School District Federal Funding Remains Mostly Stable

Superintendent Laura Nelson gave the School Board an update regarding Federal Title I funds and how they are used by the district.

Nelson said at the board’s Sept. 8 meeting that the district is receiving approximately the same amount of Title I funding for 2015-16 as it did for 2014-15. The district received $648,944 in 2014-15 and $642,435 this year.

“It was very close, and I am pleased we did not have more of a reduction,” Nelson said.

The Title I funds are used for salary and benefits for Title I teachers, professional development, contracted services, after-school tutoring at Grinnell and Barka elementary schools, salary for the coordinator for homeless students served under the McKinney-Vento Act, transportation for McKinney-Vento students, supplies, Reading Consultant Cynthia Merrill’s services, and a summer math and reading camp.

The district also received $253,075 in Title II funds, an increase over last year’s $251,351. Title II money is used to fund teachers to help with class size reduction, the mentor program, and some professional development.

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) funds were $1,157,347 in 2014-15 and have increased to $1,172,343 for 2015-16. These funds include money for the DEEP – Derry Early Education Program – preschool, which remained the same at $19,353. This money is used for up to 40 Special Education paraprofessionals, educational consultants, contracted reading services, instructional material and professional development.

Nelson also touched on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. She encouraged families to apply for the breakfast and lunch program. An average of 26.54 percent of Derry’s students receive the service, she said.

“We are close to the cusp of schools that are being considered for more adequacy funds,” she said.

There is a great need in Derry for this service, and Nelson encouraged parents to take advantage of it. “It’s important to fill out the form, and see if you qualify,” she said.