Washoe County schools could face Title I funding cuts

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Updated: 2/28/2013 12:34 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- It's a big week for education in Nevada. New legislation is being proposed and schools across the country are waiting to see if sequestration cuts are coming their way.

Washoe County School District officials don't know exactly what cuts could be looming, but they do say more than 700 thousand dollars in Title I funding could be at risk.

"Currently we have 11 after school tutoring groups servicing about 130 kids and all that's paid through Title," said Richard Swanberg, Kate Smith Elementary School principal.

Swanberg says Title I funding is an attempt to level the playing field for kids living in poverty.

"Each kid is getting an extra hour of support in reading and math and without Title funds we wouldn't be able to provide that extra support for the kids who need it them most," Swanberg said.

Swanberg said Smith's free tutoring is their students' only option. 

"If you're living in a high-end school and your child's below [grade level], you can hire a tutor," Swanberg said. "Our families can't do that."

School district chief of staff Kristen McNeill said they don't know exactly how much Title I funding could be cut from schools like Smith, but they're estimating it could be big.

"If you take six percent of each of those very large grants, that's how we're calculating the amount of funding that we're anticipating that we're going to be reduced," McNeill said.

McNeill said that adds up to 750 thousand dollars across the district's 32 Title I schools.

"If sequestration happens we're going to see these cuts within our programs," McNeill said.

Programs like Smith elementary school's tutoring - which Swanberg says, along with in-classroom efforts, is making a big difference for their students.

"Last year we were recognized as the Title I Distinguished School of the Year. There's only two in the state of Nevada," Swanberg said. "We had the highest math growth in the district and the 6th highest reading growth."

Which means there's a lot more to lose than just money. Swanberg says they'll do whatever it takes to keep helping their students improve.

"No matter where we get the money, we're going to meet the needs of the students that's our job," Swanberg said. "Without Title I funds, it'll just be more difficult ."

Title I funding goes to schools with high proportions of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Swanberg says they're a provision two school which means all of the kids at Kate Smith Elementary School qualify.
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roseanya - 2/28/2013 10:58 AM
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Federal funding is about 4% of school district revenue. Get over it. Eliminate U.S. Department of Ed and save the economy.

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