Tracking Title One money if city and county schools merge - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tracking Title One money if city and county schools merge

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MEMPHIS, TN -

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Money provided by the Title One program offers critical assistance to students living in poverty. But what will happen if Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools merge?

Some argue Title One funding would take a hit if the school systems combine.  But according to Debra Owens, the Executive Director of Federal Programs at the Tennessee Department of Education, it's a complex formula.

The money comes from the federal government.

"When it comes to the state, we then allocate the money to the district," Owens said. "The district then looks at the priority of their schools."

Tennessee Department of Education Title One guidelines show that the programs serve "schools in which poor children make up at least 40 percent of enrollment..."  So it appears the money goes to the school, and not the student.

But Owens explained that a private school can receive special services funding for designated Title One students.

"And then the non-public school and the school district negotiate what types of services are then going to be provided to identified students," she said.

However, if a student transfers from a Title One public school to a non-Title One public school, the funding cannot follow.

"The assumption is they may not need it, because that school might have other types of resources," Owens said. "It might not have Title One resources, but it might have other resources available."

According to the Memphis City Schools website, 172 of Memphis' 209 schools, or 82 percent, are Title One.  Meanwhile, 15 out of 51 Shelby County Schools, or 29 percent, fall under the Title One program.

In the end, we learned that money cannot follow a student from a Title One public school to a non-Title One public school, but it can follow a student to a private school.

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