Title 1 funding at risk at Lyle

DALLAS -- Lyle Elementary Principal Todd Baughman is urging parents to sign up for free or reduced lunch for their children to save the school's Title I programming.

DALLAS -- Lyle Elementary Principal Todd Baughman is urging parents to sign up for free or reduced lunch for their children to save the school's Title I programming.

Baughman said the school must have 35 percent of its students receiving the free and reduced lunch program to secure the federal funding for math and reading supplements. He said he needs about 10 more students.

"Even if (parents) are thinking they may not likely qualify, if they fill out the form that would be helpful," Baughman said.

Results are held confidential by Sodexho, which administers the food service program in the school district.

Title I began in the 1970s with the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, Baughman said. The funding supports lower socioeconomic areas and is based on the number of students who are served by the free and reduced lunch program.

The federal government provides about $125,000 to Lyle each year it qualifies that pays for a half-time reading specialist, and other staff that provides 30 hours each day of education assistance in reading and math.

Baughman said Lyle's free and reduced lunch number is not high enough to serve the whole school. Students are given extra help through Title I based on testing. Baughman said both Oakdale Heights and Whitworth elementary schools have above 40 percent of students enrolled in free and reduced lunch. Because of their higher percentage, all students at Whitworth and Oakdale are served by the funding each year.

The last time Lyle was without Title I was the 2007-08 school year and the school created the reading buddy program to compensate. Cory Bradshaw, director of instructional services for the Dallas School District, said that is the only time in the past 11 years the school has not qualified.

The school will find out in April whether it qualifies for the supplemental funding for the 2009-10 school year.

Baughman and Bradshaw encourage Lyle parents to pick up an application for free and reduced lunch at the school or the district office. Forms will also be mailed to Lyle families in the near future.

Free and reduced lunch serves four-person households with an annual income of $39,220 or less and two-person households with an annual income of $25,900 or less, according to an application.

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