Apply for the Free and Reduced Price Meal Program by September 25th!
Our Title I Funding May Depend on it!
“We are on the cusp of losing our Title I funding for next year,” says Principal Kim Pietrocci.
No Child Left Behind Act - Title I
The Title I program under No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) provides funds to local school districts to improve the education of disadvantaged students. Title I funding is received by more than 50% of all public schools in the nation. It is the largest federal program supporting elementary and secondary education. Funds are distributed to school districts, who then distribute the Title I funds among schools within the district, highest-poverty schools first. The funds are earmarked for the purpose of improving academic achievement for students in low-income households.
Under NCLB, Title I funding is given to schools where at least 35% of the children in the school attendance area come from low-income families, or to schools where 35% of the student population is low-income. To determine the percentage of low-income families, school districts may select a poverty measure from among various data sources. The measure employed by Santa Fe Public Schools is based on the number of children eligible for free and reduced price lunches under the National School Lunch Program.
More than 35% of students at Carlos Gilbert Elementary applied and qualified for the Free and Reduced Price Meal Program at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. (The qualifying students received the discounted or free meals during that school year, 2010-2011.) The 2010-2011 numbers then qualified Carlos Gilbert to receive Title I funding for the next school year, 2011-2012.
However, only 34.3% of students applied and qualified for the meal program at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Carlos Gilbert was just .7% below the 35% required in order to receive the Title I funds for this school year, 2012-2013. “Luckily, the district was able to let us in this year,” reported Principal Pietrocci. $28.2K was allocated to Carlos Gilbert Elementary. If Carlos Gilbert’s qualifying meal program numbers fall below 35% again, we may not receive any Title I funds next school year.
The funding received for this school year, 2012-2013, is being used to pay for a Literacy Coach. However, the $28.2K only covers half of a full-time salary for a Literacy Coach. Funds raised by the PTK are being used to further supplement the salary, allowing Carlos Gilbert’s lower achieving students access to literacy coaching 4 of 5 days per week, instead of just the half time schedule afforded by the Title I funding.
Families who apply and qualify for the free and reduced price meal program get free or reduced price breakfast, lunch, and sometimes snack, for their children at school. “I didn’t apply for the meal program this year,” shared a Carlos Gilbert parent. “I think there were forms at the new centralized registration,” she said, “but even though I might technically qualify for the reduced meals, I felt like I could afford the full price, and felt guilty taking advantage of it.” Then she attended the first PTK (Parents Teachers Kids) meeting of the school year. “It was very eye opening. I now understand why they are always fundraising.” She learned that amongst other programs, like field trips, teacher stipends, NDI (National Dance Institute), etc., the PTK helps pay for the Literacy Coach. “Why is the PTK helping to pay for things like staff salaries? Because the district doesn’t automatically cover them, especially if we don’t get Title I funding. And we don’t get Title I funding if we don’t have enough kids in the meal program.” She says she has changed her mind about applying for the reduced meal program. “If I qualify,” she says, “I’m going to apply!”
Do you qualify? Locate your number of household members on the chart below. If your household income is less than the corresponding amount listed, you may qualify.
Please help Carlos Gilbert continue to deliver programs like Literacy Coaching by applying for the meal program if you qualify. Go to https://onlinemealapp.sfps.info/Default.aspx or complete the paper application form sent home in your student’s packet on Thursday, September 6th. Deadline to apply is September 25th.
If you don’t qualify, there are other ways you can help. You can donate any amount of time or money via the PTK. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.