Title III: Supplement Not Supplant Monitoring Issues


The Title I Monitor from March 2014 (Vol. 19, No.3), a publication of LRP, carried an article related to recent Title III monitoring findings. The LRP article looked at the five most recent Title III Monitoring reports posted on the USED’s site. Many of the issues cited in this article are the same issues that I saw over the two and a half years I contracted with the US Department of Education (USED) to help monitor state’s Title III programs (visiting five states). In particular, the supplement not supplant issues related teacher salaries and translation/interpretation, were some of the most common findings by Title III at USED.

I went back and looked at the 28 most recent Title III monitoring reports on USED’s site, going back to the 2010-2011 monitoring cycle. I focused solely on the supplement not supplant issues related to teacher salaries and translation/interpretation. In the 28 reports, I found that 17 states had findings related to inappropriate use of funds for translation/interpretation and 13 states had findings related to EL teacher salaries.

The issues around translation/interpretation related to districts using Title III funds to provide translation or interpretation services for things that were not Title III related, or for things that are required by another federal, state or local law. The first rule of thumb for using Title III funds for translation/interpretation is that it must relate directly to your district’s Title III program. If it doesn’t relate directly to your district’s Title III program, don’t use Title III funds for it. Also, be aware of other laws and their requirements. If something is required by another local, state or federal law, don’t use Title III funds.

Using Title III funds for teacher salaries is one of the more complex issues in Title III. Civil Rights legislation and court rulings require districts to provide a core English language development program. Anything that is considered a core component of a child’s education cannot be paid for with Title III funds (or other Title funds). In order to use Title III funds for teacher salaries, there are several things that need to be kept in mind:

  1.  The teacher’s duties need to be directly tied to the district’s Title III program
  2. If a teacher only spends a portion of their time providing Title III services, only that portion of their salary may be funded with Title III (i.e. you can only pay for 50% of a teacher’s salary with Title III funds if the teacher only spends 50% of his/her time working in the district Title III program)
  3. Title III funds cannot be used for class size reduction. Therefore, the duties of the Title III funded teacher cannot be the same as the duties of teachers in the district core English language development program
  4. You must have a job description for teachers funded with Title III funds and the Title III funded teacher’s job description must be different than the teachers working in the district core English language development program
Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.