Guilford County school board members make changes to controversial new Title I funding plan

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County school board members voted nine to one Thursday to makes changes to a controversial new plan which affects how Title I funding is spread among low-income schools.

Title I funding is federal money the school district gets for schools with a high number of students living in poverty.

School board members voted to lower the poverty threshold for the funding from 42.3 percent to 40 percent, meaning more schools will likely get the money.

Under the original proposal, the school district wanted to raise the threshold to qualify for Title I funds to 44.5 percent which would have disbursed more money to fewer schools.

The original proposal would have taken away Title I funding from poor schools and given it to the poorest schools.

Guilford County school district officials say concentrating the money in schools with the highest poverty rates is the best way to use the funding.

The proposal was tabled at the school board's March 8 meeting.

Dozens of parents and teachers protested the possible cuts, arguing that the original plan would have put poor schools against each other.

Title I money is used for schools where at least 40 percent of students live in poverty.

An estimated $22.5 million in Title I funds will go to schools that qualify.

Currently, 65 GCS schools qualify for Title I funding.

The proposal is based on a John Hopkins University study which stressed the need for the money to be used more strategically to have a greater impact.

The changes won’t go into effect until the 2016-2017 school year.