By Yesenia Robles and Sam Park, Chalkbeat Colorado
As poverty grows along Denver’s borders, some suburban schools are finding they have fewer resources to serve a changing crop of students.
School districts are seeing areas of concentrated poverty with more schools needing extra resources to address the challenges students face. At the same time, districts are receiving fewer federal dollars meant to help schools provide those services to students from low-income families. Districts can either spread out funds more widely, or narrow the focus to fewer schools and leave some students behind.
Large districts like Aurora, Jeffco, and Cherry Creek are among those grappling with how to serve more schools with higher percentages of students living in poverty.
“It’s a tough place to be in,” said Linda Reyes-Quinonez, Title I director for Jeffco Public Schools, who oversees about $8.7 million in these federal dollars for Colorado’s second-largest district. “Definitely the demographics in Jeffco have changed over the years.”
Through the Title I program, the federal government gives school districts money to help address the effects of poverty.
Schools often pay for family liaisons, social workers, paraprofessionals, more teachers, or coaches for teachers, all to help address achievement gaps, mobility, and higher mental health needs that often come with a higher concentration of poverty in a community.
But the flow of Title I money isn’t matching up with district needs, partly because the federal government calculates poverty based on census counts of all children living in an area, not on how many students actually show up at schools. And children can enroll in private schools or cross boundary lines for school.
Many schools are seeing declining enrollment as families move out, but in some cases, the students who remain are more likely to come from low-income families. Also, Congress in some years has cut funding for Title I.
Our articles are free to read, but not free to report
Support local journalism around the state.
Become a member of The Colorado Sun today!
The latest from The Sun
- What happened when the only ER doctor in a rural Colorado town caught coronavirus
- John Hickenlooper spent $41 million to win Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, far surpassing Cory Gardner
- Ambitious plan to reduce CO2 emissions still leaves Tri-State getting 23% of electricity from coal plants
- “Intentional discharge of an aimed firearm” leads to rare criminal charges in Colorado death of hunter
- With coronavirus nixing gatherings, LGBTQ+ Coloradans seek new ways to foster belonging