Title I Money Goes Schoolwide: What That Means for You

About 67 percent of the students on Midwood’s register qualify for financial assistance.

About 67 percent of the students on Midwood’s register qualify for financial assistance.

By NEFRETARI POWELL and REEM HAMAIDA 

As the new year begins, new students fill our already crowded hallways, and for us as students, we’d rather not have the extra heads. However, for our school as a whole, this is a good thing because it increases our chance of receiving Title I money.  

Title I money is provided by the federal government when there is a large number of students who are coming from low-income families. It is given to schools to ensure that all their students have an equal opportunity at a top-notch education despite their economic status.

In order to qualify for these funds, 60 percent of the students need to be eligible for the funds, which is why schools urge pupils to sign the financial surveys, formerly known as lunch forms. If enough of them meet the requirements, then the school can be awarded with this money.  If the school goes above this percentage, the amount of money received will be increased.

Although this program has been going on for years, it was Midwood’s first time qualifying last year.

According to Mr. Alan Stack, Assistant Principal of Organization, there were about 4,100 students on register and out of this number, at least 2,640 students are needed to qualify. After all the surveys were completed, about 67 percent of the students on register ended up qualifying for financial need.

Because 2017-2018 was our school’s first year receiving these funds, there were restrictions set by the city on how it could have been spent. 

“The assistance we provided [last year] was strictly focused on the students most in need,” Mr. Stack explained. “We provided extended tutoring hours and library hours. We had the counselors work with those students who may have failed the Regents or were failing a class needed for graduation.”

For additional help, the money was used to buy ebooks and invest in learning software. There were also some cases in which extra teachers were placed in classes of large numbers of students who were struggling academically.

Students had no say in how the money was spent because the city wanted the funds to be aimed at those who had a slim chance of graduating. 

Mr. Stack also explained a scenario in which a student could’ve been in an AP class, but their family didn’t have a lot of money. They would help the school qualify for Title I, but the money could not be spent on them last year under the city’s rules.

This year, however, the Department of Education is more lenient with the way the money is being spent. 

Mr. Stack said, “What happened this year is that we became a school-wide program, meaning all the money comes and goes into one pool, whether it’s Title I money or our regular budget money.” 

Although there is no official set plan on how the money is going to be spent this year, the school is attempting to make a Saturday academy and maybe even contribute money to school concerts such as Kwanzaa Fest and SING.

 It is unclear whether students have a voice in the way it is distributed.

Many students and teachers were hoping for universal air conditioning and felt that this would be a good investment of the Title I Money. However, according to Mr. Stack, air conditioning could be a wasted investment. 

“The mayor [Bill de Blasio] has made a statement that all schools are going to be fully air conditioned by a certain date,” Mr. Stack said. “Because of that statement, I don’t know if we’re going to start putting air conditioners in rooms that the city would’ve done a year later. It would seem like a waste of school budget.”

Other student requests include bathroom renovations and better food in the cafeteria.

Shania Kirton ’19 said, “I would rather the school spend money on upgrading the bathroom. For example, having doors that lock and a bathroom with a cleaner appearance would be nice. Also, instead of always running out of drying paper, we could buy hand dryers.” 

Woodsy Jean ’20 said, “I think that the school should invest in better meal plans so that more people would eat the school lunch.” 

The school is still in the process of determining the distribution of the Title I money. 

Be sure to fill out and submit your Financial Income Inquiry Form and housing form so that Midwood can continue to receive Title I funds to improve our school.pend the money on upgrading the bathroom. For example, having doors that lock and a bathroom with a cleaner appearance would be nice. Also, instead of always running out of drying paper we could buy a hand dryer.” 

Woodsy Jean ’20 said, “I think that the school should invest in better meal plans so that more people would eat the school lunch.”

The school is still in the process of determining the distribution of the Title I money.

NewsCasey Levinson