Venice Point Man for Federal FundsMonday, October 27, 2008 By Rahel Abebe
“My door is open to anybody. My role is to serve students, teachers, and the community any way I can,” said Mr. James DeBiase, the new Title One coordinator. His coordinating position was created after the No Child Left Behind Act was created by the Bush administration in 2001 to direct federal money to schools. Before that, only the state of California provided money to help students with a higher number of low-income students. School lunch applications also give funding to the school, regardless of whether or not a student is applicable to receive lunch tickets. Mr. Henry Lazo held the Title One position last year. The duties of the coordinator consist of overseeing several hundred thousand dollars that comes from the state of California and the federal government for MAARSTAF (Multi-Agency At Risk Task Force), including the TRIP Program (Truancy Prevention), Teen Court, YULIV, Creative Drive, and other student run agencies. Along with handling school finances, the Title One coordinator also has to monitor pupil attendance, student-run programs, and work with the school staff and community to see how Title One money is spent. The CEAC (Compensatory Education Advisory Committee), SSC (School Site Counsel), ELAC (English Learners Advisory Committee), an SMB (School Based Management) are groups the Title One coordinator has to work with and answer to about money. Mr. DeBiase handles about $850 thousand a year in grants and funds. When asked why he would take on such a large role at this school, Mr. DeBiase responded, “I’ve been here at Venice for 11 years, and I’m very devoted.” Before becoming the Title One coordinator he was head of the Special Education program, where he learned about the inner workings of the school. As a result, he was always connected to many different programs and students, and wanted to be able to help the school on a larger scale, not just in one department.