By Lori Stuenkel
GILROY – The school district is awaiting state approval to keep extra federal money from last year and use it to help disadvantaged students this year.
The board of trustees earlier this month approved a waiver submitted to the state requesting the carry over of excess funds from Title I, the largest federally funded educational program.
Each year, Gilroy Unified School District receives money from the government to pay for programs, books and instructional materials, staff development and personnel salaries.
Title I funds are earmarked for helping students defined as disadvantaged, including low-achieving students who attend schools with a high poverty rate, English language learners, migrant students, Native American students, students with disabilities and neglected, delinquent or at-risk children.
“As long as our rationale can provide good usage of the funds, we can be approved,” said Martha Martinez, administrator of state and federal programs. “But they haven’t granted any approvals yet, so it’s kind of hard to say.”
Districts are allowed to keep 15 percent of their Title I budget each year but can request a waiver to carry over more than that once every three years, Martinez said.
GUSD has an extra $535,638 in Title I money from 2002-03, or 25 percent of its allocation. This year, GUSD received $1,996,236.
Among other things, Title I pays for intervention programs and the district’s after-school program.
The extra money, as stated in the district’s rationale, will be spent in a number of areas, such as staff development for teachers of low-performing students, supplemental math and English language development materials, literacy facilitators and intervention programs.
The excess occurred, Martinez said, because the district unexpectedly received money from the state for under-performing schools. The district found out about the money in March and had to spend it by June.
In other business, trustees approved plans for spending money from the Governor’s Performance Award at five
GUSD schools. The awards were based on student perform-ance in 2000-01 and gave each school about $40 per student last summer.
Gilroy schools that received an award include Antonio Del Buono, Luigi Aprea, Eliot and Las Animas and South Valley Middle School. The awards range from $5,771 for Del Buono to $63,955 for South Valley.
The money will be used by each school for various purposes, including purchasing library materials, classroom and teacher supplies, printers and computer work stations; funding field trips; and providing a computer lab paraprofessional.