Hawaii will receive $45,429,592 million in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I education money next school year to help pay for programs at schools where a disproportionate number of students live in some form of poverty.
Title I funding 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 in 2011. Last year, nearly 47 percent of all Hawaii public school students qualify for free or reduced cost lunches, a key indicator of poverty.
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.
In Hawaii more than 80,000 public school students lived at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The number of Hawaii public schools eligible for Title I money increased to 186 in 2011 from 161 in 2008.
"Too many of Hawaii's most talented students are depressed by poverty at a time when their focus should be on their education and personal development. These funds are essential to supporting the hardworking teachers, faculty, and staff at Hawaii's Title I schools. These educators are entrusted with the critical mission of helping our young people realize their talent and pursue their ambitions. I will continue to do everything I can to support education in Hawaii because I firmly believe it is the greatest investment we can make in our future," said Senator Inouye.
"All students deserve opportunities to succeed. As a former teacher and principal, I have strongly supported education funding throughout my career because I know the difference it makes in the lives of our keiki. I'm so pleased the Obama Administration is creating more opportunities for disadvantaged students in Hawaii with this grant," said Senator Akaka.
"Hawaii's Title I schools are home to some of Hawaii's most outstanding students. Just last week, three high school students from Title I schools on Kauai proudly represented Hawaii in Washington as part of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. These energy leaders of the future joined with mainland students and met with me on Capitol Hill, more than holding their own in discussions on renewable energy and education. Students like these are the reason we need to make sure Title I schools have the resources to provide an excellent education to students of all backgrounds. Investing in the students of today will help grow the leaders of tomorrow," said Congresswoman Hirono, a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
"One of the most distressing aspects of the economic downturn of the past few years has been a reduction in spending for our schools and our students. Education is the greatest investment our nation can make in our future, and it is also the key that will open the doors of opportunity for our youth. This Title I funding will help at-risk elementary and secondary students across Hawaii achieve more in school and in their lives, and reflects our commitment to education and our young people," said Congresswoman Hanabusa.