Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) today introduced a measure to ensure that the majority of federal education funds designated for America’s neediest students, or Title I funds, are directed toward instructional services to help low-income students learn, rather than administrative costs.

Title I education funds currently provide assistance to virtually every school district in the country to serve children attending schools with high concentrations of low-income students, from preschool to high school. However, the federal government has never provided clear guidelines for how these dollars should be used.

The Feinstein-Ensign legislation would specify that at least 90 percent of Title I funds would be directed towards instructional services, such as hiring teachers, extending academic instruction beyond the normal day and year, and purchasing books, computers and other instructional equipment. The bill would further require that no more than 10 percent of funds could be used to pay for the program’s administrative costs. Senators Feinstein and Ensign previously introduced this measure in the 110th Congress. 

“Title I funds are the cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act -- helping schools educate over 12.5 million low-income children, including about three million in California. However, Congress has yet to provide clear guidelines to states and school districts on how this money should be spent,” Senator Feinstein said.

“This bill would require that the vast majority of Title I funds are spent only to help improve academic achievement, such as teacher salaries, computers, textbooks, or other educational materials. It is critical that states use their limited Title I dollars for the purpose of improving the quality of education for America’s neediest students. Every child in this country deserves the right to a first-rate public education, no matter their family’s income level.”

“Education is one of the most important factors in ensuring that our children become successful, contributing adults,” said Senator Ensign.  “This legislation will make it a priority to guarantee that every dollar directed to our schools is spent in the classrooms, not tied up in the hands of school administration.  Further, this bill will ensure that the students most in need receive the funding and attention they deserve.” 

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Direct that 90 percent of Title I funds be used for direct instructional services to improve academic performance and help students meet state and federal achievement standards.

Some examples of permissible Direct Services are:

    • Employing teachers and other instructional personnel (including employee benefits). 
    • Intervening and taking corrective actions to improve student achievement. 
    • Purchasing instructional resources such as books, materials, computers, and other instructional equipment. 
    • Developing and administering curriculum, educational materials and assessments.
  • Require that no more than 10 percent of Title I funds be used for indirect service costs related to administering the program, such as business services and facilities maintenance.

Some examples of Indirect Services, which, under this bill would be limited to no more than 10 percent of Title I expenditures are:

    • Business services relating to administering the program. 
    • Purchasing or providing facilities maintenance, janitorial, gardening, or landscaping services or the payment of utility costs. 
    • Buying food and paying for travel to and attendance at conferences or meetings, except if necessary for professional development.