June 12, 2014

No thank you

New Town Schools to drop Title I funding

By Jerry W. Kram

Title I is the shorthand term for federal funding, channeled through the state, that is dedicated to proving teaching assistance to low income and disadvantaged children across the county, including the New Town School District.

The funding also comes with a lot of strings attached, said New Town Superintendent Marc Bluestone, not to mention a three foot tall stack of paperwork to document each and every string. Bluestone said the funding pays for four teachers and three aides at the Edwin Loe Elementary School, plus some after-school programs. The district receives about $500,000 in Title I funding every year.

Tuesday, the New Town School Board decided to give up that funding.

"The board, after studying this for a couple of years, because of everything associated with No Child Left Behind and when schools don’t make Adequate Yearly Progress, we will be able to operate with out oil revenues and decline that money from the State of North Dakota. Then we would not have to deal with the consequences of those programs."

Bluestone was quick to say that dropping the funding would not affect how the district works with disadvantaged youth. It’s just that New Town Public Schools, for the time being, is in the unique position of being able to afford to keep those four teachers and three aides without using the federal money.

"With the royalty money, we are not losing any programming," Bluestone said. "We’re still hiring those four teachers and those three aides. We will still have interventions. It’s just merely funding by the school district and not the state. As far as I am concerned, it is a positive move."

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