Federal Programs Title III

The National ESEA Conference took place in February in Portland, OR.  If you didn’t get a chance to attend,  I highly recommend attending the 2025 conference in Houston next year.  There is always something one can learn.  One of the more helpful things I learned applied to the Title III funding and the supplement not supplant rule.

We all know the Title III grant has a supplement not supplant rule that applies to services required by state or local law and the source of the prior year’s funding.  The concern of many is to effectively use the funds without supplanting.  The previous year’s funding supplanting rule may be rebutted if the following occurred:

  • a reduction in state, local, or federal funds used to pay for an activity or position,
  • state or local funds were reduced across several areas,  not just to services to ELs,
  • a funding source was eliminated, and
  • the activity is an allowable use of Title III funds.

According to Dr. Davil Holbrook from the National Association for English Learner Program Administrators, the way to determine if an activity is not supplanting is to look at what is written into your required “Core EL Program.”  This core program must provide English Learners (EL) with services that help them attain English proficiency and academic content knowledge.  Every district should have an EL plan regardless of whether Title I or Title III is funded.  The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) identifies five points regarding procedures school districts should have in their program to serve EL students effectively.  These five procedures include:

  • identify students requiring support,
  • create a program deemed by field experts to have a viable chance of success,
  • guarantee the presence and proper utilization of essential staff, curriculum resources, and facilities,
  • formulate suitable evaluation criteria to gauge student progress, including program exit benchmarks, and
  • evaluate the program’s efficacy and adapt it as necessary.

The core EL plan should outline the district’s services in its core EL program; however, to keep from supplanting, the district should only include in the plan the services it provides to meet the requirements of the law.  The plan should not include the supplemental services provided, regardless of the funding source.  If the supplemental services are included in the EL core program, they are part of the “required” plan, thereby no longer supplemental.  Once an LEA determines the core program and identifies what Title III funds cannot pay for, it can then decide what is allowable for Title III funds.

Regarding professional learning, Title III funds cannot be used to provide professional development to train teachers to provide the core EL program services.  The professional development would fall under this guidance since the core EL program is required by law.  Any professional development provided cannot be connected with the district core EL program.

Personnel funding with Title III can be tricky.  If an EL teacher is funded with district funds to teach the core EL program, an extra teacher cannot be paid with Title III funds since that teacher will be working in the core EL.  However, if a person provides services for EL students outside of the core EL program, then Title III can be used to pay for the salary.  It is important to remember that the LEA will need to have a job description for the supplemental position describing different responsibilities and services from the job description for the teachers funded for the core EL program.

Title III funds cannot be used to pay for translations of general communications sent to all parents or for non-Title III-related communications.  Title III can pay for translating documents directly related to Title III programs or services.

In summary, some of the things Title III funds cannot be used to pay for include the following.

  • instructional programs, services, and/or activities required for ALL students
  • any activities included in the core EL program required by the Civil Rights law (Lau v. Nichols)
  • services required by federal, state, or local laws or regulations
  • programs or services previously paid using state, local, or other federal funds
  • professional development addressing the implementation of the core EL program
  • class-size reduction teachers for the core EL program
  • general parent communications
  • ELP assessments, training for teachers to administer ELP assessments, or stipends for administering the ELP assessment

I hope this information helps you implement your Title III program effectively and without fear of supplanting.

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