Los Angeles, CA

LAUSD accused of illegally withholding Title 1 funds from Catholic schools

Eugene Adams

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How to educate their children is an important question all parents face. Sending your child to the nearest public school has long been the default position. 

Times are definitely changing. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s enrollment numbers have been falling for years. Covid has only made the problem worse. 

There are many contributing factors. 

Many families are simply moving out of the area. 

Many families have decided to homeschool their kids

Many families have chosen to take advantage of various Catholic School options in Los Angeles

School funding was a huge issue before the enrollment drop. It’s an even bigger issue now. 

Recent L.A. Unified actions with regards to funding have come under fire. 

What Happened?

According to The California Department of Education, L.A. Unified broke federal law recently. They allegedly withheld more than $5 million in funds from private Catholic schools.

The Department of Education called the more “egregious” and called on them to fix the issue. 

The Los Angeles Unified School district received more than $349 million in Title 1 funds during the previous school year. The district distributed money to 17 Catholic schools even though over 100 were eligible. 

To put that in perspective, the district usually distributes between 2%-2.6% of the Title 1 funds it receives to private schools. Last year they only distributed .5%. 

Title 1 Funds

What exactly are Title 1 Funds?

According to the U.S. Department of Education:

“Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.”

In other words, Title 1 funds are meant to ensure that children from low-income families have access to quality education. 

What People Are Saying

Naturally, both sides of the issue have different positions. 

Catholic Schools Superintendent Paul Escala views this as a cut and dry issue.

“There has been a very clear and — one can only deduce by the findings — methodical approach to find ways and means of reducing legally entitled resources to our children. [The report] affirmed and validated what we have known for a very long time — that the most poor and vulnerable students we serve within the area of the Los Angeles Unified School District have been disenfranchised.”-Paul Escala

LAUSD disagrees. They pledged to appeal the ruling

“Los Angeles Unified is in receipt of the California Department of Education’s June 25, 2021 Investigation Report in response to Archdiocese of Los Angeles’s (ADLA) complaint regarding Title I equitable services to ADLA’s private schools. Los Angeles Unified strives to comply with all applicable rules and regulations regarding the provision of Title I equitable services. While Los Angeles Unified has appealed the matter to preserve its rights, it continues to engage with ADLA and the agencies to resolve any issues.”-LAUSD Statement

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Certified Personal Trainer | Certified ESL Teacher |I mostly write about all things Southern California, but I also cover national topics when something important comes up.

Los Angeles, CA
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