POSSIBLE ACTION REQUIRED
June 4, 2012
Subject: Alternative Compensatory Education Allotment Reporting
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
This letter is to inform you that your school district or open-enrollment charter school may qualify to be able to use an alternative state compensatory education allotment funding count. The Texas Education Code, §42.152(b), and commissioner's rules allow school districts and open-enrollment charter schools that do not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) to provide an alternative funding count. It is especially important to be aware of this alternative count if your school district or charter school suspends participation in the NSLP or SBP. Since the Texas Unified Nutrition Programs System (TX-UNPS) data from the prior federal fiscal year are not available to the Office of School Finance until January of the current school year, we are not aware of a suspension of participation in the NSLP or SBP until then. If a school district or charter school suspends participation in the NSLP or SBP and does not use the alternative funding count, then the district or school may receive more funding than it is entitled to receive through February of a school year, which will result in reduced payments for the remainder of the school year after the data are received.
Alternative compensatory education allotment reporting procedures can be found on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Alternative Compensatory Education Allotment Reporting Procedures web page at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=7720&menu_id=645&menu_id2=789.
Under commissioner's rules (19 Texas Administrative Code §61.1027), the count of students used for the alternative reporting method is made up of those students that would otherwise meet the income requirements for eligibility under the NSLP, if it were offered. Your district or charter school must retain the qualification information for each child for audit purposes. Also, your district or charter school must record the counts of eligible students each month and report them to the TEA. Note that changes in family income status through the year may affect whether a student remains or becomes eligible for this funding count.
In general, students in families that receive food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families automatically qualify for the funding count, and districts can satisfy the documentation requirements by recording the appropriate case numbers. Students in families that do not receive such assistance may qualify if they are in families that meet the same income guidelines as are used for the NSLP and SBP. The income guidelines are a function of family size and total income of all family members. A table entitled 2012–2013 Income Eligibility Guidelines,available through a link on the Alternative Compensatory Education Allotment Reporting Procedures web page, shows the maximum income for a given family size.
The following documents, posted to the Alternative Compensatory Education Allotment Reporting Procedures web page, may be helpful in gathering the proper income eligibility information for families:
- sample letter to households to qualify the district for compensatory education funding(both English and Spanish versions available)
- form for compensatory education funding qualification (both English and Spanish versions available)
- instructions for completing the compensatory education funding qualification form(both English and Spanish versions available)
The letter to households explains the need for personal income data. The standard form for qualification and the related instructions provide direction to parents or heads of households on how to report the necessary information. Each of these documents may be customized with your district's or charter school's identifying information.
On receipt of the qualification forms, school district or charter school personnel must make a determination in each case of the qualifications of the applicant for funding. Personnel must complete relevant fields at the bottom of each form, and your school district or charter school must retain the form for audit purposes.
The online Foundation School Program System State Compensatory Education subsystem is the data collection instrument that your school district or charter school must use to report the number of eligible students to receive funding. The alternative compensatory education allotment count requires only aggregated counts of eligible students in each month. Enter the highest number of students in the district approved for free or reduced-price meals for the claim month. The highest number of students is determined by the day in the month that had the highest number of approved students. Do not use cumulative monthly enrollment or obtain the data from reports that use Public Education Information Management System economic indicator codes. Your district or charter school must review records monthly to determine whether students are still enrolled and whether family income status has changed. Also, your district or charter school must report the number of eligible students for a given month by the fifteenth of the next month. For example, the claims for October are due on November 15.
Funding for 2012–2013
State compensatory education allotment funding for a school year is based on the counts of eligible students for the prior school year. The average of the highest six months' counts of pupils, collected from the 2011–2012 school year, will be used to fund the state compensatory education program in the 2012–2013 school year. Charter schools that will begin operations in 2012–2013 will be allowed to use 2012–2013 data for state compensatory education allotment funding in the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 school years.
If your school district or charter school uses the alternative compensatory education allotment count, it is responsible for obtaining the appropriate data from the families of potentially eligible students, verifying the information, and retaining records. The TEA will conduct an audit of the data submitted by districts and charter schools. For this reason, your district or charter school should retain records for a minimum of five years after the end of each school year.
Please contact Kimberley Wall in the Office of School Finance at (512) 463-4809 if you have questions about this letter or the alternative state compensatory education allotment funding count method.
Division Manager, Office of School Finance