HISD could lose millions under congressional proposal to cut funding for inner-city schools

The Houston Independent School District could lose millions of dollars in federal aid under a bill that would shift Title I funds for disadvantaged students from the nation’s poorest inner-city schools to more affluent schools and neighborhoods.

The bill, known as the Student Success Act, would result in a $17 million decrease to HISD’s Title I grant, according to the White House. The drop in funding would impact 262 HISD campuses, the majority of which have student populations that are at least 75 percent economically disadvantaged.

After making it through the U.S. Education and Workforce Committee, the bill will go this month before the House of Representatives. If it passes, it will go before the Senate in March.

“This bill would drastically impact our district’s ability to provide a quality public education to our neediest students by taking away supplemental programs and resources that many of them depend on,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said.

Title I funds are distributed to schools across the country that have large populations of students from low-income families. The additional funding is designed to help schools ensure all children are academically successful and can meet challenging state academic standards.

HISD currently receives $93 million in federal Title I funding. That money is used to fund a variety of items, including district early childhood centers, the PowerUp one-to-one laptop initiative, classroom tutors and teaching assistants, and after-school and weekend tutoring. It also is used to fund summer school for approximately 170,000 students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Similar effects are expected nationwide. According to the Council of the Great City Schools, the bill could result in a reduction of nearly 7,000 teaching positions in urban schools, cutbacks in professional development and instructional coaching, fewer resources for textbooks and instructional materials, elimination of after-school and summer programs, and a decline in counseling and other student supports for urban schoolchildren.

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