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Title V, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, reauthorized the two Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) initiatives that seek to assist rural districts that may not have the personnel and resources to effectively compete for federal competitive grants and that often receive grant allocations in amounts that are too small to effectively meet their intended purposes.
The two REAP initiatives are:
- The Small, Rural School Achievement Program (SRSA), which awards formula grants directly to eligible local education agencies (LEAs) to carry out activities authorized under other specified federal programs.
- The Alternative Uses of Funds Authority (REAP Flex) is a flexibility provision that allows eligible LEAs to “transfer” (in use only) funds between Title programs to carry out local activities under other specified federal programs.
- The Rural and Low-Income School Program (RLIS), which seeks to address the needs of rural, low-income schools by providing subgrants to eligible LEAs on a formula basis. The funds are to be used to carry out activities specified by the statute.
Eligibility is determined each year by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of districts eligible for the REAP initiatives, see the following pages:
Small, Rural School Achievement Program (SRSA)
There are two components within the SRSA program:
- SRSA program funding and
- Alternative Uses of Funds Authority (REAP Flex)
SRSA Program Funding
The SRSA program provides direct funding to eligible school districts. SRSA funds may be used to carry out allowable activities under any of the following federal programs:
- Title I, Part A - Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Education Agencies
- Title II, Part A - Supporting Effective Instruction
- Title III - Language Instruction for English Learners
- Title III - Language Instruction for Immigrant Students
- Title IV, Part A - Student Support and Academic Enrichment
- Title IV, Part B - 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Alternative Uses of Funds Authority (REAP Flex)
The Alternative Uses of Funds Authority (or REAP Flex) allows SRSA-eligible LEAs greater spending flexibility for their Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A funds, allowing the LEA to best address their particular needs. Under this authority, LEAs may use their Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A funds to pay for allowable SRSA activities.
- An SRSA-eligible LEA does not have to apply for SRSA funds in order to exercise the Alternative Uses of Funds Authority.
- An LEA that is eligible for both SRSA and RLIS may exercise this authority even if the LEA chooses to participate in RLIS instead of SRSA.
- An eligible LEA must notify the Iowa Department of Education of its intent to exercise this authority by the deadline established by the Department (October 1).
Districts need to track how they use the REAP Flex authority and the amount of funds “transferred” both from and to the various federal programs. Transfers are in use only, as funds are always coded to the original source.
Rural and Low-Income Schools Program (RLIS)
The purpose of the RLIS program is to provide rural districts with subgrants for initiatives that seek to increase student achievement. Grant awards are issued annually to the Department, who then provides subgrants to eligible LEAs.
Eligible schools are able to use the funds in the following ways:
- Parental involvement activities.
- Activities authorized under Title I, Part A - Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs (e.g., a school district developing an entrepreneurial education program to supplement its civics curriculum).
- Activities authorized under Title II, Part A - Supporting Effective Instruction, such as a school district:
- Paying for a prospective teacher’s stipend to work alongside an effective teacher, who is the teacher of record, for a full academic year.
- Using signing bonuses and other financial incentives to assist in teacher recruitment and retention.
- Providing professional development to teachers, including programs that train teachers to utilize technology to improve teaching and to train special needs teachers.
- Activities authorized under Title III - Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students (e.g., a school district offering an afterschool enrichment program for English learners).
- Activities authorized under Title IV, Part A - Student Support and Academic Enrichment (e.g., a school district providing supplemental bully prevention training and purchasing materials required to successfully implement the additional educational programming.
Districts that receive funding through this program will need to report annually regarding how the funds were used.