Elizabethton City Schools administration plans to table research related to the reorganization of elementary schools. Following discussions between Federal Programs Directors at ECS and Tennessee Department of Education, ECS administrators feel confident West Side Elementary School will be approved for a waiver to continue its schoolwide federal funding program.
Since the school’s numbers of directly certified students – students whose families qualify for assistance – have dropped below 40 percent of the school population, WSE was set to lose federal funding. It was grandfathered in for the 2017-2018 school year, but was set to lose federal funding in 2018-2019. Through a waiver process, ECS Federal Programs Director John Hutchins said WSE should be able to continue to receive federal funding.
“We would have been approved when we applied for the waiver last Spring, but were denied based on the fact that WSE would be grandfathered for one year,” said Hutchins, following his conversations with the Executive Director and Director of TDOE Federal Programs. “We are going to apply again for the waiver, and it seems likely that we will be approved.”
Prior to this news, the Board of Education was researching the reorganization of Elizabethton elementary schools by grade level: kindergarten-1, 2-3, and 4-5, instead of three kindergarten-5 schools. The goal was to prevent WSE from losing all or most of its federal funding, which would have most strongly impacted its intervention program, teacher training and supplemental classroom materials.
“WSE continues to receive funding as a schoolwide school, but at a reduced rate, based on the lower percentage of directly certified students,” said Hutchins. “In order to fund the interventionist that was lost, ECS will have to look at making some budget changes.”
The Board hopes to restructure the budget to bring back an interventionist position that was cut in the 2016-2017 school year. Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour said the goal is to have a Math and Reading interventionist like the other two elementary schools currently have.
Information regarding the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) continues to be rolled out to districts as the state receives guidance. Teachers and parents will be notified as more information is available.