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As schools fret about meeting steeper requirements next year under No Child Left Behind, some are ducking the law altogether by declining funds for low-income children.

The Oregonian published an article about the trend Sunday, citing 25 Oregon schools that turned down federal funds to avoid No Child Left Behind’s requirements. No Child Left Behind only impacts schools that accept Title 1 money, intended to bolster schools that serve disadvantaged kids. Schools that fail to meet its requirements can be reorganized or required to allow neighborhood kids to choose other public schools.

School districts are required to offer Title 1 funds to all schools with 75 percent or more low-income students. Currently, San Diego Unified passes along Title 1 funds to schools with more than 40 percent low-income students. Last year, the school district funded 95 elementary schools, 20 middle schools and 30 high schools.

Oregon schools aren’t unique. In San Diego, parents are also considering whether schools should forego federal money and evade No Child Left Behind. David Page, chairman of the District Advisory Council for Compensatory Education, mentioned the trade-off as a possible option at a recent meeting, where parents gathered to discuss how Title 1 dollars should be divvied next school year.

EMILY ALPERT

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