Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Title I Comparability

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1 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Title I Comparability Title I provides federal financial assistance to school districts to provide supplemental educational services to meet the educational needs of educationally disadvantaged children. The legislation requires that school districts provide educational services in Title I schools that are comparable to the services provided in non-title I schools. This document provides information for school districts to comply with the comparability requirements as follows: Statutory Provisions for Title I Comparability Comparability Assurance Comparability Demonstration Exclusion of State and Local Funds Title I Form Instructions Title I Comparability Documentation Forms Note: This document, including the required Comparability forms, is available on the ESE School Finance web site under Accounting and Auditing. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 1 of 14

2 STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR TITLE I COMPARABILITY SECTION 1120A(c) NCLB (c) COMPARABILITY OF SERVICES. -- (1) IN GENERAL. (A) Except as provided in paragraphs (4) and (5), a local educational agency may receive funds under this part only if State and local funds will be used in schools served under this part to provide services that, taken as a whole, are at least comparable to services in schools that are not receiving funds under this part. (B) If the local educational agency is serving all of such agency s schools under this part, such agency may receive funds under this part only if such agency will use State and local funds to provide services that, taken as a whole, are substantially comparable in each school. (C) A local educational agency may meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) and (B) on a grade-span by grade-span basis or a school-by-school basis. (2) WRITTEN ASSURANCE. (A) A local educational agency shall be considered to have met the requirements of paragraph (1) if such agency has filed with the State educational agency a written assurance that such agency has established and implemented (i) a local educational agency-wide salary schedule; (ii) a policy to ensure equivalence among schools in teachers, administrators, and (iii) other staff; and a policy to ensure equivalence among schools in the provision of curriculum materials and instructional supplies. (B) For the purpose of subparagraph (A), in the determination of expenditures per pupil from State and local funds, or instructional salaries per pupil from State and local funds, staff salary differentials for years of employment shall not be included in such determinations. (C) A local educational agency need not include unpredictable changes in student enrollment or personnel assignments that occur after the beginning of a school year in determining comparability of services under this subsection. (3) PROCEDURES AND RECORDS. Each local agency assisted under this part shall (A) develop procedures for compliance with this subsection; and (B) maintain records that are updated biennially documenting such agency s compliance with this subsection. (4) INAPPLICABILITY. This subsection shall not apply to a local educational agency that does not have more than one building for each grade span. (5) COMPLIANCE. For the purpose of determining compliance with paragraph (1), a local educational agency may exclude State and local funds expended for (A) bilingual education for children of limited English proficiency; and (B) excess costs of providing services to children with disabilities as determined by the local educational agency. (d) EXCLUSION OF FUNDS. For the purpose of complying with subsections (b) and (c), a State or local educational agency may exclude supplemental State or local funds expended in any school attendance area or school for programs that meet the intent and purposes of this part. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 2 of 14

3 COMPARABILITY ASSURANCE In order to determine a school district s compliance with the Title I comparability requirement, a school district must submit a statement of assurance to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE). The school district must assure that it has established and implemented (1) a districtwide salary schedule, (2) a policy to ensure equivalence among schools in teachers, administrators, and other staff, and (3) a policy to ensure equivalence among schools in the provision of curriculum materials and instructional supplies. In the determination of expenditures per pupil from state and local funds, or instructional salaries per pupil from state and local funds, staff salary differentials for years of employment shall not be in included in such determinations. A school district does not need to include unpredictable changes in student enrollment or personnel assignments that occur after the beginning of the school year in determining comparability. All data, documents, and policies supporting the assurance and verifying compliance with the comparability requirement must be on file at the local Title I office. If such information does not demonstrate to state or federal reviewing officials, or fiscal auditors, that comparability of services provided with state and local funds exists between Title I project and non-title I schools, the following actions may result. 1. Immediate suspension of the Title I program at schools in noncompliance until such absence of comparability has been corrected. 2. Withholding of payments of Title I funds based upon the amount or percentage by which the school district is out of compliance. 3. Repayment of Title I funds of that project year through the date of suspension equal to the amount or percentage by which the school district has failed the meet the comparability requirement. COMPARABILITY REPORT COMPLETION 1. Single school district A school district with only one school such as a charter school or a regional vocational school does not need to complete a comparability report because as a single school district, there is no basis for comparison. The school district should complete Form A. 2. Remaining school districts Other than a single school district, the remaining school districts must complete a comparability report. a. A school district with one school for each grade span is exempt from the comparability requirement; however, such a school district must file Form A, Summary Sheet. b. Form A, Summary Sheet must account for the total number of schools comprising the school district. c. A school with 100 or fewer students may be excluded from the comparability determination. Make a notation on Form A if this exclusion is exercised Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 3 of 14

4 SKIPPING AN ELIGIBLE SCHOOL Section 1113(b)(D) of the ESEA allows a district to skip an eligible school attendance area or eligible school that has a higher percentage of children from low-income families if (1) the school meets the comparability requirements; (2) the school is receiving supplemental funds from other state or local sources that are spent according to the requirements of section 1114 or 1115; and (3) the funds expended from such other sources equal or exceed the amount that would have been provided under Title I, Part A. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 4 of 14

5 COMPARABILITY DEMONSTRATION Comparability is an annual requirement under Title I. Each school district must be able to demonstrate, through appropriate documentation, that it is in compliance with the Title I comparability requirements. This includes evidence supporting the assurances the school district submits to the ESE. The school district must maintain records documenting its compliance. The ESE considers the following as appropriate documentation for the three requirements covered by the comparability assurance. A. Districtwide Salary Schedule The most recent teacher contract with the applicable salary schedule will suffice to demonstrate compliance with this assurance since it is anticipated that teacher salaries are based upon a policy consistent for all teachers across all schools in the school district. Additional information verifying consistency in salaries for principals, paraprofessionals, and/or clerks, must also be kept on file. B. Equivalence in the Assignment of Instructional Personnel -Demonstrating Comparability Each school district must demonstrate that the pupil/staff ratio in each Title I school within a grade span is equal to or less than the average pupil/staff ratio for all non-title I schools within that grade span. The school district must consistently include the same staff members in the ratios for both Title I schools and the comparison group. This means that the school district must compute the ratio of pupils to total instructional staff at each school within a grade span where Title I services are being provided. For these computations, the following instructional staff l at each school may be included: EPIMS 1305 Principal EPIMS 1310 Asst/Vice Principal EPIMS 2305 Teacher EPIMS 2310 Teacher support content instruction EPIMS 2325 Long Term Substitute Teacher EPIMS 2330 Instructional Coach EPIMS 3329 Guidance Counselor Other school staff may not be included. In compiling data, include only staff paid from State and local funds. Exclude staff paid with Title I or other federal funds. ESE provides for school districts to demonstrate comparability using student/instructional staff ratios through completing Forms A, B, C, and D, as applicable. C. Equivalence in the Provision of Instructional Materials and Supplies The school district shall keep on file a statement of the specific policies and procedures adopted by the school district to ensure that textbooks and other instructional materials are provided in schools serving Title I project areas on a comparable basis to that for non-title I schools in the same grade span. The school district should, to the extent possible, maintain records/receipts regarding the actual purchase of instructional materials for any grade span in which Title I services are being provided. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 5 of 14

6 Items to keep in mind when demonstrating comparability: When grouping schools by grade span, a school district must do in a way that reflects the actual grade spans in a district (e.g., K-5; K-8; 6-8; 9-12) Schools with enrollments of 100 or fewer pupils are exempt from the comparability requirements. A school serving grades which overlap two or three grade spans shall be included in the grade span group with which it has the greatest number of grades in common. Where the number of grades in common is equal between two or more groups, the school shall be included in the lower grade span. When a school district skips an eligible school with a higher concentration of poverty in order to serve a lower ranked school, the school district must include the skipped school as a Title I school when making comparability determinations. The following information should be filed and maintained so that they are readily available for review. Forms A, B, C, and D, as applicable (attached) Resource records, including school enrollment records The FTE (full-time equivalency) of staff at each school Schedules of instructional staff serving more than one school building Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 6 of 14

7 Exclusion of State and Local Funds Programs for students with limited English proficiency and/or disabilities: A school district may exclude state and local funds expended for (l) bilingual education for children of limited English proficiency (LEP), and (2) excess costs of providing services to children with disabilities as determined by the school district. School districts that elect to include such expenditures in their comparability determinations should count their students with LEP and/or disabilities in the enrollments of the schools they attend. Should the school district choose to include such expenditures, it must do so consistently for schools across the school district. Supplemental programs for educationally at-risk students: The Title I statute also allows a school district to exclude, for comparability purposes, supplemental state or local funds expended in any school attendance area or school as long as the expenditures are for programs that meet the intent and purposes of Title I (Part A). In the case of a target assistance-like school, a supplemental program meets the intent and purpose of Title I if it serves only children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the state s challenging student performance standards; provides supplementary assistance designed to meet the special educational needs of the children who are participating in the program to support their achievement toward meeting the state s student performance standards; and uses the state s system of assessment to review the effectiveness of the program. In the case of a schoolwide program-like school, a supplemental program meets the intent and purposes of Title I if it is implemented in a school in which the percentage of children from low-income families is at least 40 percent; is designed to promote schoolwide reform and upgrade the entire educational operation of the school to support students in their achievement toward meeting the state s challenging student performance standards that all students are expected to meet; is designed to meet the educational needs of all children in the school, particularly the needs of children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the state s challenging student performance standards; and uses the state s system of assessment to review the effectiveness of the program. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 7 of 14

8 Summary Instructions for Forms A, B, C, and D Information from Form D is used to complete Forms A, B, and C. 1. FORM A: - SUMMARY SHEET Every District operating a Title 1 program must complete Form A. District also pertains to Regional Schools, Charter Schools, and Regional Vocational-Technical Schools 2. FORM B: - DETAILED TITLE I SCHOOL DATA All Districts with Title 1 programs will complete this form unless the following circumstances exist: a. Only one school in district. b. Only one school in the grade span in which Title I services are being provided. For a. and b., there is no basis for comparison. The number of Form Bs that a District will use will depend on the following: a. A separate Form B must be completed for each separate grade span in which Title 1 services are being provided (i.e., A, B, C, X) if that grade span (1) includes both Title I and non-title I schools or (2) includes two or more Title I schools and no non-title I schools. b. A separate Form B must be completed for each group of smaller and of larger schools (when the grade span split option has been chosen) that meets either of the conditions of "a." above for a grade span. 3. FORM C: - DETAILED NON-TITLE I SCHOOL DATA For each Form B completed listing the Title I schools for a particular grade span (or for larger or smaller groupings within a grade span if the grade span split option has been chosen) a corresponding Form C listing all non-title I schools within the same grade span must also be completed for a comparison to be made. The averages for all non-title I schools should be determined and shown in the appropriate boxes at the bottom of Form C as well as entered in the applicable boxes at the bottom of Form B. Please note that Form B lists only Title I schools (those receiving Title I funds), not all Title I eligible schools. Where more than one Form C is needed for any grade span or size split in order to list all of non-title I schools, the averages for all such non-title I schools in a particular grouping should only be filled in on the final Form C. 4. FORM D: - STAFF DATA BY INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL Copies of Form D must be completed for every school, Title I or non-title I, listed on either Form B or Form C. The total in Column 3 of Form D should be transferred to Column 4 on either the Form B or Form C Form listing that school. Detailed instructions for Completing Form A, B, C, and D are on the following pages. The forms are in Word and Excel format. NOTE: When completing Forms B, C, and D in Excel format, if you need additional lines, click on the red arrow at the bottom of Form B, C, or D. Then select both Row 40 and Row 89 on Form B; both Row 38 and Row 85 on Form C, both Row 46 and Row 97 on Form D.. Then, go to Format Row - Unhide. This process will allow you to enter more schools or staff, when necessary. Clicking on the red arrow in the middle, at the bottoms of Form B, C, and D will also provide this information Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 8 of 14

9 FORM A INSTRUCTIONS Every district receiving Title I funds must complete Form A. Identification Enter the District s name and the applicable code which the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) uses in its official listing of school districts. Enter the current fiscal year, the date for which the data is compiled (generally October 1), and the person who had primary responsibility for compiling and verifying the data. Number of Schools, by Grade and Size: Record the total number of schools in the District by grade span and size using the following instructions: 1. Under "Grade Spans", enter the span as defined by the District - for example, A=K-5 (Elementary), B=6-8 (Middle or Jr High), C= 9-12 (High School). The number of grade spans should be consistent with the District s grade span specification. An additional grade span (X) is permitted for schools that have grades that overlap grade spans. 2. Record the number of Title 1 and non-title 1 schools in each grade span. Even though there might only be Title 1 activities in the elementary grade span, be sure to provide information for all schools that are a part of the District by grade span groupings by completing each box for other grade spans with no Title 1 services. For example, if there are two middle schools, neither of which is a Title I school, indicate "0" in the Title 1 column and "2" in the non-title 1 column. If the "X" grade span grouping does not apply to your District, fill the boxes with "NA" (not applicable). Finally, fill in totals for all grade spans at the bottom of the table. Use of Grade Span Split Option When there are significant enrollment differences between schools, a District has the option to split a grade span by size of school for comparability demonstration purposes, thus comparing similarly sized schools. A District may use this option within a grade span provided the school with the largest enrollment is approximately twice as great as the enrollment of the smallest school. When the grade span split option is chosen, the District must demonstrate, in accordance with the comparability requirements within an entire grade span, that comparability exists among Title I schools (if the grade span split groupings contain only Title I schools), or between Title I and non-title I schools (if the grade span split grouping includes at least one Title I and one non-title I school). In other words, the requirements for demonstrating comparability within a grade span grouping are the same as for demonstrating comparability within a whole grade span. If the grade span split results in a grouping in which there is only one Title I school or only non-title I schools, no further documentation on Forms B, C, and D is required for the grouping. Any District, which elects to use the grade span split option, must include a listing of all schools in the grade span with their enrollments and Title I status. This table must clearly mark the dividing line between the large schools and the small schools. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 9 of 14

10 FORM B INSTRUCTIONS A District must complete a separate Form B for each grouping of schools by grade span or grade span split for which there are both Title I and non-title I schools. The following instructions apply to Form B. Identification Enter the District s name and applicable code the ESE uses in its official listing of school districts. Grade span and Size Indicate the grade span for which the form is being completed. Mark an X in the appropriate box for grade span split. Column 1 Title I Schools: List by name each Title I school in the grade span or size group. Use additional sheets, if necessary. Column 2 Actual Grade Span: Enter the actual grade span for each school. Column 3 Pupils Enrolled: Record the actual number of pupils enrolled in each school on the date (generally October 1) being used for data collection. Where children in kindergarten attend only half-day sessions, the District must prorate such enrollment to reflect the actual Full Time Equivalent (FTE) school enrollment. Therefore, the total of such half-day students should be divided by 2 before adding kindergarten FTE to the school total to accurately reflect the FTE enrollment of the school. Enter data to the nearest tenth. Column 4 FTE Staff: Use Form D to determine the FTE number of staff members paid with state and local funds who are regularly assigned to each school listed. A district may exclude state and local funds expended for staffing for bilingual education for children of limited English proficiency, and excess costs of providing staffing services to children with disabilities as determined by the dstrict. The exclusion or inclusion of such funds must be done consistency for the entire District. Column 5 Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Enter the result of dividing Column 3 by Column 4. Record the result to the nearest tenth. (E.g., 15.6 pupils per staff member) Column 6 If Not Comparable: After the figures have been calculated for the non-title I schools (Form C), Box 5B will contain the figure to be used for comparison with each Title I school. Compare the entries in Column 5 for each Title I school to the figure in Box 5B. If an entry in Column 5 is greater than the figure in Box 5b, mark an X in Column 6. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 10 of 14

11 FORM C INSTRUCTIONS Identification Same as on Form B Column 1 Non-Title I Schools: List all schools in that grade span or size split which are not listed on the corresponding Form B as Title I schools. Column 2 4: Follow the same instructions for Columns 2 4 on Form B. Box 5A Average Pupil/Staff Ratio for Non-Title Schools: Divide the total enrollment in Column 3 by the total FTE staff in Column 4 and enter the result to the nearest tenth in Box 5A. Box 5B - Multiply the average pupil-staff ratio for non-title I schools in Box 5A by 110% and enter the result to the nearest tenth in Box 5B. Also enter the result in Box 5B in the corresponding Form B. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 11 of 14

12 FORM D INSTRUCTIONS Use separate forms for each school listed on either Form B or C. Identification Enter the district name and applicable code and the school name. Indicate the grade span for which the form is being completed. Mark an X in the appropriate boxes that describe the school and grade span. Column 1 School Staff: List names of all school staff who are assigned to that school and are allowable for comparability purposes, whether full or part-time (only staff assigned on a regularly scheduled basis). Column 2 Grade Level or Function: List by Title (i.e., principal) or function (i.e., clerk). In the case of teachers, list the grade level or subject taught. Column 3 FTE Staff: Indicate the decimal proportion (to the nearest tenth) of each individual s time spent at the school. For example, in the case of an art supervisor who may visit the school one day a week, you should determine the proportion of his/her time received by that school (i.e. 0.2) and list that proportion. Add Column 3 to get the total FTE staff at each school and enter the total at the bottom of the table. Enter this figure for each school in Column 4 on either Form B or C, as applicable. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 12 of 14

13 COMPARABILITY DETERMINATION WHEN ALL SCHOOLS ARE TITLE I In general, comparability is demonstrated by comparing the pupil-teacher ratio for each Title I school within a grade span to the average pupil-teacher ratio for all non-title I schools within that same grade span. In some cases, however, a school district may be providing Title 1 services to all of the schools within a grade span and there are no non-title I schools with which to form a comparison group. Nevertheless, in such a situation, the school district must still demonstrate that comparability with respect to pupil-teacher ratios exists among the project schools. This requirement also applies in those cases where a school district implements the grade span split provision and ends up with two or more Title I schools but no non-title I schools within one of the two groupings. In other words, if there are two or more Title I schools within a grade span split grouping and no non-title I school, those Title I schools must be comparable to each other in terms of their pupilteacher ratios. To demonstrate comparability among Title I schools, a school district must establish a comparison group from among those Title I schools constituting the lower 50 percent of the total schools in the grade span when ranked by poverty from highest to lowest. The table below is offered to facilitate understanding of how the comparison group is established: PROJECT SCHOOLS POVERTY PERCENT A 18 B 16 C 15 D 11 E 9 This table lists five Title I schools with their respective poverty percentages. Since the school district may form a comparison group representing no more than 50 percent of all the schools within the total grouping and since that comparison group must come from the schools with the smallest incidence of poverty, the average pupil-teacher ratio could be determined using schools D and E. This would constitute the comparison group to which the respective pupil-teacher ratios for schools A, B, and C would be compared. However, in the above example, school E alone could also constitute the comparison group. In that case the pupil-teacher ratios for schools A, B, C and D would have to be comparable to that for school E. It should be noted that, as in the case of comparing Title I to non-title I schools, the 10 percent variance is also allowed. Schools C, D and E could not constitute the comparison group since it would then include more than 50 percent of the schools within the grade span. In those cases where the number of schools within the grade span is an even number instead of an odd number as in the example above, that half of the total schools with the lowest poverty percentages can be selected as the comparison group. However, any number of schools within the lower 50 percent of the total schools in the grade span can be used as a comparison group as long as they are selected consecutively from the bottom up. As an alternative to the above procedure for verifying comparability among Title I schools where all the schools in the grade span or grade span split are Title I schools, a school district may determine the average pupil-teacher ratio for all of the Title I schools within the grade span or grade span split and compare the pupil-teacher ratio for each Title I school to the average for all the schools. Each Title I school must have a pupil-teacher ratio that is within the 10 percent allowable variance of the average pupil-teacher ratio for all the schools. For the purpose of reporting comparability among Title I schools, the same forms, namely B, C and D are used in reporting comparability between project and non-project schools. To distinguish from the latter case, however, a school district should cross out on Forms B, C and D the words "Non-Title I" and write "Comparison Group". Everything else remains the same. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 13 of 14

14 Title I Comparability Documentation Forms Form A Form B Form C Form D Summary Sheet Detailed Title I School Data Detailed Non-Title I School Data Staff Data by Individual School (See page 5 for staff personnel to be included) These Forms are in Word and Excel format. Using the mouse or the arrow key can access each cell or location. Note: These forms are available on the ESE School Finance web site under Accounting and Auditing. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Page 14 of 14

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