Underachieving schools to receive necessary funding from state

Underachieving schools to receive necessary funding from state »Play Video

YAKIMA, Wash. --  State officials are making sure poorly performing schools continue to receive necessary funding. This comes after districts learned they would lose some flexibility in funding because Washington wasn't following certain mandates of No Child Left Behind.

Noel Solis wants his children to get the best education possible.

"That's the number-one priority," said Solis. "When they get off of school, I go home and I work with them. I do extra reading, extra math."

State education leaders feel the same way.

Last month, Washington schools lost their waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, which had excused them from following certain guidelines. That means they lose control of how certain funds are used.

Officials at the state superintendent's office said on Tuesday that they would still provide funding to specific underachieving schools that they've categorized as "Priority Schools" and "Focus Schools." They have about $10 million in state and federal money to give out.

Officials at the Yakima School District say having a hand in where the money goes makes all the difference. Under No Child Left Behind, some has to go towards professional development and tutors. Yakima officials would rather use it in the classroom.

"We're pretty creative, and we use those dollars wisely with the help of the school principal and the staff themselves, to know where that can have the most effect," said Mary Beth Wright, a Yakima School District spokesperson.

Recent success at Adams Elementary is one example of how the funding has paid off. Fourth- and fifth- graders recently went from having the lowest math scores in the state to the highest. And at Barge-Lincoln Elementary, they recently extended the school day to spend more time with the students learning English. Students there saw an 80 percent improvement in test scores.

"With these additional dollars, we can continue that, and they've made huge progress; their test scores this year proved that," said Wright.

Extra money to make sure that the students that need the most help still get it.

For a complete list of all the schools in our area that qualify for the funding, click here.