Feds offering another Title I carryover waiver following sequestration

In an effort to help soften the impact of sequestration on school districts, the U.S. Department of Education has offered states a waiver to rules limiting how many Title I dollars can be carried over from one fiscal year to the next.

Existing law provides that no more than 15 percent of a district's Title I allotment from one budget year can be retained for use in the next. There is a process for receiving an exception to the carryover rule but it can be granted by the state only under certain conditions and its use is limited to once every three years.

The same waiver offer was made two years ago, in the wake of billions of additional federal aid given schools under the stimulus package. The issue was that many schools were not able to spend those dollars quickly enough and would be forced to return them to the federal treasury.

This time the objective is to soften the impact of less money.

Last fall, the 2012-13 budget for federal education programs was cut about 0.2 percent, and earlier this year another 5.1 percent was taken across the board through the sequestration process.

In an effort to give schools at least some option for a cushion, the Department of Education notified states earlier this month that they can apply for a blanket waiver, allowing local educational agencies flexibility to carry over more than 15 percent of their FY 2012 funds.

Officials at the California Department of Education have said they plan to bring the offer to the state board at its May meeting.

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