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Supplement and Not Supplant Rule-Making

By Patrick Chapman, Executive Director, Federal Programs
Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 3:21pm

The Secretary has indicated that negotiated rule-making for ESSA will include a focus on the supplement and not supplant provisions.  The requirement that ESSA funds supplement and not supplant state and local funds is intended to ensure that federal resources are used to provide additional educational resources and supports to students at risk instead of just being used to make up for state and local budget shortfalls.  For the most part, ESSA retains the supplement and not supplant language that has always been a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  However, the following sections under Title I, Part A are new and are drawing quite a bit of attention as they seem to move the focus away from individual costs as supplementary to a more comprehensive question regarding the entire Title I program.

“(1) IN GENERAL.—A State educational agency or local educational agency shall use Federal funds received under this part only to supplement the funds that would, in the absence of such Federal funds, be made available from State and local sources for the education of students participating in programs assisted under this part, and not to supplant such funds.

“(2) COMPLIANCE.—To demonstrate compliance with paragraph (1), a local educational agency shall demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate State and local funds to each school receiving assistance under this part ensures that such school receives all of the State and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not receiving assistance under this part.

“(3) SPECIAL RULE.—No local educational agency shall be required to—

“(A) identify that an individual cost or service supported under this part is supplemental; or

“(B) provide services under this part through a particular instructional method or in a particular instructional setting in order to demonstrate such agency’s compliance with paragraph (1).

The new language seems to affirm that ESSA Title I funds are to be used in supplementary fashion while opening the door for local flexibility.  It is important to note that supplement and not supplant provisions under Titles II, III, and IV do not contain this new language.  CDE will be tracking the comments and recommendations of the negotiators in this area and would like to make sure that the voices of Colorado school districts and BOCES are heard as part of the process. Let us know your thoughts and concerns with regard to supplement and not supplant.

In particular:

What does it mean to ensure that a Title I school receives all of the state and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not receiving funds under Title I?

What does it mean to have a methodology for allocating state and local funds in a district that allocates resources such as staff positions instead of dollars?

Should regulations implementing this statutory provision create certain allowances for flexibility such as for districts with small schools or allow for different allocations among grade spans?

Typically, we believe the fewer new regulations, the better – is that the case with these provisions?

What enforcement action must a state take if it finds that a district has not complied with this requirement?

Comments

Denver Public Schools: Collaboratively drafted by Veronica Bradsby, Jeremiah Johnson, Miles Pimentel, Stephanie Abram

Thank you for taking the opportunity to ask for input on draft regulatory language for supplement and not supplant.
When considering supplement and not supplant, it is important to define what it means to ensure that a Title I school receives all of the state and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not receiving funds under Title I. There is a tremendous amount of value when LEAs use a base formula calculation for allocating state and local funds that include all schools, key equity metrics, and utilizes weights such as grade, EL and risk. Title I allocations can be equally impactful when they incorporate rank order, are allowed to be flexible in the use of Free and Reduced Lunch and Free weights, and when tiered on PPA within a grade span. LEAs should then ensure that central programs from a non-budget standpoint are supplementing and not supplanting services and allocations if using Title I funding. Comparability calculations should continue to occur alongside these formula allocations.

The question of flexibility with the implementation of this statutory provision has come up a lot over the past few months and within many mediums. This could be executed by requiring LEAs to maintain policies and procedures that consider schoolwide consolidation of funds, program, comparability, and how allocations are weighted to ensure supplementary and equitable funding. The allocations should be fair, honor the intent of the funds, and be in alignment with LEA UIPs and SWPs. This would help reduce the burden of proving specific transactions.

What enforcement action must a state take if it finds that a district has not complied with this requirement? An option would be for SEAs to develop an equitable plan for corrective action and subsequent discipline that would allow for re-alignment and for more severe cases desk reviews, site visits, audit requirements, etc…

Thank you again for this opportunity to share our thoughts and concerns with regard to supplement and not supplant.

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