ED Seeks Comments on Proposed "Supplement, Not Supplant" Guidance

Jerry Ashworth
January 30, 2019 at 07:43:35 ET
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It’s a three-word requirement that grant recipients should be aware of when managing their federal funds. However, violations do occur. Now, the Department of Education (ED) has developed guidance to help school districts more easily follow the “supplement, not supplant” requirement.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (Pub. L. 114-95), the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Pub. L. 89-10) and its successor No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (Pub. L. 107-110), maintains and expands “supplement not supplant” provisions for many of its education funding programs. “Supplement not supplant” provisions require that awarded federal funds are used to create a new or augment an existing program, not to replace funds or services that would otherwise be provided.

Last week, ED issued proposed non-regulatory guidance to support school districts' compliance with the requirement that federal funds supplement, and do not supplant, state and local funds.

According to ED officials, the supplement, not supplant, requirement prior to ESSA had become restrictive and burdensome — to the point that some school districts made ineffective spending choices in an effort to avoid noncompliance. They added that the requirement changed under ESSA to provide more flexibility to school districts while still ensuring that federal dollars are supplemental to state and local funds and cannot be used to replace them.

In order to comply with the requirement, a school district only needs to demonstrate that its methodology to allocate state and local resources to schools does not take into account a school's Title I status. For many school districts, the requirement can be met using the school district's current methodology for allocating state and local resources.

ED will be accepting public comments on the proposed guidance through Feb. 24 to allow educators, parents and others to provide feedback. Comments may be sent by email to oese.feedback@ed.gov. For all those ED recipient stakeholders, we encourage you to let your voice be known concerning this proposed guidance.