School Funding Matters

According to a National Center for Education Statistics survey released in May 2018, 94 percent of public school teachers in the United States reported paying for supplies without reimbursement. They spend an average of $479 per school year.

“What?!,” said one incredulous teacher I spoke to at a recent conference, but she was more shocked at how low the amount was. “I spend much more than that.” In response to these staggering statistics, the Funding Matters blog is dedicated to helping educators locate funding opportunities and strategies that can truly make a difference in their classrooms and schools. I’ll help you sort through weeds of time-consuming (and, honestly, mostly useless) funding emails, newsletters, directories, and workshops to find the funding flowers that can enhance your teaching and learning.

So let’s get started! Here are two resources that support professional development and after school.

Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program

Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program is a new federal grant funded at $1.1 billion this school year. Remember the federal Reading First program in the early 2000s? The new Title IV program is that big.

Title IV’s overall goal is to improve student’s academic achievement through three targeted activities:

  1. provide all students with access to a well-rounded education
  2. improve school conditions for student learning
  3. improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy for all students.

To see examples and expenditures these funds will support, visit

According to a recent survey by Education Week, professional development tops administrators’ wish lists for spending federal Title IV grant money. That was a surprise to me, based on my conversations with teachers and district leaders the past six months, many of whom weren’t aware of Title IV and especially weren’t aware that the funds could be used for PD.

How do you apply for Title IV funding? You don’t! If you’re a teacher, contact your Principal or district Title funds or Federal Programs director to ask about how these funds will be used in your district and make a good case for why you and your school could benefit from these funds. Take a look at the links I have provided to align your needs with Title IV’s priorities.

If you’re a private school, you may be eligible to receive these Title IV funds through a partnership with the public school district you reside in called “Equitable Services” or “Equitable Participation.”

After School Funding

The After School Alliance is a respected advocate for after school programming and funding. Their website,, will enable you to time-effectively take an online tutorial, learn how to find new funding sources close to home, including a database of public and private sources of funding for after school, and see tips on writing proposals. That’s one-stop shopping that will save you time and money (no need to buy a funding directory or pay for a webinar).

That’s the value that Funding Matters will offer, a focus on saving you time and pointing you to money. In the next Funding Matters, I’ll tell you about another $1 billion plus source for after school funding...if you know what it is already, you’ll learn something new, I promise. If you don’t know what it is, stay tuned!

About the author of Funding Matters, John Bluthardt, Director, Funding and Grants, Highlights Education Group (Stenhouse, SDE, Zaner-Bloser)

Fundraising for charitable and educational causes is the only job I’ve ever had. I started by raising funds door to door for a non-profit organization, then directed development for a nationally-recognized children’s mental health center. For the past twenty-five years, I have specialized in writing grants, locating funding resources, and providing training focused on education in grades preK-12, the past fifteen of them with the Highlights Education Group, which includes Stenhouse and SDE.