CCSSO Releases Title 1 ESSA Plan

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The nonprofit representing state education chiefs nationwide released its own plan today for a Title I spending rule under the Every Student Succeeds Act — and it’s a clear departure from the draft plan pushed by federal officials this summer.

ESSA’s “supplement, not supplant” provision is meant to ensure that school districts aren’t using federal Title I dollars for poor students to fill gaps in state and local education funding. The law requires districts to come up with a way to show they’re compliant. The Education Department’s draft rule, released in August, gave districts four options.

Districts could distribute state and local funds by a weighted student funding formula or by a formula based on staffing and supplies. States could also develop their own model — with some restrictions. Or, in a fourth option, districts could show that per-student state and local spending in Title I schools is at least as much as the average spent per student in other schools.

The new plan pushed by the Council of Chief State School Officers today scraps those four options. Under this proposal, districts would have to distribute state and local funds using a method that doesn’t take Title I participation into account. Districts would also have to publish that method, show they’re following through with it and show how that method affects the lowest-performing schools.

CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich said he hopes the plan is a starting point in finding common ground with federal officials.   The department is looking to publish a final rule before January.