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Title I, Supplement Not Supplant (SNS)

Title I federal funds help to meet the educational needs of students in California schools.

The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that local educational agencies (LEAs), county offices of education, and direct funded charter schools that receive Title I allocations consider the following general criteria when determining if an expenditure or obligation is supplemental.

Generally, Title I, Part A funds shall be used to supplement, not supplant non-federal funds pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Section 1114(a)(3)(B).

To demonstrate compliance, an LEA shall demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate state and local funds to each school receiving assistance under Title I ensures that such school receives all of the State and local funds otherwise received if the school were not receiving Title I assistance (ESSA Section 1118[b][2]).


Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), in order to prove that a cost was supplemental, the LEA had ensured costs passed a set of presumptions of what the LEA would have provided in the absence of the Title I funds. Before ESSA, a supplanting violation was presumed if the federally funded expense was:

  1. An activity required by federal, state, or local law;
  2. An activity that was paid for with state or local funds in the prior year; or
  3. The same services for Title I students that state and local funds support for non-Title I students.

The NCLB three presumptions of supplanting required an analysis of individual obligations or expenditures to assess whether a particular expenditure or obligation was supplemental. These presumptions no longer apply under ESSA.

Current Process

Now, compliance is not determined based on an analysis of individual Title I expenditures or obligations. Instead, LEAs must demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate funds to each school receiving Title I funds ensures that such school receives all of the state and local funds otherwise received if the school were not receiving Title I funds.

Under ESSA, the determination for SNS compliance has changed in two ways:

  1. LEAs shall not be required to identify that an individual cost or service supported with Title I funds is supplemental, which effectively prohibits the NCLB presumptions previously used to ensure compliance for Title I expenditures and obligations (ESSA Section 1118[b][2]).

  2. ESSA replaces the targeted assistance schools (TAS) and schoolwide program (SWP) schools SNS determinations with a single compliance check that focuses on a LEAs methodology for allocating funds (ESSA Section 1118[b]). In schools operating a TAS program, the current process still allows only those identified TAS students to receive Title I assistance.

Specifically, ESSA requires that an LEA demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate state and local funds to each school ensures that Title I schools receive all the state and local funds otherwise received if the school were not receiving Title I assistance. In order to demonstrate compliance with the SNS methodology requirement, an LEA receiving Title I funds must ensure the determination is met for both school-level and LEA-level expenditures.

School-Level Expenditures

To determine the school-level expenditures meets SNS requirements, the LEA must be able to demonstrate that each Title I school is allocated all of the state and local funds the school would be entitled to were the school not receiving Title I. The LEA demonstrates this through the regular procedures for distributing funds, that the LEA distributes state and local funds without regard to whether those schools are receiving Title I funds.

LEAs have the decision on the methodology used to allocate state and local funds to schools (ESSA Section 1118[b][4]). There are unlimited options available to an LEA as to what the methodology should be, examples include:

  • Varying per pupil allocations based on the characteristics of students in each school so that students with characteristics associated with educational disadvantage, including students living in poverty, English learners (ELs), students with disabilities, and other such groups of students the LEA determines are associated with educational disadvantage, generate additional funding for their school;
    • For example, the LEA provides $10 for all students, low-income students receive an additional $15, students with disabilities receive an additional $25, ELs receive an additional $15, etc.
  • A distribution based on personnel or non-personnel costs;
    • For example, the average LEA-wide salary for each category of school personnel (e.g., teachers, principals, librarians, school counselors) is multiplied by the number of school personnel in each category assigned by the LEA-wide formula to the school; and the average LEA-wide per-pupil expenditure for non-personnel resources is multiplied by the number of students in the school.
  • Allocations based on the grade level of the student (e.g. high school students receive more funding per pupil than elementary school students); or
    • For example, all elementary school students receive $40 per student, middle school students receive $45 per student and high school students receive $60 per student, etc.

These are some examples of methodologies that would meet the SNS requirement since each example is neutral as to whether a school is a Title I school. When an LEA meets the above methodology determination, all school-level expenses are supplemental.

LEA-Level Expenditures

LEAs must also meet the SNS methodology determination regarding the funds retained at the LEA-level. When an LEA uses state and local funds for LEA-wide expenditures, the LEA must also demonstrate that the LEA is allocating the state and local funds to Title I schools on the same basis as non-Title I schools.

For example, an LEA wants to start Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) enrichment programs across the LEA and plans to use state funds to fund the program in non-Title I schools and Title I funds to fund the program in the Title I schools. This would be a SNS violation because the LEA is not providing state funds to the Title I schools on the same basis as the non-Title I schools (in fact in this example, the Title I schools receive none of the state funding), which the SNS requirements prohibit. Therefore, the allocation of Title I funds for the STEM program would fail to meet SNS requirement.

At the LEA-level, SNS resembles more like a specific expenditure determination, although remains a methodology decision regarding how the LEA is allocating its LEA-level state and local resources. Therefore, when an LEA is planning to expend or obligate state and local funds and Title I funds on an LEA-wide initiative, the LEA must look at the funding the LEA intends to use and then determine whether the Title I schools will receive their equal share of non-federal funds.

Accordingly, when there is an LEA-wide initiative, for any purpose, the LEA must make sure that the non-federal funds are neutrally distributed and then the Title I funds are used for supplementary purposes for the Title I schools.


Title I, Part A Authorized Use of Funds
CDE's web page discussing Authorized Use of Funds for Title I, Part A.

ESSA External link opens in new window or tab.
The U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) web page discussing the ESSA.

SNS under Title I of the ESSA External link opens in new window or tab.
ED's Fact Sheet discussing SNS.

Non-Regulatory Guidance – Supporting School Reform by Leveraging Federal Funds in a SWP External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
ED'S guidance regarding SWP schools.

Non-Regulatory Guidance – Title I Fiscal Issues: Maintenance of Effort Comparability SNS Carryover Consolidating Funds in SWP Grantback Requirements External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
ED'S guidance for SNS in SWP.

Non-Regulatory Guidance – SNS Under Title I, Part A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
ED's guidance for SNS.

Questions:   Title I Policy, Program, and Support Office | | 916-319-0917
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 1, 2022
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