Students, Money Left Behind
by Cynthia L. Garza, Times-Union, August 26, 2003
For more articles like this
The legal fine print of the No Child Left Behind Act details
what can happen if a public school fails to make what the
federal government considers adequate progress each year.
Between the lines is what that can mean for a school in terms of
dollars, especially when not meeting the grade provides students
the choice to transfer to a better-performing school. In Duval
County, it will mean more than $2.3 million in funding will be
redirected this year.
About 440 students transferred to other public schools this year
under provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, according to
figures taken seven days into the school year. Each student who
leaves takes $5,268.87 in state and federal funding to the new
"The money follows the students," said Steve Bright, Duval
County schools' budget director.
There were 550 students who initially applied for transfers. The
stipulation applies only to schools that receive federal money
for disadvantaged students and in Northeast Florida affects only
Duval County schools.
This is the first year any Florida schools have had to worry
about transfers under the federal law. Eight Duval County
schools, including one charter school, did not meet the federal
definition of academic progress, although most of the schools
showed improvement this year on the state's measure of
If a school that receives this type of funding, commonly called
Title I money, fails to meet the federal standard for a third
consecutive year, the school would also provide to economically
disadvantaged students supplemental educational services.
Eugene J. Butler Middle School saw the most transfers. The
shifting of 196 students will cost the school at least $1
million, which already has been visible through fewer hirings,
school officials said. The funding loss meant the school could
hire eight fewer teachers and lost a vice principal and several
teacher assistant positions this year.
Principal Nongongoma Majova-Seane said she is looking at the
positive side of having fewer children, including being able to
give more attention to students. The school has been working to
overcome some high-profile discipline problems, including the
sexual assault of a girl inside a restroom during school hours
"With less students we're going to try to focus on those" who
stayed, Majova-Seane said. "The teachers will be able to work
with children closer."
Majova-Seane said some students have returned to the school. She
said she wants students to return because "as a community, we
need to stand together. You have to stick with your family."
Seven miles away, Lake Shore Middle School Principal Iranetta
Wright is dealing with the other side: an influx of students,
including 89 from Butler.
Lake Shore will have four more teaching positions this year.
Wright said she's already hired two of the teachers. Aside from
new teachers, the school will split one of its classrooms into
"We're going to do whatever we can to make the transition as
smooth as possible," Wright said.
At the school system level, officials said they are working to
shift teachers from schools that lost students to schools that
gained them. Bright said new teachers will start falling into
place within the following week. There may still be hiring and
letting go of recently hired teachers depending on where the
need lies, Bright said. Any decision on that would be made by
the School Board.
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to