Title 1 is a federal grant provided to the state of Indiana and then dispersed to various schools depending on factors such as the amount of students receiving free and reduced meals and enrollment numbers.
Next year Culver Elementary is expected to have 64% poverty, the middle school is projected to have 56% poverty, and the high school is estimated to have 51% poverty. The money has to be allocated accordingly.
The director of the grant, Julie Berndt told the Culver Community School Board that the amount of money provided has decreased significantly over the last decade, “In 2014 what our grant was, was $241, 545.88. When I started 10 years ago, just to give you an estimate, it was around $357,000 so it’s gone down a lot, especially the last 10 years.”
After adding on carry over money totaling around $14,000 the amount of money provided for the 2014/15 school year was approximately $257,000. The grant for the upcoming school year is $219,846.55 which is a decrease of more than $37,000. Due to the reduced grant price, the money can only be spent paying grant employee salaries rather than being put towards supplies or any other purposes.
Due to the reduction some changes to the staff were made. Teachers’ aid Amy Gierhart was moved from the middle school to the elementary school where her services will be better fit. The second aid affected by the reduced grant amount is Debbie Stevens. At one point, Stevens was paid entirely through the Title 1 Grant. This past school year, 80% of her pay was being provided through the grant and this year they adjusted it so that 68% of her pay will come from the Title 1 Grant and the remainder will come out of general funds.
The grant regulations have also become more strict in recent years. Berndt will be required to provide the names of every employee being paid with grant money and log the hours they have worked and send in that information.