Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

May 17, 2014

Schools worried to lose $800K

GREENSBURG — Local school officials worry that they will lose more than $800,000 in federal funds as the federal government threatens to step up enforcement of No Child Left Behind requirements. The loss of funds likely would force the schools to cut teachers and/or programs.

Indiana was one of 10 states to receive a waiver in 2012 from the landmark education law that compels schools to have 100 percent of students proficient in reading and math by this year.

Federal officials alerted Indiana in early May the waiver was at risk because the state has failed to meet 9 of 18 benchmarks it set when requesting the waiver. A lengthy report said Indiana, among other things, failed to show how it’s preparing students for college and careers, and that teacher and principal evaluation systems are inadequately tied to student achievement.

The waiver’s loss would mean local schools lose control of a portion of the $231 million in federal money they use to help students in poverty.

Greensburg Community Schools would have to do without about $500,000, and possibly much more, Superintendent Tom Hunter said.

The schools would not necessarily lose the funds, but would have to re-direct them into federally mandated programs, but that puts in jeopardy programs and teachers those funds currently support.

Hunter said he was frustrated not just with the potential loss of funds, but also with how little information education officials have provided school districts.

Tammy Williams, the local school district’s director of curriculum, called the situation “alarming.”

She said that about 90 percent of the federal funds pay for staffing, including 15 elementary school and two junior high school teachers. Those teachers provide an additional 30 minutes of reading intervention instruction to students who need it most.

About 200 students benefit from the programs daily, mostly one-on-one or in small groups, she said.

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