Designation gives Cy-Fair ISD extra money for education

The changing demographics in the state of Texas are also reflected in Cy-Fair ISD, which has seen a nearly 20 percent increase in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students throughout the last decade.

"We've become a diverse community and very much mirror the state," said Linda Macias, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Forty-nine of the district's more than 70 campuses receive Title 1 federal funding, which allots extra money to help students acquire the skills they need to meet academic standards.

Campuses receive a Title 1 designation when at least 35 percent of students residing within the school's boundaries qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.

"Title 1 funding has been around since the Johnson administration," said Nancy Frankel, director of federal funds for CFISD. "The intent and purpose is to provide opportunities for these children to acquire the needs and skills to meet state standards and state readiness."

Schools that qualify receive extra funding from the state based on the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

School districts do not have leeway in allocating the Title 1 money, they must serve the schools in order of which ones have the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

"When campuses receive the funding, they look at what the school's needs are and do a comprehensive needs assessment," Macias said. "They might hire teachers, purchase library books, supplies and materials with those funds."

In CFISD, the campuses that receive Title 1 funds are not clustered in one area, but are spread throughout the district's geographic area. In addition to the state's changing demographics, the recent recession also had an effect on the rising percentage of economically disadvantaged students, Macias said.

"I often share that we don't know the circumstances of our next door neighbor, but it's possible that the neighbor who has a $400,000 home might have children or a daughter or son-in-law who moved in with them because they lost their home, and they might be classified as economically disadvantaged," she said.

In addition, Title 1 campuses sometimes can provide for additional software, staff development and parental involvement hours.

"Once a school is designated as one that receives Title 1 funds, all the kids benefit from that funding, not just the children on free and reduced lunch," Macias said.

One misconception district officials have heard involves bussing in students from all over the district into Title 1 schools.

"We are not doing that, Macias said. "All the children that are at each school,—whether it's Title 1 or not—are kids that live in that residential zone."