’s time to request this from your ombudsman. (See B-13 through B-15).
Additionally, the LEA is required to inform private school officials of the funding available for equitable services, either for an individual school or for schools in the pool if funds are pooled among schools. Question B-16 discusses the need to provide this information early in the consultation process, utilizing estimated allocations for the coming year if final allocations are not yet available. When final allocations are available, the LEA must update their information to private school officials in a timely manner.
By familiarizing yourself with the fiscal requirements, definitions, and procedures, you will be more effective during consultation and be on the road to ensuring that the services offered are equitably funded.
All the best,
Michelle L. Doyle
Michelle Doyle Educational Consulting