Financing

Making the Case: Funding Community School Coordinators

Community schools are intended to respond to the needs of the students, their families, and their communities. Therefore the amount of money that is needed will vary depending on those circumstances.

What is most pivotal from a financing standpoint is money to pay for a Community School Coordinator. This individual is responsible for mobilizing community resources and integrating them into the life of the school. They can be employed by a school district, community-based organiza
tion or public agency.

Salaries for this position should be at a professional level and competitive with those of people in similar roles, e.g., teachers and social workers. Ideally, initial funding would be available for the salary of a full-time community school coordinator at a salary that gives them status at the school and encourages a long term commitment. Remember though, there is not an exact formula. Leadership and will are as important as money.

Full-time site coordination contributes essential site level capacity at minimal cost. Site coordination accounts for just 7 percent of the total funds reported collectively by initiatives and individual school sites in the Coalition's Finance Study (listed below). Coordination is an important but relatively inexpensive component of funding a community school.

Ways to Fund a Coordinator

A range of different funding streams are used to pay for the Coordinator position. Coordinators usually work with and are funded by a lead agency, such as a community-based organization, higher education institution, or public agency to provide additional site coordination. Note that both private and public funding can be used to fund the coordinator. Therefore, lead agencies can also look to local and state funding to support the coordination position.

The following forms of federal funding across the Department of Education and other federal agencies can be used in implementing a community schools strategy at your school including funding a community school coordinator:

  • Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides grants to local education agencies (LEAs) with high percentages of poor children. Title I can provide support for a variety of components of a community school model in a school operating a school wide program. Click here for more information on how specific sections of Title I can be used to fund community schools infrastructure, family and community engagement, engaged instruction, expanded learning opportunities, as well as results-driven support services.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Title IV of ESEA) are dedicated to out-of-school time programming to provide learning opportunities for academic enrichment, including program activities in the arts, music, recreation, drug and violence preven­tion, and youth development activities. It is a formula grant allocated to State Education Agencies (SEAs).
  • School Improvement Grants (Title I of ESEA) are awarded to the lowest-performing Title I schools. Community schools can use these funds to support a variety of programs and activities. The Coalition has provided an overview of school improvement grants in the context of the community schools strategy.
  • Promise Neighborhoods provide funds to improve educational and developmental oppor­tunities for children in neighborhoods with high poverty levels. Community schools are at the cen­ter of each Promise Neighborhood. Click here for more on the relationship between Promise Neighborhoods and Community Schools.
  • Race to the Top District Competition provides Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with the opportunity for local innovation. By focusing on a place-based strategy, it prioritizes results, resource alignment and integrated services to support personalized and engaged student learning. Click here for an explanation of the competition in the context of the community schools strategy.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service provides Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Experience Corps volunteers who coordinate community school activities and partnerships with community agencies.

For a list of other federal funding opportunities to help support 'wrap around' services as well as increase family and community engagement activities, click here.

Publications

Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success provides an overview of how community school leaders are effectively, efficiently and creatively blending funding to do whatever it takes to support student success. It highlights the cost-effectiveness of the community school strategy, especially the coordination piece.

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