This story was updated on Aug. 31.
Belle Terre Elementary School has been identified as a Title I, Part A school this year.
It joins four other Flagler County public schools that qualify for the federal program which provides financial assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.
Title I funds provide additional instructional staff, professional development and extended learning programs aimed to raise student achievement in higher-poverty schools.
Five of the district’s nine public schools are listed as Title I. The others are Buddy Taylor Middle School, Bunnell Elementary, Rymfire Elementary and Wadsworth Elementary.
Flagler Palm Coast High School was a Title I school last year but is no longer on the district’s Title I list.
Tammy Yorke, Flagler Schools’ coordinator of federal programs, said the five schools receive an additional $400,000 to $700,000 in federal funds.
“The majority of that goes into additional intervention staff to provide intensive reading and math support. We provide paraprofessionals to help provide small group instruction as well,” Yorke said.
Title I status is based on the percentage of students in school who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Schools that are above the district average are eligible for Title I funds. Belle Terre Elementary had an increase in the number of students who qualify this year. Yorke said 58.71% of the school’s students qualified.
Among the district’s other Title I schools, 56.69% of Buddy Taylor students qualified for free or reduced lunch, 67.83% of Rymfire students, 68.24% of Wadsworth students and 72.84% of Bunnell’s students.
With all students in the district now eligible for free lunches through a provision in the National School Lunch Program, the district no longer collects free or reduced lunch applications. So, the percentages are based on students who participate in state assistance programs such as Medicaid and SNAP, Yorke said.
The district receives the data each February to determine which schools qualify for the following school year.
The schools receive a per pupil allocation based on their qualifying numbers, Yorke said.
“There was obviously a change in their demographics,” at Belle Terre, Yorke said.
“What we found is that rentals and housing costs are so astronomical that we have a lot of families (in the county) that do shared housing,” she said. “If you're a single parent, it's very hard to afford $2,000 a month rent. So there are a lot of factors that play into how that trickles down and affects the schools.”
Four nonprofit private schools in Flagler County have also been targeted for federal assistance for students who are educationally disadvantaged and failing or are most at risk of failing to meet high academic standards and reside in Title I, Part A public school zones. They are St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Christ the King, First Baptist Christian Academy and Suncoast Community School.