Keller ISD officials anticipate a significant drop in federal funding next school year due to a decline in its share of low-income families.

Leigh Cook, the district’s director of state and federal programs, said during a May 24 presentation to the board that KISD stands to lose more than $1.28 million in Title 1 funding.

Title I funding is designed to provide financial assistance to districts with high concentrations of children from low-income families.

KISD received more than $2.3 million in Title I funds for the 2020-21 school year. Cook said the initial allocation for next school year is a little more than $1 million. The difference is $1,286,599.

Cook told trustees the determination was based on 2020 U.S. Census data and took into account all school-age children living in the district. She said the formula does not factor in whether the children attend a KISD school as opposed to a private school or a charter school or if they are home-schooled.

KISD Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall said the district fell under the 5% threshold of students classified as coming from low-income families for next year.

“The tipping point, once you drop below 5%, you lose access to two more pots of money that we were getting in Title I [funding] in the 2020-21 [school year],” Westfall said. “So, because we dropped to 4.97%, we lost $1.2 million in federal funding.”

According to Cook, 10 of more than 40 schools in KISD will operate Title I campuses next school year.

Both Cook and Westfall said they were unclear on how and whether the district could requalify for the funding for the 2022-23 school year. Each said the numbers are updated every year, but both were unsure as to how that data would be compiled.

“We’re trying to figure out, when the Census is only every 10 years, what do they use to update those numbers,” Westfall said. “I also asked about an appeals process, and they said there was none to be had.”

Cook said the district hopes to offset the loss with coronavirus relief funding provided through the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III funds.

Cook outlined in her report that KISD’s initial allotment for $11,842,602 has already been allocated. The district is taking steps to secure a final allocation of $5,921,301 through the legislation signed in March.

Part of that money would offset the loss in Title I funds and cover legislative mandates to counter instructional loss this past school year, she said. The district is collecting input from stakeholders and others in the community on how to put remaining grant funds to use, Cook said.