Public schools in Utah are getting fewer federal education dollars this year than last; due in part to federal budget cuts, but also because there are more low-income students nationwide who are in need.
A projected nine percent reduction in Title 1 funding nationally will mean cutbacks in summer school programs, teachers and technology in many school districts and charter schools locally.
Congress slashed funding for several programs this year in an effort to roll back the nation’s deficit. In addition to federal sequestration there was a 0.2 percent across-the-board cut that also impacted schools. . Karl Wilson is Utah’s Director of Title 1 and federal programs. He says Utah’s share of the nation’s poor has also shrunk.
“Even though some of our school districts may have had an increase in the number of children who are economically disadvantaged, the overall count across the nation over the last few years has been much higher," Wilson says.
Wilson says local school districts and charters were encouraged last year to set money aside to brace for the cuts. But Wilson says that’s difficult when schools are seeing as much as a 10 percent reduction in federal funding.
“It’s hard to absorb that kind of reduction when most Title 1 funding is personnel driven and you’re talking about losing people positions to help support students in need of extra academic support," Wilson says.
Granite School District receives the most Title 1 money of any district in Utah.