How data affects funding
Many school districts are inadequately or improperly managing their ever-increasing student data. Unfortunately, much of this data can directly impact the funding they are eligible to receive through programs such as Free and Reduced Price Lunch.

A Serious Problem
A recent AASA survey revealed that 99 percent of superintendents questioned say their already-stretched budgets are facing additional crunches thanks to rising fuel and energy costs.  Many will consider program reductions and even bus route elimination to combat the effects of the economic downturn on their districts.  Worse still, 72 percent of districts studied said they planned to cut staff this year.

A Possible Solution
A number of existing federal programs provide ongoing sources of funding.  Many funding initiatives are tied to student data reporting, specifically financial profiles.  In order to receive funding associated with specific programs such as Title 1 or Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL), a district must accurately collect and report student profile information.  Free lunches are available to children in households with incomes at or between 130 to 185 percent of poverty level.  According to Standard and Poor’s “SchoolDataDirect”, 41.8 percent of the nations K-12 students received free and reduced price lunch in 2007.  However, some states and districts don’t report the student data, or don’t report it correctly.  The challenge in many cases is that parents and guardians must apply to participate,  Capturing this information is often time-consuming and paper-intensive.  Many districts use paper forms to collect the statistics and rely on manual data entry to transport the data into a student information or content management system.  Aside from the time and cost issues associated with this type of process, the possibility for error is enormous.  Also, because admitting need can be uncomfortable for both the guardian and the student, participation drops off.  This is increasingly evident at the senior high school level.

Technology can be employed to address both problems-under-capturing and under-reporting student eligibility.   Accurate reporting would allow districts to bolster other financial needs with the now “freed up” dollars. 

What if a simple technology upgrade could provide the answer?

Here are the advantages of a web-based solution to data gathering.   By enabling program registration from any location with internet access, schools can eliminate the embarrassment associated with returning paperwork by a student.  A student’s guardian can register for the progam from home in privacy and without discomfort. By getting flawlessly correct data at enrollment, schools can now get the funding needed.  In addition, schools can automatically notify guardians of the outstanding FRPL forms and provide information on how their participation impacts school funding and how they can enroll digitally or opt out.  By registering digitally, schools save costs associated with paper forms and the time involved with manual data entry.  Registration automation does more than digitize the FRPL program process.  It integrates the student data into any existing school information system.

DocuSense has partnered with developers of focused software solutions the solve the reporting problem at student registration. By improving the data capture process, schools can:

  • Cut the time and manpower costs associated with enrollment.
  • Improve the accuracy of their student’s data.
  • Integrate enrollment information with existing student information systems
  • Enhance school compliance with and participation in key funding programs
  • Gain additional revenue

That’s a win-win for everyone and it’s a great way to simplify processes.  We have plenty of case studies if you want to learn more!

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