The McDuffie County School System continues to add feathers to its cap this year as all four elementary schools landed on the state's Title I Distinguished Schools list.
"We're proud of them," said McDuffie County Superintendent Mark Petersen. "They deserve to be recognized. We think our elementary schools are top notch here in McDuffie County."
Title I Schools included on the list have made Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act. Earlier this year McDuffie County was recognized as one of just nine systems in Georgia of similar size to be completely compliant with AYP requirements.
"Numerically, that puts us in the top five percent," Dr. Petersen said in an earlier interview.
Although the schools continue to gain recognition for accomplishments, the monetary awards from the state will be far less than last year.
Maxwell and Thomson Elementary School, which are on the list for the sixth straight year, will receive $15,615 each. Last year, both schools received $74,125.
Schools must make the list four consecutive years to receive grant funds. Norris Elementary School, which made the list for the fourth year, will receive $12,492, and Dearing Elementary School, on the list for the third year, will receive a certificate.
The Title I schools on the Distinguished Schools list are divided into two categories based upon the percentage of the student body receiving free and reduced priced lunches.
Those schools having "greatest poverty" receive more funding that those with "lower poverty" in compliance with federal law, according to the Georgia Department of Education Web site. The cutoff percentage between schools on the two lists fluctuates from year to year depending upon various factors.
This year McDuffie County schools were bumped to a different poverty classification, to the "lower poverty" list, and just missed receiving significantly more grant money.
Thomson Elementary School, with 71.15 percent of the student body receiving free or reduced lunches, was just below the 71.56 percent needed to be on the list to receive $50,700 this year, according to information from Judy Alger, Title I specialist with the Georgia Department of Education.
Norris Elementary was just under the cutoff percentage with 71.34 percent. Had Norris been above 71.56 percent, it would have received $40,560 instead of $12,492.
"The amounts schools receive vary from year to year," Ms. Alger said.
The monetary awards depend upon a number of factors including how much money there is to award, how many schools qualify and where they fall relative to other schools in the state for free and reduced lunches, Ms. Alger said.
By federal law, at least 75 percent of the monetary awards must be given to those schools with the greatest poverty, according to Kirk Englehardt, Public Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Education.The state disbursed more than $3 million in grants this year to Title I Distinguished Schools - 150 schools made the list for three consecutive years and received certificates; 42 were on the four year list and received a total of $973,752; 23 schools were on the five year list and received grants totaling $815,250, and 39 schools made the six year list and received grants totaling $1,275,600, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Education.
The grant money from Title I is part of the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 that provides federal funds to schools with high percentages of poor children.