The federal accountability law encourages local educational agencies (LEAs) to use Title I, Part A funds to provide educational services for eligible children who have not yet reached the age to attend an elementary school. Funding may be used to assist LEAs in implementing high-quality programs focused on raising the academic achievement of children once they reach the age to attend school. LEAs may use funding for preschools through the following means:
- An LEA may reserve an amount from its total allocation to operate a Title I, Part A preschool program for eligible children in the district as a whole or for a portion of the district.
- A participating Title I, Part A school may use its Title I, Part A funds to operate a preschool program.
Based on the type of Title I, Part A program a school is operating, Schoolwide or Targeted Assistance, the identification of eligible preschool students varies. Please refer to the following information based on the category of school.
A schoolwide program is not required to identify particular children as eligible. All children in the attendance area of that school are eligible for preschool services.
Targeted Assistance Program
To be eligible, preschool-age children, like school-age children, must be failing or most at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging student academic achievement standards. The use of family income to determine eligibility is allowable, especially for the purpose of prioritizing when there are not sufficient Title I resources to serve all preschool-age children, but children should not be identified for Title I preschool solely on the basis of family income. In addition, children who participated in a Head Start, a Title I preschool program at any time during the two preceding years, homeless children, and children in institutions for neglected or delinquent children are automatically eligible for Title I preschool and to continue into Title I school programs.