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Federal Programs FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about "Annual Yearly Progress"

  1. How long must students who change schools be allowed to attend the school of their choice?
  2. What opportunities for public school choice must a district provide to a student who has changed schools under the Title I choice provisions and whose new school is subsequently identified as in need of improvement?
  3. If a student changes schools, but, in a subsequent year, moves out of the school attendance area for his or her school of origin and no longer lives in the attendance area of a school identified for improvement, must the district continue to allow that student to attend the new school and continue to provide transportation?
  4. Are students who plan to attend, but are not yet "enrolled" in a school eligible to take advantage of the Title I choice provisions?
  5. What does the law mean when it says that the district shall "give priority to the lowest achieving children from low-income families"?
  6. How does a district determine which students are from low-income families?
  7. How does a district determine which students are "lowest achieving"?
  8. What if a particular student attends a school that has been identified for improvement, but has been assigned to that school by a court order for disciplinary reasons?
  9. When should parents be notified that their children are eligible for public school choice?
  10. How must a district notify parents that their children are eligible for public school choice?
  11. What should parents look for when they are given the option of school choice?
  12. How much time should parents have to consider their options?
  13. What procedures should districts establish for enabling parents to communicate their choice of school?
  14. Are there any requirements as to how general education services for transfer students are to be funded by the district?
  15. If a child transfers out of her or his original school, should a district include that child (1) in the count of children used to determine the Title I allocation to the school of residence, or (2) in the count used to determine the Title I allocation to the school of enrollment?
  16. May Title I funds be used to benefit non-Title I schools that receive students transferring from Title I schools identified for improvement?
  17. Is a district required to provide transportation to school of choice?
  18. What must a district do if funds are not sufficient to provide transportation to all students wishing to transfer?
  19. What other Federal program dollars may be used to pay for choice-related transportation?
  20. Is a district required to pay for transportation for students who have left a school in improvement prior to the enactment of No Child Left Behind?
  21. May a district establish transportation zones within a district based on the geographic location of schools?
  22. Does the Title I "supplement, not supplant" requirement apply to transportation funds?
  23. Must a district that believes it does not have the physical capacity within its schools to accept transferring students implement the Title I public school choice provisions?
  24. If a district does not have the physical capacity to offer transfers to all eligible students, how can it create additional capacity?
  25. What if choice might create health or safety problems?
  26. Must a district provide the option to transfer if the district is complying with a desegregation plan?
  27. What if the desegregation plan is a court-ordered plan or a plan entered into with the Department's Office for Civil Rights?
  28. If a district does provide transportation but has a general policy of not providing it to students who live within a certain distance of their schools, would it have to provide transportation to students who elect, under the Title I school choice provisions, to transfer to schools that are within that distance of their homes?
  29. Must students with disabilities be offered their choice of the same schools as nondisabled students?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about "Adequate Yearly Progress"

1. How long must students who change schools be allowed to attend the school of their choice?
The district is no longer obligated to provide transportation for the student after the end of the school year in which the student's school of origin is no longer identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. The school of origin must make AYP for 2 consecutive years to get out of school improvement status. The district must allow the student to continue to attend his or her current school through the final grade of that school, but no longer is required to provide transportation.
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2. What opportunities for public school choice must a district provide to a student who has changed schools under the Title I choice provisions and whose new school is subsequently identified as in need of improvement?
A child must be offered the choice of attending a school that has not been so identified.
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3. If a student changes schools, but, in a subsequent year, moves out of the school attendance area for his or her school of origin and no longer lives in the attendance area of a school identified for improvement, must the district continue to allow that student to attend the new school and continue to provide transportation?
Students must be permitted to continue attending their new school until they have completed the highest grade in that school. However, once they move, the district is no longer obligated to provide for transportation.
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4. Are students who plan to attend, but are not yet "enrolled" in a school eligible to take advantage of the Title I choice provisions?
Students planning to enter a school for the first time, such as entering kindergarten, or students moving from elementary or middle school, or those who have just moved into the school attendance area served by a Title I school, have the same opportunity to exercise choice as students previously enrolled in a school.
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5. What does the law mean when it says that the district shall "give priority to the lowest achieving children from low-income families"?
The district must give all students in a school identified for improvement the opportunity to transfer to another public school. In implementing this option to transfer, however, there may be circumstances in which the district needs to give priority to the lowest achieving children from low-income families. For example, if not all students can attend their first choice of schools, a district would give first priority in assigning spaces to the low-achieving low-income students. If a district does not have sufficient funding to provide transportation to all students who wish to transfer, it would apply this priority in determining which students can receive transportation.
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6. How does a district determine which students are from low-income families?
F/R lunch data. Districts make this determination using the same data that they use in allocating Title I funds to schools.
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7. How does a district determine which students are "lowest achieving"?
Districts have flexibility in determining which students from low-income families are lowest achieving and must be given a priority for public school choice. Eligible students might be rank-ordered, based on their achievement levels as determined using objective educational measures, (FCAT).
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8. What if a particular student attends a school that has been identified for improvement, but has been assigned to that school by a court order for disciplinary reasons?
If a student is assigned to a particular school by a family court for child custody reasons and that school has been identified for improvement, the student could be eligible to transfer under the provisions in Title I. However, the student's parent may not be able to exercise that option without first obtaining permission from the court to move his or her child. A student may be assigned to a particular school-- e.g., an alternative school-- by a juvenile court due to the student's violent or criminal behavior or for disciplinary reasons sufficiently serious to justify placement in a particular learning environment. The district would likely need to limit or deny the choice option.
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9. When should parents be notified that their children are eligible for public school choice?
When AYP Reports have been released by Department of Education and verified by the district, parents will be immediately notified.
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10. How must a district notify parents that their children are eligible for public school choice?
A district must provide an explanation of the choice option to all parents of student enrolled in Title I schools that have been identified for school improvement. This notification must be in a comprehensive, easy-to-understand format, and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand. At a minimum, this notification must:

  • Inform parents that their child is eligible to attend another public school due to the identification of the current school as in need of improvement;
  • Identify each public school, which may include charter schools, that the parent can select;
  • Include information on the academic achievement of the schools that the parent may select;
  • Include an explanation of why the choices made available to parents may have been limited.

In addition to mailing notices directly to parents, the district must provide information about choice options through broader means, including newspapers, posters, and the Internet.
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11. What should parents look for when they are given the option of school choice?
District officials should urge parents to consult a variety of sources for information about the schools that are available to accept transfer students. These sources of information might include the local media, school visits and information available on school performance report cards.
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12. How much time should parents have to consider their options?
The district may establish a "window" during which parents must exercise their choice option. The school district must set a reasonable deadline by which parents must apply and ensure that the parents have sufficient time and information to make an informed decision about selecting a school.
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13. What procedures should districts establish for enabling parents to communicate their choice of school?
A district should ensure that its policies for receiving choice-related communications from parents do not impede parents' opportunities to exercise choice options. For example, parents should not have to appear in person to state their choices. Parents should be able to communicate their choices in a variety of ways, including by standard mail, email, or fax.
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14. Are there any requirements as to how general education services for transfer students are to be funded by the district?
No. The Title I statute and regulations do not require that any local, State, or Federal funds "follow the child" to his or her new school.
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15. If a child transfers out of her or his original school, should a district include that child (1) in the count of children used to determine the Title I allocation to the school of residence, or (2) in the count used to determine the Title I allocation to the school of enrollment?
Generally, Title I school eligibility and Title I allocations are based on the count of poor children who reside in the school attendance zone of a given school. Consistent with this general rule, a district would include a transferring child as part of the count of the school of residence. However, the district also has the option of using enrollment as the basis for determining Title I eligibility and allocations. In the case of a district that uses enrollment, the transferring student would be counted in the school in which the student is enrolled (the receiving school).
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16. May Title I funds be used to benefit non-Title I schools that receive students transferring from Title I schools identified for improvement?
Title I dollars and services do not follow a child who transfers from a Title I school identified for improvement to a non-Title I school.
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17. Is a district required to provide transportation to school of choice?
Yes, a district must pay for or provide transportation to the new school, subject to the limitations.
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18. What must a district do if funds are not sufficient to provide transportation to all students wishing to transfer?
If the funds available are insufficient to provide transportation to each student who requests a transfer, the district must give priority to the lowest-achieving students from low-income families. However, districts must still offer the opportunity to transfer to all students.
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19. What other Federal program dollars may be used to pay for choice-related transportation?
Title V, Part A Local Innovative Education Program funds Districts also may use funds transferred to Title I or Title V from other Federal education programs under the ESEA Section 6123 "transferability" authority to pay such costs. Programs under which such transfers may be made include Title II, Part A; Title II, Part D; and Title IV, Part A. Title V, Part A can also be transferred to Title I.
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20. Is a district required to pay for transportation for students who have left a school in improvement prior to the enactment of No Child Left Behind?
No, this is not required.
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21. May a district establish transportation zones within a district based on the geographic location of schools?
Yes, a district has the latitude in deciding which options to provide for eligible students. It might establish transportation zones based upon geographic location and fully fund transportation to different schools within a zone. Outside the transportation zone, parents might select a school outside of their designated attendance zone, but they would be informed prior to making this decision that they may be responsible for providing or arranging transportation for their children.
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22. Does the Title I "supplement, not supplant" requirement apply to transportation funds?
Yes. Title I funds may be used only to supplement the level of funds that, in the absence of the Title I funds, would be made available from non-Federal sources for the transportation of children. If a district is required by State to local law to provide transportation to students who choose to transfer to another school under an existing choice plan, it may not use Title I funds to supplant the State or local funds that it otherwise would use to provide transportation, even though transportation costs generally are an allowable use of Title I funds.
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23. Must a district that believes it does not have the physical capacity within its schools to accept transferring students implement the Title I public school choice provisions?
A district may not use lack of capacity to deny students the option to transfer but may take capacity into consideration in deciding which choices to make available to eligible students.
The bottom line, then, is that every student enrolled in a Title I school in improvement who wishes to transfer to a school that is not in need of improvement must have that opportunity. Moreover, the district's provision of a priority to the lowest-achieving eligible children does not diminish the requirement for the district to provide choice to all students in its Title I schools that are in school improvement status. TOP

24. If a district does not have the physical capacity to offer transfers to all eligible students, how can it create additional capacity?
When capacity is an issue, school officials will need to employ creativity and ingenuity in creating capacity in schools to receive additional students. The range of possible options might include:

  • Reconfiguring, as new classrooms, space in receiving schools that is currently not being used for instruction;
  • Expanding space in receiving schools, such as by reallocating portable classrooms within the district;
  • Redrawing the district's attendance zones, if insufficient capacity is available within the existing zones within which students would ordinarily select schools;
  • Creating satellite divisions of receiving schools, that is, classrooms that are under the supervision of the receiving school principal and whose teachers are part of the school faculty but that exist in neighboring buildings;
  • Creating new, distinct schools, with separate faculty, within the physical sites of schools identified for improvement;
  • Encouraging the creation of new charter schools within the district;
  • Developing distance learning programs, or entering into cooperative agreements with "virtual schools";
  • Reshaping long-range capital construction and renovation plans in order to ensure that schools that are likely to receive new students have additional space;
  • Modifying either the school calendar or the school day, such as through "shift" or "track" scheduling, in order to expand capacity; and
  • Easing capacity by initiating inter-district choice programs with neighboring districts or even by establishing programs through which local private schools can absorb some of the district's students.
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25. What if choice might create health or safety problems?
District's have broad latitude in determining which transfer options to offer for parental consideration. They may consider health and safety factors in determining the transfer options. However, lack of capacity and health and safety concerns -- including over crowding problems -- do not excuse a district from meeting the Title I public school choice requirement.
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26. Must a district provide the option to transfer if the district is complying with a desegregation plan?
Yes. If a district is subject to a desegregation plan, whether that plan is voluntary, courtordered, or required by a Federal or State administrative agency, the district is not exempt from offering students the option to transfer.
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27. What if the desegregation plan is a court-ordered plan or a plan entered into with the Department's Office for Civil Rights?
A district that is operating under a court-ordered plan should first determine whether it is able to offer choice within the parameters of its plan. If it is not able to do so, the district needs to seek court approval for amendments to the plan that permit a transfer option for students enrolled in schools identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring. If the district is unable to secure changes to the plan that permit a transfer option, the district will be out of compliance with Title I. If that occurs, it should notify the State Education Agency (SEA) and this Department of its request to the court and of the court's decision.

If the plan has been agreed to with the Department's Office for Civil Rights(OCR), OCR will work with the district to identify permissible amendments to the plan that will enable the district to comply with Title I public school choice requirements.
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28. If a district does provide transportation but has a general policy of not providing it to students who live within a certain distance of their schools, would it have to provide transportation to students who elect, under the Title I school choice provisions, to transfer to schools that are within that distance of their homes?
No. For instance, a district might have a policy of providing transportation only to students who live more than a mile from the schools they attend. In that situation, the district would not be required to provide transportation to students who elect, under the Title I provisions, to transfer to schools within one mile of their homes.
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29. Must students with disabilities be offered their choice of the same schools as nondisabled students?
School districts must offer students with disabilities and those eligible under Section 504 the opportunity to be educated in a school that has not been identified as in need of school improvement and has not been identified by the State as persistently dangerous, if nondisabled students have that opportunity.

However, the district is not required to offer students with disabilities the same choices of schools as it offers to nondisabled students. In determining the choices available to such students, the district should match the abilities and needs of a student with disabilities with those schools that have the ability to provide the student free appropriate public education (FAPE).
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