LSR7+Insider Article

CARES Act Funding Proposal

On August 27th, 2020, Frank White Jr., the Jackson County Executive, issued a press release summarizing the proposal for school district allocation of the CARES Act Funding. When will districts receive funding and will it be enough?

Need a refresher on what the CARES Act does for education? Here are some summaries and resources.

MO DESE has a dedicated webpage with a multitude of resources.

The Wallace Foundation has provided a summary.

Now - back to our story...

According to the press release, LSR7 will receive $647,496 of the 5M in total school district funding, as proposed. This represents 13% of the funding. In fact, the pie chart below illustrates that LSR7 seems to be getting a fairly large piece of the pie compared to several other districts. This is not unexpected due to district enrollment. As stated in the press release, the funding allocation proposal for each district is based in part on poverty levels in each district and is not based solely on the number of students enrolled in each district.

The Insider team used the MCDS portal to gather the 2019 enrollment numbers for each district in the county (see pie chart below). The total number of students in Jackson County, PK-12, was 96,897 in 2019. LSR7 enrollment last year was 18,413, representing about 19% of the total number of enrolled students in Jackson County.

Lee's Summit schools comprise about 19% of the students in the county. Still, LSR7 would receive only 13% of the total funding proposal because LSR7 has a low poverty level than the other county school districts. But what does that 6% difference represent in actual dollars? The chart below illustrates the percent adjustment for each district based on poverty levels.

As you can see, Lee's Summit students will be getting about 300K dollars less than if funds were solely based on enrollment numbers.

Education Secretary DeVos issued a press release in June, clarifying options for funding calculations. From the release:

Under the rule, if an LEA chooses to use CARES Act funding for students in all its public schools, it still must calculate the funds for equitable services based on students enrolled in private schools in the district. However, if an LEA chooses to use CARES Act funding only for students in its Title I schools, it has two options:
1. Calculate the funds for equitable services based on the total number of low-income students in Title I and participating private schools; or
2. Calculate the funds using the LEA’s Title I, Part A share from the 2019-2020 school year.
If an LEA uses one of the low-income student options, the LEA must not violate the Title I supplement-not-supplant requirement in section 1118(b)(2) of the ESEA. That is, LEAs cannot divert state or local funds from its Title I schools because they receive CARES Act funds.

Title 1 allows federal funding in more impoverished areas within each state and is generally calculated based on how many students in each school qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Check out this Handy Handout summarizing Title 1.

So, what percentage of students qualify for FRP in each Jackson County school district?

The chart above shows that about 20% of the LSR7 student body in 2019 qualified for FRP. Note, however, that for LSR7, this is equivalent to 3,586 students. In Grandview, 78% of their students qualified for FRP, but this is equivalent to 3,045 kids in their district. LSR7 is a much larger district. Therefore the same number of kids qualifying represents a smaller percentage of the total. For comparison, Kansas City Public Schools and Hickman Mills Public Schools reported that 100% of their students qualified for FRP. For HM, this means about 5,300 kids qualified, and, for KCPS, means about 14,100 students qualified.

The number of kids qualifying for FRP in the county is illustrated by the pie chart below. According to data reported to the state, Jackson County is home to 51,871 students who qualify for FRP. Of those, 3586 (7%) live in Lee's Summit, whereas 14,146 (27%) live in KCMO.

The total number of students (PK-12) in all public school districts in Jackson County is 96,897. If 51,871 of the 96,897 qualify for FRP, that means that about 54% of the kids in our county qualify for FRP. Lee's Summit has 3,586 kids who qualify, which is about 3.7% of students' total number of county students.

For LSR7,

  • 20% of students in the district qualify for FRP

  • This 20% represents 3.7% of the county's total student body and 7% of the total FRP-qualified student body in the county.

Clear as mud? Education funding can be confusing.

When will schools get funding? The county legislature would have to approve allocations to the school districts before any districts can receive funds, per the County Executive's press release. The County Legislature met this morning, though these allocations were not on the agenda.

Will this be enough? For LSR7, previous board meeting work sessions indicated that the administration estimated 1.1M in CARES Act funding may be possible. While this may be less than was anticipated, it would not have been enough to support the district's budget woes.

LSR7 will face many challenges in the year to come. We will have to get lean and mean. Time will tell the tale if we've got the stuff to make it through on top. Everyone should prepare to be annoyed!

Stay well and stay tuned!

-LSR7+Insider Team