A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
June 3, 2009
Subject: Compensatory Education Allotment Alternative Funding
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
This letter is to inform you that your school district or open-enrollment charter school may qualify to be able to use an alternative state compensatory education allotment funding count. The Texas Education Code, §42.152(b), and commissioner's rules allow school districts and open-enrollment charter schools that do not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) to provide an alternative funding count. This letter is being sent to you either because our records indicate that you did not participate in these programs or because of your status as an open-enrollment charter school. All open-enrollment charter schools are sent this letter to make the schools aware of the existence of the alternative funding count. (Since the Child Nutrition Program Information Management System (CNPIMS) data from the prior federal fiscal year are not available to the Division of State Funding until January of the current school year, we are not aware of a charter school's suspension of participation in the NSLP or SBP until then. If a charter school suspends participation in the NSLP or SBP and is not made aware of the alternative funding count, the charter school risks being over funded through March and having remaining payments for the school year reduced.) Alternative compensatory education allotment funding procedures for the current school year can be found on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/school.finance/funding/altcomped.html.
Under commissioner's rules (19 Texas Administrative Code §61.1027), the count of students used for the alternative reporting method is those students that would otherwise meet the income requirements for eligibility under the NSLP, if it were offered. You must retain the qualification information for each child for audit purposes. Also, you must record the counts of eligible students each month and report them to the TEA. Note that changes in family income status through the year may affect whether a student remains or becomes eligible for this funding count.
In general, students in families that receive food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families automatically qualify for the funding count, and districts can satisfy the documentation requirements by recording the appropriate case numbers. Students in families that do not receive such assistance may qualify if they are in families that meet the same income guidelines as are used for the NSLP and SBP. The income guidelines are a function of family size and total income of all family members. The table entitled Income Eligibility Guidelines for 2009–10, which can be found on the TEA website athttp://www.tea.state.tx.us/school.finance/funding/altcomped.html, shows the maximum income for a given family size.
The following documents, posted to the TEA website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/school.finance/funding/altcomped.html, may be helpful in gathering the proper income eligibility information for families:
The letter to households explains the need for personal income data. The standard form for qualification and the related instructions provide direction to parents or heads of households on how to report the necessary information. On receipt of the qualification forms, school district or charter school personnel must make a determination in each case of the qualifications of the applicant for funding. Personnel must complete relevant fields at the bottom of each form, and your school district or charter school must retain the form for audit purposes. Each of these documents may be customized with your district's or charter school's identifying information.
The Basic Monthly Claim form is the data collection instrument that your school district or charter school must return to the TEA State Funding Division to receive funding. This claim form requires only aggregated counts of eligible students in each month. Enter the highest number of students in the district approved for free or reduced-price meals for the claim month. The highest number of students is determined by the day in the month that had the highest number of approved students. Do not use cumulative monthly enrollment or obtain the data from reports that use Public Education Information Management System economic indicator codes. Your district or charter school must review records monthly to determine whether students are still enrolled and whether family income status has changed. You must submit this monthly form by the fifteenth of each month with the prior month’s student count. For example, the claim form for October will be due on November 15.
Funding for 2009–10
A school district or open-enrollment charter school may use an alternative compensatory education allotment funding count if the district or school does not participate in the NSLP or SBP in the 2008–09 school year. The average of the highest six months' count of pupils, collected from the 2008–09 school year, will be used to fund the state compensatory education program in the 2009–10 school year, as is the case for school districts and charter schools that operate lunch or breakfast programs. Open-enrollment charter schools that will begin operations in 2009–10 will be allowed to use 2009–10 data for state compensatory education funding in the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.
If your school district or open-enrollment charter school receives the alternative compensatory education allotment, it is responsible for obtaining the appropriate data from the families of potentially eligible students, verifying the information, and retaining records. The TEA will conduct an audit of the data submitted by districts and charter schools. For this reason, your district or charter school should retain records for a minimum of five years after the end of each school year.
Please contact Kimberley Rife in the State Funding Division at (512) 463-4809 if you have questions about this letter or the alternative state compensatory education allotment funding count method.
Lisa Dawn-Fisher, Ph.D.
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