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U.S. Education Dept.: Puerto Rico to pilot ‘student-centered funding system’

By on July 2, 2018

SAN JUAN — U.S. Education (DOE) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Monday that the Puerto Rico Department of Education will be the first to pilot “new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to create a student-centered funding system,” the federal department’s release reads, adding that the model is designed to “equitably allocate local, state and federal resources based on student needs.”

DeVos said the funding system “will help to ensure those with the greatest need receive the most support,” adding that she is “pleased to see Puerto Rico rethinking school and putting students’ needs above all else” despite the island continuing to recover from last year’s historic hurricanes.

In the DOE’s release, Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher is quoted as saying: “Puerto Rico’s ability to provide a quality education for its youth depends on how we fund K-12 education and the way funds are allocated. This pilot allows us to take a more scientific approach and track the relationship between strategic investments and future learning gains. We are committed to implementing effective solutions that benefit our students and ensure accountability to our families.”

ESSA provides for 50 school districts to pilot a student-centered funding system that combines local, state and federal dollars, that “allows maximal resources to be allocated to schools based on quantifiable student need, directing the most resources to support students who need them most. The result is a more equitable, predictable and transparent method of allocating resources that puts students first,” the DOE’s published announcement reads.

ESSA requires that pilot districts allocate more funding for students from “low-income families, English learners, and any other educationally disadvantaged group as chosen by the school district,” with Puerto Rico rural school students for the latter.

U.S. Education Department awards Puerto Rico $589 million in disaster assistance

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