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Cotulla ISD’s $545K Title I funds
Cotulla ISD has received over half a million dollars’ worth of federal support from the Department of Education this year, thanks in part to the local US congressman but also largely because of community-wide participation in the last nationwide census, according to the superintendent.
The grant announcement was made last week by District 28 Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo, who is a member of the congressional Appropriations Committee and said he fought hard to deliver the support to the rural school district.
The Title I Part A funding is an annual disbursement derived from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and is aimed at providing financial assistance to school districts for services that improve the teaching and learning of children at risk of not meeting challenging State academic standards, especially those children who reside in areas with high concentrations of children from low-income families.
This year’s total to Cotulla ISD is $545,485, according to both Rep. Cuellar and CISD Supt. Dr. Jack Seals.
Dr. Seals said the school administration appreciates the federal support but added that he believes it is because so many area residents took part in their civic duty ten years ago by reporting to the US Census that Cotulla ISD has been able to secure the funding.
The federal funds are used to pay the salaries of teachers and support staff, and enables Cotulla ISD to purchase new learning equipment, update some of its technology, and put more electronic learning devices in the hands of its students, the superintendent said.
For Cotulla ISD, hiring additional teachers and classroom aides is vital to the district’s goal of reducing the student/teacher ratio, which Seals believes is vital to a successful educational plan. He said last week that he students are able to learn and retain material more effectively in smaller groups and with stronger person-to-person contact with their teachers, and that this is only achieved by putting more educators in the classroom.
“This is a reminder to all of us,” the superintendent said last week, “how valuable the US Census is to communities like ours. It is vital for the people of La Salle County to participate in the counting of persons living in our communities, so that we are able to secure funding on a scale that meets the needs of our students.”
Rep. Cuellar said on Thursday that he believes the funds sent to schools in the Title 1 programs will help districts prepare students better for meeting state academic standards.
“As someone who has experienced the transformative power of education, I am pleased to have helped secure this grant for our local school districts,” Rep. Cuellar said, “We must invest in the educational needs and interests of Texas students, because they are the most important asset for our country’s future. As a senior member on the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support our school systems by providing them the necessary resources they need in order to provide high quality education in all Texas classrooms.”
Altogether, the congressman has helped secure an estimated $17 billion for Title I Grants to local education agencies, an increase of $453 million over the 2019 enacted level and the President’s budget request.
“This vital increase in funds will continue to support schools, teachers, and administrators in providing children the best education possible,” the congressman said.
“Meeting our civic duty and responding to the census is the way in which every one of us can help these school districts,” the superintendent said. “The census determines how many families need support, and when combined with the data that shows how many of our schoolchildren qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, we have a far more accurate picture of what our schools, our students and the people of our community need in real terms. Hiring teachers and support staff to serve our children gives us the greatest overall value out of the funding available.”