Title V: Rural & Low Income Schools (RLIS)
The SRSA program is a rural school initiative with two components. One provides eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) with greater flexibility in using the formula grant funds that they receive under certain State-administered Federal programs. This component does not provide for any funding but gives LEAs latitude in spending funds that they receive under other Federal programs to support a wide range of local activities that support both school improvement and student achievement. The second component is the actual awarding of SRSA funds directly to eligible LEAs from the United States Department of Education (USDE) on a formula basis.
The RLIS program authorizes formula grant awards to State Educational Agencies (SEAs), which in turn make subgrants to eligible LEAs by formula. The RLIS Program is intended to meet the unique needs of rural and low-income districts by providing resources and flexibility to supplement selected ESSA priorities. Challenges faced by these districts often include the lack of personnel and resources needed to compete effectively for Federal competitive grants and formula grant allocations in amounts too small to be effective in meeting their intended purpose.
The guidelines for eligibility are established by the USDE. An LEA is eligible if:
- 20 percent or more of the children age 5 to 17 served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line as reported in the U.S. Census Bureau's Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) data; and
- Each school within the LEA must have a locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43 as assigned by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
- The LEA must not meet the eligibility requirements for the SRSA program.
- The LEA must have a total ADA of less than 600 students; or
- Serve only schools that are located in counties that have a population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile; and
- Serve only schools that have an NCES school locale code of 41, 42, or 43 (as assigned by USDE NCES); or
- Be located in an area of the State statute 288.0656 defined as rural by a governmental agency of the State.
- A county with a population of 75,000 or less
- A county with a population of 125,000 or less which is contiguous to a county with a population of 75,000 or less
- Any municipality within a county as described above