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Parents ask Lorain school administrators about Title funds

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LORAIN — School administrators were at odds with parents on Title funding usage at meeting Monday evening.

Lorain Schools’ Director of Federal Programs and Grants held a federal programs input meeting at the high school Monday. Despite low attendance, at least two parents questioned the district’s Title I funding policy and its usage of federal funding this school year.

Title I funding is supplemental funding to help low-income students meet state standards. Lorain’s districtwide policy, as presented Monday evening, requires it to inform parents of programs; train parents to work with students to attain instructional objectives; trains teachers and staff; consults with parents regularly; allows for parental input into programs; and provides opportunities for English-as-a-second-language parents or those who lack literacy skills to participate.

“Not one of those things have happened, so I don’t understand how we’re following policy and how the money’s being used legally,” parent Courtney Nazario said.

She said other events were combined with literacy nights, to parents’ surprise when they got to the event, to count toward the guidelines. She added at events she attended with her daughters at Admiral King Elementary and General Johnnie Wilson Middle School, nothing was done for non-English speaking parents or children and none of the materials sent home that she received had been bilingual.

Parent Barbie Washington reported similar instances at the high school, where a literacy night was combined with a meeting regarding attendance, and she didn’t get to see anything to do with literacy at that event.

Later, Nazario questioned the district’s implementation of afterschool tutoring as intervention — as it was done in the second-half of the year either before or after school. She asked why those interventions weren’t given during the school day — when, as evidenced by the evening’s low parent attendance, it is hard to get parents to come to school before, or after — and why those interventions given during the school day during classes’ intervention block are provided by regular teachers. Starting this year, the district moved away from having specific Title I teachers provide tutoring to struggling students.

Tansey said the decision was made by CEO David Hardy.

“The decision was made by our CEO to offer intervention rather than Title I teachers,” she said. “That’s all I can say. We are legally using Title I funds appropriately, we are providing intervention via the intervention block. So that’s a philosophical decision and that’s the one that was made.”

Chief Family Officer Arliss Prass said it was still premature to speak to the district’s new approach to intervention, as it’s “not even really completed its first year.”

“But I think we can speak to what has happened previously,” she said. “25 years with the same model, however the result was not favorable in regards to where we are as a district.”

Prass declined to answer if students were being broken up by ability during intervention blocks, deferring to other administrators. She and Tansey said they would plan to have Chief of Schools LaKimbre Brown and Chief Equity and Achievement Officer Kenan Bishop at the next meeting.

The district is seeking further input from community members on its implementation of Title I programs as outlined by the Lorain Promise. For more information, contact Tansey at rtansey@loraincsd.org.

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.


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