The San Diego Unified School Board today voted down a proposal to concentrate federal aid for low-income students on the highest-poverty schools, despite the plan’s popularity with high-ranking school staffers and a district advisory committee.
The plan would have diverted some Title 1 money from schools with a lower percentage of poor students to those with a greater percentage, reducing cuts to the highest-poverty schools at the expense of the slightly better-off. Elementary and middle schools with between 40 and 59 percent low-income students, who currently receive Title 1 funds, would no longer receive the funds — nor would high schools with between 40 and 74 percent low-income students.
Chief Financial Officer Bill Kowba, who is also interim superintendent, had promoted the plan as the best option to spare as many schools as possible from expected cuts in the federal program. Federal funds are shrinking, with a projected 5 percent cut in Title 1 dollars allocated to San Diego Unified next year, and a larger pool of low-income students enrolled to split it.
Instead, the school board voted to keep divvying up Title 1 money the same way the district did this year, using a three-tiered system. Schools with more than 40 percent of low-income students will continue to receive Title 1 dollars.
The proposal was rejected by a 4-1 vote, with Luis Acle dissenting. He argued that focusing funds more heavily on the highest-poverty schools would be more frugal.