Supplement Not Supplant

Updated: Feb 10

Supplement not supplant law always has me asking that question...huh?!

You can spend it there but not there? I can use the product for this child but not that one? My targeted assistance schools can use it for these few and schoolwide schools can use it for all? You almost need an air traffic controller to help you interpret the smoke signals! But….I have to say…Blue Skies Ahead!

If you are not aware, this summer Betsy DeVos’ office issued non regulatory guidance on the NEW supplement not supplant requirement specifically regarding Title I Part A funds. 

So what does this mean? 

First,  let’s back up and take a look at the three questions school leaders would apply in determining if they were supplanting funds:

Was the activity supported with Title I, Part A funds required by State or local law?Was the activity supported with Title I, Part A funds supported in a prior year with State or local funds?Was the activity supported with Title I, Part A funds in a Title I school supported with State or local funds in a non-Title I school?

Are you as confused as I am? Even when I do answer those questions, can I be sure that I have clearly defined every single “activity” within my district or school to stay within compliance?  Well guess what, those questions no longer apply! 

Yep…It’s True!

The Non-Regulatory guidance released on June 16, 2019, explains how local educational agencies (LEAs) will now be examined as a “whole” making sure funds supplement and not supplant state and local funds. 


This means that the Department of Education can no longer require any Title I school, regardless of designation, to specifically identify whether services or line item costs are supplemental. Hallelujah!

Supplanting will now be determined by making sure the LEA’s methodology is “Title I neutral”. This means that LEAs must make sure that funds are allocated locally and by the state without regard for Title I designation. 

An example taken from the published regulatory guidance doc is as follows:


a. Through its methodology, an LEA allocates to only non-Title I schools State and local funding to support after-school tutoring for any student who scores below proficient on the State’s mathematics assessment. 

b. In its Title I schools, the LEA uses Title I, Part A funds to support after-school tutoring for any student who scores below proficient on the State’s mathematics assessment. 

This example would not violate the supplement not supplant requirement. Although the LEA is taking into account Title I status when allocating State and local funds through its methodology by only allocating to its non-Title I schools the State and local funds for the tutoring program, tutoring is a supplemental program and it benefits students who, by virtue of being non proficient in mathematics, are failing to meet the State’s mathematics standards. Therefore, the State and local funds supporting tutoring qualify for the exclusion because the program is supplemental and meets the intent and purposes of Title I, Part A pursuant to 34 C.F.R. § 200.79(b).

For more information on the latest regulatory guidance on Supplement not Supplant click here

For support on how to utilize Silverback’s Amazing Platforms to stay in ESSA compliance click here

And STAY TUNED to the Silverback Blog for more on ESSA and compliance.

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