WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a $3 million grant competition today that will give school districts the opportunity to launch student-centered funding programs. The competition, authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will allow school districts to combine eligible federal funds with state and local funds in order to allocate resources based on students’ individual needs.
“This is a great opportunity for local education leaders to rethink education funding in a way that puts students and their needs at the center of the decision-making process,” said Secretary DeVos. “This clear and quantifiable way to allocate education funding provides much-needed transparency, predictability, and autonomy at the local level, and helps to ensure the money follows students who need the most support.”
Inflexible rules guiding the allocation and use of federal funds make it difficult for school districts to create student-centered funding systems using federal, state, and local funds. These grants will not only provide local districts with the flexibility they need to better serve students but also will provide the financial support they need to get the new system up and running.
School districts that receive the grants will apply for and, if approved, implement the associated funding flexibility under Section 1501 of ESSA, which must include using weights that allocate substantially more funding to students from low-income families, English learners, and any other educationally disadvantaged student group identified by the school district. School districts must also consult parents, teachers, school leaders, and other relevant stakeholders as they develop and implement the student-centered funding system.
For more information about these grant competitions, pre-application technical assistance webinar opportunities, or if you would like to be a peer reviewer, please email WeightedFundingPilot@ed.gov.