Oklahoma Schools to Receive Record Federal Funding: Superintendent Aims to Silence Critics With Early Allocation

KOKH - July 19, 2023 7:32 am

State Superintendent Ryan Walters

The Oklahoma State Department of Education released federal grant allocation numbers on Monday.

OSDE will receive a record amount in Title I, Part A funding this year from the federal government with an allocation of $224,661,041.

Last year, OSDE received $211,951,355. For fiscal year 2020, that allocation was less than $200 million.

“Oklahoma schools will be receiving record Title funding for the upcoming school year,” State Superintendent Ryan Walters said in a press release. “My office has been working tirelessly to ensure that every school in the state has the funding needed to adequately educate our kids. I will continue to keep a watchful eye on every federal dollar to make sure that our schools are focused on foundational learning tools not indoctrination.”

Title I, Part A funding provides financial assistance to educational agencies and schools with high numbers of children from low-income families.

The funding is doled out by the federal government in two portions: once on July 1 and the remainder on October 1.

The letter OSDE received from the United States Department of Education below:

July 1 FY23 CSSO Letter From USDE by Colleen Welcher on Scribd

OSDE said last year, initial allocations to districts were made in late August.

In a letter to legislators, Superintendent Walters noted, “we are on track to have the funding allocated to districts earlier than the previous year.”

This comes after some lawmakers, and districts, have raised concerns about the federal grant process under Superintendent Walters.

Superintendent Walters hopes this puts an end to “misinformation” surrounding the federal grants.

Read his full letter to state lawmakers below:

Letter to Legislators – Title 1 Part A Grants by Colleen Welcher on Scribd

In the letter to legislators, he noted, “We hope to work collaboratively with those who want to improve our education system and I will continue to call out those who abuse that collaboration in order to spread misinformation.”

Other federal grants the Oklahoma State Department of Education was awarded include funds for intervention programs for kids who are neglected and education assistance for homeless children.

On Friday, Tulsa Public Schools that Title I grants are vital for student success programming and initiatives.

Mustang Public Schools told FOX 25 that this notification adheres to its normal timeline.

Assistant Superintendent of Alternative Education & Federal Programs Jimmy Martin for Moore Public Schools shared the following information on the district’s process around Title I grants:

The typical planning process takes place at the end of the school year. We meet with our Title I district committee and determine if any changes for improvement are needed. We have to make plans based on what we received the previous year unless there are indicators that would make us believe we would be receiving fewer dollars. Usually, we find out our allocation early in June.

Our Title I funds go to sites that qualify based on free/reduced lunch percentages. The funds pay for Title I teachers at those sites. In addition, we support three literacy coaches for our Title I sites and provide site allocations for the principals to use for tutors and needed materials.

The funding is critical to support our students’ academic improvement at our Title I sites. These funds provide a teacher to drill down to specific student needs and work with them in smaller settings. The funding is supplemental to our district, but critical nonetheless.

Last school year we received $2,873,623.94 in our original allocation and were reallocated an additional $37,443.11 later in the year.

Typically, we do have our allocation by now. However, getting our application in and approved to start making claims and be reimbursed is usually late October.

So, it is yet to be seen when the application will be made available (this is when I understand we will be provided our district allocation) and when we get the application approved so we can be reimbursed for expenses.


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