The Eagle's Eye

Why doesn’t Akins get Title I money from Austin ISD for late buses?

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Jump Start late busses wait for students to load. These buses are only for students who attend Jump Start classes

Jump Start late busses wait for students to load. These buses are only for students who attend Jump Start classes

Ulysses Luna

Ulysses Luna

Jump Start late busses wait for students to load. These buses are only for students who attend Jump Start classes

Rainy Zanjeel, Staff Writer

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Regular participation in afterschool programs has been proven to help narrow the achievement gap between high- and low-income students, according to the Afterschool Alliance.

Federal funding — called Title I — exists for afterschool programs at campuses with high numbers of economically disadvantaged campuses.

More than 62 percent of students at Akins are considered economically disadvantaged based on their parents income levels.

Teachers concerned about Akins lack of afterschool programs asked The Eagle’s Eye to investigate why the campus does not have federally supported after school programs when it appears to be eligible for Title 1 funding.

The Eagle’s Eye interviewed Principal Brandi Hosack about the confusion about Title I funding and afterschool funding at Akins.

Our interview follows:

Eagle’s Eye: Many people assume because of Akins demographics that we are considered a “Title 1 School.”However, we have heard that Akins does not accept the Title 1 funding. Is that true and if it is, why is that?

Although we qualify, we’re just that high school where there’s nothing left in that bucket to give.”

— Brandi Hosack

Brandi Hosack:

So let me tell you how Title I works. It’s a big misconception. Any time that anybody would say “Here’s some money to be able to benefit your kids,” I would take the money, but that’s not how it works. Title I money is federal money that comes from the federal government and it’s given to Austin Independent School District. So it’s given to the whole district in a bucket.

The district gets to choose how they divvy that money up. As long as your campus has at least 35 percent of its students qualifying (for free or reduced lunch), you could be deemed a Title I campus. We absolutely qualify because we’re (about) 68 percent low socioeconomic.

EE: Why do we not get any of that funding?

BH: We qualify for Title I funding, but the way that the district chooses to give money is that they give money first to all of the qualifying elementary schools. Any elementary school that is 35 percent and above low socioeconomic they get their money first and then they give it to middle  schools, and then they choose high schools last. By the time they get to us there’s nothing left.

The district’s philosophy is that it’ll benefit kids at a younger age with extra support at a younger age first. By the time they get to high school they’re mostly self-managing, and so we can make do with less. High schools (and) have had some other pockets of money that we get to dip into that elementary and middle schools don’t get to dip into. It’s certainly not true that I don’t accept money. I would absolutely accept it. There’s just nothing left by the time it would get to us. Based on our population, Akins would get a lot of money if we did get allocated those funds and it would take away from other campuses. There’s just nothing left.

EE: What about funding for afterschool programs and late buses that could come from Title I funding?

BH: Again, I would accept the Title I money if I could. That’s been a big rumor, that we don’t accept the money. It’s absolutely not true. Yes, there are certain programs that can go with Title I money you are given. But we do have after school buses. That gets paid for out of ( Jump Start) money and stuff like that from the district so we do actually have after school buses that run at 6:15 at night.

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