Title I Comparability continues to be an issue at DeKalb Schools. 11 elementary school teachers will be reassigned at anytime from Region 1 to schools in the South.
Title I Comparability – The comparability provision in Title I of ESEA requires school districts to provide services in Title I schools from state and local funds that are at least comparable to services in non-Title I schools.
What are the Consequences for Failure to Meet Comparability? – When a school district fails to demonstrate comparability the wide range of consequences might be:
- The school district might have to move teachers and/or paraprofessionals from one school to another school to achieve comparability.
- The school district might have to hire teachers and/or paraprofessionals to achieve comparability.
- The school district might have repay funds to Georgia Department of Education. The repayment of funds must be made with a non-federal fund source.
Title I Comparability Payments – I clipped and transcribed a video from 2015 documenting DeKalb Schools incompetence and the millions Dekalb Schools was paying annually in Title I Comparability assessment penalties with no accountability.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Educate Dunwoody was created to advocate for all the public schools. Here is their summary of the current Title I Comparability situation at DeKalb Schools
Of the 11 non-title 1 schools, 5 schools experienced a teacher loss…..all in Region 1.
There are two schools in Region 2, Oak Grove ES and Laurel Ridge ES, that have had a significant loss in enrollment as well. It appears they weren’t affected by the “State Comparability Policy”. Perhaps because they are neighborhood schools with low enrollments.
It seems that Region 1 was a victim of the “curse of the mega-school” once again. This “curse” has typically been reserved for our high school and middle school, but it seems like it is now dripping into the elementary school level as well.
Comparability update from Anna Hill, Board of Education District 1, DeKalb County School District
What is the current status of the Comparability with DCSD?
Earlier this week, I learned that teachers from District 1 are being reassigned to other schools in DCSD due to noncompliance with the State Comparability Policy by Region 1 as a result of declining enrollment. I am very much opposed to this and Ms. Watson-Harris has expressed the same thing.
Earlier today, I met with the Superintendent, Mr. Burbridge (CFO,) and other DCSD personnel (Marshall Orson, District 2, was also on the call.) In our meeting, I learned that DCSD has been working for many months in an effort to reduce the number of teachers that need to be relocated to meet Comparability requirements (originally there were possibly over 100 teachers who were going to be impacted.)
Staff has collaborated with the State of Georgia for months to reduce the number of teachers impacted.
The impact has been reduced from over 100 teachers to 11 teachers from the following schools:
Dunwoody Elementary 3
Austin Elementary 4
Montgomery Elementary 2
Ashford Park Elementary 1
(total = 11)
Schools receiving teachers:
Wadsworth Magnet School
Narvie Harris Elementary
What is next?
Ms. Watson-Harris will hold a community meeting to address this issue with Region 1. She has said she is currently focused on working with GaDoE to see if alternatives to the current situation are possible, and after that, will announce the community meeting date.
My suggestions to Ms. Watson-Harris:
I made many suggestions including adding Instructional Coaches instead of removing teachers. I was told that all possibilities have been exhausted and currently the only option is to relocate teachers. This is why she is working very hard with GaDoE to see if there are any other options besides the current situation of moving 11 teachers.
My final suggestion was for DCSD to ask GaDoE if they will consider the decline in enrollment an “unpredictable change.” Specifcally, Title I provides that an LEA need not include unpredictable changes in student enrollment or personnel assignments that occur after the beginning of a school year in determining comparability of services.
I also requested to be made aware of these situations in the future much, much earlier. I think many community members understand that Federal Regulations must be followed and that instead, the frustrations are more about learning about this situation so late in the game. I share that frustration.
Like you, I am now waiting to see what can be arranged with DCSD and GaDoE and look forward to updates from Ms. Watson-Harris when she knows more.
What is Comparability?
As many of you know, Comparability is one indication that an LEA is using Title I funds to supplement and not supplant other funding sources. Meeting comparability means that the LEA provides services in the Title I schools that are at least comparable to services the LEA provides in the non-Title schools.
Because demonstrating comparability is a prerequisite for receiving Title I, Part A funds, there is no waiver for the Comparability requirement.
This is out of the control of both DCSD and the GaDoE; this is an obligation to follow Federal regulations/law.
Helpful information from GaDoe can be found here: GaDOE – Determining Comparability