HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii will receive more than $47 million in Title I education money in the coming school year to help pay for programs at schools where a disproportionate number of students live in some form of poverty.
Hawaii will receive $47,810,387 in Title I Education dollars for the 2011-2012 school year, an increase of $5,211,565 from the $42,598,822 received for the 2010-2011 school year.
In Hawaii more than 80,000 public school kids live at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The total number of Hawaii public schools eligible for Title I money has increased to 186 from 161 in 2008.
Title I money is given to schools where children living in households at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level exceed 40 percent of total enrollment.
In Hawaii, that means a family of four earning no more than $46,916. Nearly 47 percent of all Hawaii public school kids qualify for free or reduced cost lunches, a key indicator of poverty.
"These funds are essential to helping combat the path of poverty that is unfortunately the only way for too many of our young people starting out in school. In order to break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many of Hawaii's working families, we have to educate our youth and provide them the tools necessary to provide for themselves and succeed in the future," said Senator Inouye.
"All of our students deserve a quality education and they should not shoulder the burden while we struggle with budget shortfalls locally and nationally. We must invest in our keiki today to ensure a competitive American future," said Senator Akaka.
"Over the last District Work Period, I conducted numerous roundtable discussions with educators on Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. Across our state, our educators work long, hard hours for our keiki. This year's 12% increase in federal Title I education funds is essential to help our educators address the challenges of Hawaii's increase in child poverty," said Congresswoman Hirono, member of the House Education and Workforce Committee. "It's appropriate that this federal announcement comes during national Teacher Appreciation week."
"Educating our children is one of the best investments we can make for our future," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. "These funds will help those schools with students from low-income families meet the required state academic standards by providing them with additional academic support and educational services. Every child deserves the opportunity to obtain a quality education."
Title I is designed to help students served by the program to achieve proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards.
Title I schools with percentages of low income students of at least 40 percent may use Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and local funds, to operate a "schoolwide program" to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school.