March 10, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Fiscal Year 2018 Project Graduation Funding Allocation
Each year since 2003, the General Assembly has provided Project Graduation funding to provide grants to partnering or individual school divisions to assist students in meeting graduation requirements. Project Graduation remediation activities must address the needs of students who have received passing grades for standard credit-bearing course(s) but failed the required Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment needed to verify credit(s) to complete their diploma requirements. Project Graduation activities must include remedial instruction for students in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, English: Reading, English: Writing, science, and/or history.
In fiscal year 2017, the funding process shifted from an application-based grant funding to formula-based funding. The fiscal year 2017 funding method incorporated a 50 percent hold harmless allocation based upon actual Project Graduation funding reimbursements received in Fiscal Year 2015, unless a school division allocation was limited by the maximum funding cap. This one-time hold harmless allocation was provided for fiscal year 2017 only as a transition to the new funding formula. It is not a component of the formula in fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
The fiscal year 2018 funding factors include:
- the number of first-time test takers failing an end-of-course assessment in mathematics, English reading/writing, science, and history and social studies (test results were used from the spring 2016 Standards of Learning (SOL) test administration);
- the school division’s Composite Index of Local Ability-to-Pay; and
- a floor on the minimum funding ($6,000) and a cap on the maximum funding ($75,000) received by a single school division.
Please note that the state budget adopted by the 2017 General Assembly reduced the fiscal year 2018 formula funding to each school division by 50 percent.
Project Graduation funding is provided through Lottery proceeds, which are available by January of each year. School division formula allocations will be paid on a recurring basis twice monthly between January and June each year.
Appropriate Project Graduation expenditures include:
- teacher or tutor salaries and stipends;
- student incentives;
- instructional resources aligned to the current Standards of Learning;
- materials and supplies necessary for Project Graduation instruction and assessment activities;
- student transportation; and
- administrative costs associated with implementation and administration of special education requirements.
Attachment A to this memorandum includes Project Graduation funding allocations by school division for fiscal year 2018 as adopted by the 2017 General Assembly.
All SOL tests administered to students participating in Project Graduation remediation programs must have the “Project Graduation” field populated within the PearsonAccess system.
Further program information and guidelines are included on the Project Graduation website.
If you have additional program questions, please contact Kim Powell, Grants and Reports Manager, Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, by email at Kim.Powell@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-3609.