The Office of the State Auditor (Office) today announces the release of a Title I Program Effectiveness Report as part of the Office’s Project KIDS. The Title I program is a federally-funded program that is intended to provide supplementary funds to schools with high percentages of students from families with low incomes to help students meet state academic standards.
This dashboard explores the performance, demographic composition, and spending at Title I schools versus non-Title I schools. Students at Title I schools face heightened socioeconomic barriers and tend to have lower rates of educational achievement compared to their non-Title I peers.
This research shows that spending on the average student at Schoolwide Title I schools is 4% lower on average than at non-Title I schools, after adjusting for other factors that impact funding such as the percentage of students requiring special education services or English language learning services, despite the additional federal Title I funding. Further, demographic factors have a much stronger relationship with academic performance at Title I schools than per-student spending does, which highlights how current student spending methodologies fail to help many students overcome socioeconomic barriers. In other words, Title I funding is not always supplemental and does not sufficiently address the intent to reduce educational inequities and raise student achievement.
State Auditor John Dougall said, “While the Title I program is intended to enhance funding to improve achievement for students who face various disadvantages, frequently that is not the reality. We noted that, after adjusting for various other programs, Title I funding often does not effectively supplement state and local education funding. Funding must be strategically directed if students are to overcome the tyranny of their zip code.”
Project KIDS is a special, in-depth performance audit of public education that integrates financial, operational, and performance data to create interactive visualizations. This informs Utah stakeholders where the money is going in public education so those stakeholders can better determine how well that money is being spent.