Safe, Healthy Students Rated as Top Priority by School District Leaders, ESSA Survey Finds


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – July 2, 2019 – Results from the 2019 ESSA Title IV-A survey demonstrate a continued need for strong federal investments in the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) program. Survey results also reveal a keen awareness that these funds play an important role in helping schools address the non-academic needs critical to student learning and achievement.

Earlier this spring, the National Association of Federal Program Administrators, the Association of Educational Service Agencies, the Association of School Business Officials International, Whiteboard Advisors, and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, surveyed school district leaders across the country to determine how they are using their ESSA Title IV-A dollars and what impact this funding has had on their districts. The groups are happy to be releasing those results in coordination with the Title IV-A Coalition.

Title IV-A provides funds for districts to invest in activities across three broad “buckets”: improving access to a well-rounded curriculum, efforts to support safe and healthy students, and activities to increase the effective use of technology.

Survey respondents reported where and how they invested their Title IV-A dollars, how they allocated funds across the broad funding buckets, and how they invested these funds on specific activities within these categories. Respondents were asked to rate their prioritization across the buckets along a five-point scale ranging from “extremely important” to “not important”.

Results indicated that efforts to support safe and healthy students are the top priority (65 percent of respondents indicating it was “extremely important”), followed by well-rounded education (52 percent of respondents indicating it was “extremely important”) and education technology (31 percent of respondents indicating it was “extremely important”).

When asked to look to the future and rate the importance of continued investment in the three buckets, respondents prioritized continued investment in student health and safety with 70 percent responding “extremely important” compared to 59 percent for well-rounded education and 38 percent for education technology.
“AASA was pleased to partner with AESA, ASBO, and NAFEPA to survey our members and provide a real-time snapshot of the ESSA Title IV dollars, how they are being invested in schools, and the flexibility the dollars provide for diverse student supports and wrap around services,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “The results of this survey affirm that Congress got it right when creating the comprehensive program in 2015 as well as continuing to fund the program at a meaningful level. We look forward to working with Congress to protect and preserve this program and ensure adequate funding in FY20.”

In response to the findings, the Title IV-A Coalition responded, “We are encouraged to see that districts are using these funds as Congress intended, across all three buckets and to support the wide array of needs unique to rural, suburban and urban districts. It is evident from these survey responses that local leaders believe that continued maximum Title IV-A investments are very important. Our Coalition is hopeful that districts will have the continued opportunity to invest in these critical program areas, which is making a difference across our nation’s schools.”
“This survey provides great insight into the varied responsibilities and challenges facing school districts as they educate, protect and provide for students every day,” said David J. Lewis, executive director, ASBO. “Whether addressing broadening curricula to align with workforce demands, ensuring schools are safe, or investing in staff training to deliver effective learning technology—it tells a clear narrative about what schools need, how critical ESSA Title IV-A is for schools, and why Congress must continue to strongly invest in this program.”

Click here to view the survey.


For specific questions, please contact Noelle Ellerson Ng, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About AESA
The Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) is a professional organization serving educational service agencies (ESAs) in 45 states; there are 553 agencies nationwide. AESA is in the position to reach well over 80% of the public school districts.

About ASBO International
Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation. Learn more at

About the Title IV-A Coalition
The Title IV-A Coalition, is an alliance comprised of a diverse group of national organizations working together to advocate for maximum funding and the successful implementation of the flexible block grant, which is authorized at $1.6 billion through FY 2021 under Title IV, part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The block grant, known as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program, is designed to ensure that high needs districts have access to programs that foster safe and healthy students, provide students with a well-rounded education, and increase the effective use of technology in our nation’s schools. The Coalition believes that if fully funded and administered the way Congress intended under ESSA, the SSAE grant program has the potential to adequately support school districts in their central mission of providing our students with the skills, resources, and support they need to succeed. More about us can be found at