News from the
Committee on Education and the Workforce
John Boehner, Chairman

November 7, 2003

CONTACTS: Josh Holly or 
Dave Schnittger 
Telephone: (202) 225-4527

Seattle Schools First in Nation to Receive Red Tape Relief Under No Child Left Behind "Local-Flex" Initiative

Castle-Tiberi Provision in NCLB Lets 80 Local School Districts Spend Federal Funds With Virtually No Strings Attached 

          WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee today congratulated the Seattle Public School System for being the first in the nation to receive unprecedented local flexibility under the No Child Left Behind's Local Flexibility Demonstration Program (Local-Flex), a pilot project included in No Child Left Behind that allows up to 80 local school districts nationwide to spend federal education funds with very few strings attached, as long as the school district can demonstrate these funds are being used to improve academic achievement.

          “As a result of No Child Left Behind, public schools are receiving far more federal funding than ever before, and more freedom than ever in how they spend those funds,” said House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH). “I salute Seattle education reform leaders for taking full advantage of the flexibility offered under No Child Left Behind, and would encourage other school districts to follow Seattle's lead.” 

          “Flexibility has been one of the major reasons for the success of No Child Left Behind thus far,” Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman Mike Castle (R-DE) said. “As a former governor, I know how valuable initiatives such as Local-Flex can be, and I encourage other local school districts to take full advantage of the opportunity to work with the federal government to meet local needs.” 

          “I’m glad school officials in Seattle are able to take advantage of the provision Rep. Castle and I authored. We’re anxious to see other local school systems use this same flexibility to develop local solutions to local education issues,” said Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH). 

          The “Local-Flex” project was included in the No Child Left Behind Act via an amendment authored jointly by Castle and Tiberi in 2001. 

          The Local Flexibility Demonstration Project, included in President Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), grants local school districts the authority to consolidate certain federal formula grant funds to meet local priorities. These formula grant funds include the following programs: Teacher and Principal Training and Recruitment, Education Technology, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, and Innovative Programs.

          To qualify for Local-Flex, local school districts must submit an application to the U.S. Department of Education outlining a five-year plan that shows how the district would consolidate funds to improve student achievement and make continued academic progress as defined by individual states. The application must also show how the district would narrow achievement gaps among students.

          Applications must include academic achievement data, measurable annual education goals that the district plans to achieve, and specific strategies for meeting those goals. School districts are selected by the U.S. Department of Education on a competitive basis. Up to 80 local districts may be selected to participate in Local-Flex.

          The No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President Bush in 2002, calls for high standards and accountability for results in exchange for a significant increase in federal education spending. For the first time, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have accountability systems in place to ensure that every student learns. In addition, states have received a 34% increase in federal funding for major elementary and secondary education programs.

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