Allowable Expenditure Guidelines

  • Title I funds are to be used for the purpose of student achievement, staff development, and to build parent capacity to better support their child’s educational attainment.  In general, Title I funds are to be used to enhance the regular school program and should be consistent with the Arkansas Consolidated School Improvement Plan (ACSIP).  When determining if expenditures are appropriate, ask the following questions:

    • How does this expenditure directly support student achievement?
    • How does this expenditure directly support staff professional development?
    • How does this expenditure increase the participation of parents in school activities or assist parents to support student achievement?

    Little Rock School District follows expenditure guidelines for federal programs as set forth in State and Federal Regulations.  It adheres to a standard that all expenditures must be reasonable, ordinary and necessary in order for a cost to be reimbursed.  

    The attached list provides a partial listing of Title I expenditures.

    If you are unsure that a proposed expenditure meets Title I (ESEA) or District guidelines, please contact Leon Adams, Director of Title I at (501) 447-3350 or Kelsey Bailey, Chief Financial Officer at (501) 447-1010.

    Reference:  Federal Cost Principles


    Title  I   
    Allowable  Expenditure  Guidelines


    Allowable                                                                                              Reasonable and necessary

    Allowable with Conditions                                                                   Not allowable

    Allowable with Prior Specific Approval


    Brochures informing parents of school achievement, rules, regulations, etc. are allowable.   Billboards or other strategies to or promote enrollment opportunity are not allowable.

    Allowable with Conditions

    Alcohol Beverages

    Not Allowable


    Athletics/Athletic Awards/Yearbooks are not allowable, including awards for recognition or incentives for participation (ex. Banquets/Award Programs/Carnivals/Luncheons/Brunches/Parties/Picnics/etc.).

    Not Allowable

    Capital Outlay

    All capital outlay, except for library books and media, requires prior specific approval from the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).  Schools must meet state minimum requirements referenced in the ADE Rules Governing Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools and School Districts. An inventory must be maintained.

    Allowable with Prior Specific Approval

    Compensation for Personal Services

    Not Allowable

    ComputerS (Classroom/Student-use only)

    Allowable with Conditions – Allowable with Prior Approval – Reasonable and Necessary


    Note:  Entertainment costs are not allowable (OMB Super Circular – Federal Cost Principle)

    Allowable with Conditions

    CONSTRUCTION Supplies/Repairs/Modifications

    Not Allowable

    Contributions and Donations

    Not Allowable

    Entertainment and Social Activities

    Entertainment includes amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonies and related costs of these activities such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, gratuities, etc.

    Not Allowable

    Equipment (non-capital)

    Equipment is defined as an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the less of the capitalization level established by the governmental unit, or $5,000All capitalized furniture and equipment requires prior specific approval from ADE regardless of the cost (reference LRSD policy).  Items requiring specific approval from ADE must be specifically budgeted and approved in the applicable grant application prior to expending funds.  May include ancillary charges (taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, installation, etc.).  An inventory must be maintained.

    Allowable with Prior Approval

    Field Trips (refer to District guidelines)

    Field trips must be educational in nature only.  Therefore, no over-night trips – no amusement or water parks – no field trips of entertainment, social or recreational purposes are allowable.  April 30th is the deadline for taking field trips.  Complete and submit to the Title I Office all required documents, including agenda/program and sign-in sheet (pre/post), four (4) weeks prior to activity.  Although not specifically addressed in the Federal Regulations or ADE in general, this action does not allow field trips to be paid from grant funds.  Any field trips requested by the grantee (LRSD) must be specifically approved in the applicable discretionary grant application (ACSIP). 

    Allowable with Conditions – Allowable with Prior Approval

    (NOTE:  Unallowable – Field trips for social, entertainment or recreational purposes)

     Food (Refer to District policy and guidelines)

    Title I allows light snacks/refreshments to be served ONLY at Title I activities –

    Staff Activities:  Only if the training runs over a normal meal time or longer than 3 hours.

    Parent Activities:  Only if the training or activity runs over a normal meal time and or longer than 2 hours

    REMEMBER:  Submit the Title I Agenda and Title I Sign-in Sheet for ALL activities.

    Suggested Light Refreshments/Lunch Menu:

    Category I:     Chicken, 1 Vegetable, Drink

    Category II:    Chili, Potato, Drink

    Category III:  Pizza, Drink

    Category IV:  Sandwich, Chips, Drink

    NOTE:  Food items that may accompany Categories I – IV

                            Grapes, Oranges, Bananas, Apples

     Allowable Food –

    1.      Light lunch during an all-day meeting or training session:  Light lunch for participants who are cloistered in an all-day (i.e., at least six hours) meeting or training session.  The grantee must document that it was impractical for participants to obtain lunch on their own (e.g., due to isolated location and/or distances to eateries) and that their attendance at the meeting or training session was essential to accomplishing the objectives of the grant.  The grantee must maintain a Title I Agenda that clearly identifies the topics discussed during the meeting/training session and the time allotted to each topic, including the lunch period.  In addition, the grantee must maintain a Title I Sign-in Sheet of those in attendance (participants). 

    2.      Nutritional snacks for students in extended day (i.e., after-school) programs.

    3.      Nutritional snacks for children in child care while parents are participating in grant activities.

    4.      The food necessary to conduct nutrition education programs for parents.

    5.      Parent involvement activities where refreshments (light) are necessary to encourage participation/attendance by parents, such as in low-income areas, and thus meet program activities.


    Unallowable Food or Related Items –

    1.      Any food cost not necessary to accomplish the objectives of the grant program.

    2.      Any food cost for non-Title I activities.

    3.      Any food or refreshment that would include beverages, breakfast, breaks, and snacks for staff meetings/staff training.

    4.      Any refreshment or meal at an Awards/Banquet/Breakfast/Luncheon/etc. event.

    5.      Any food at an event in which a “guest speaker” or other individual conducts a presentation.

    6.      Any unreasonable food or food supplies for an event/activity or elaborate catering.

    7.      Any food or supplies at a non-Title I event/activity (example: school dance, athletic event, etc).

    8.      Full meals (i.e., meat [barbeque, chicken, beef, pork, fish, chili, etc.], vegetable, salad, bread, dessert, drink) for parents and/or students are not allowed for these purposes under any circumstances.

    Not Allowable

    Cost –

    1.      Expenditures must be reasonable, in cost, necessary to (a) accomplish program objectives and (b) accomplish the integral part of the instructional program. 

    2.      Arkansas Department of  Education reserves the right to restrict a grantee from expending any funds on food costs or to disallow expenditures on food costs should the ADE determine that the grantee expended grant funds on food costs that are not reasonable or necessary to meet the intent and objective(s) of the grant.

    Allowable with Conditions              –               Reasonable and Necessary

    Fundraising/Investment Management Costs

    Costs of organized fundraising and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions is unallowable.  This also includes:  food, door prizes, equipment or other materials for fundraisers, financial campaigns, and solicitation of gifts, donations, contributions, etc.

    Not Allowable


    Usually, furniture is not allowed (supplanting) since District provides general classroom and administrative furniture and fixtures.  Administrative/Office furniture is not allowable.  Contact the Title I Office (447-3350) before purchasing to make sure your order will be allowed.  An inventory must be maintained.

    Not Allowable

    Gasoline and Parking Costs ($.42 per mile… – refer to LRSD Procurement Manual)

    Employees are reimbursed for these costs only through car allowance or mileage.

    Allowable with Conditions

    Gifts or Items with Gift Appearance

    Gift certificates, gift cards, gratuities or tips, memorabilia, souvenirs, etc. are not allowed, including bereavement or congratulatory cards, flowers, or other gifts in any form.

    Not Allowable

    Goods or Services for Personal Use

    Not Allowable

    Graduation/Commencement/CONVOCATION/awards/club/recognition Event

    Not Allowable

    Gratuities or Tips or delivery charges

    Not Allowable

    Home theater system AND/OR ACCESSORIES

    Not Allowable

    Homeless Student Supplies (including emergency clothing)

    Allowable               Contact the Title I Homeless Office (447-3350)


    Honorariums” are not allowable costs.  The term “fee” must be used in lieu of honorarium in all accounting records and consultant agreements.

    Not Allowable

    Hospitality Rooms

    Not Allowable

    Housing and Personal Living Expenses

    Not Allowable

    Instructional Materials

    This may include supplemental (additional) resources, not adopted textbooks.



    Not Allowable


    Licenses are allowable for software or curriculum used by schools (i.e., Plato and Renaissance Learning memberships are examples of allowable expenditures). 

    Allowable with Conditions


    Leases for copiers, postage meters or outposts are approved.

    Allowable with Conditions


    Not Allowable

    Lodging and per-diem (refer to District guidelines)

    Allowable with Prior Approval    –    Reasonable and Necessary

    Losses Which Could Have Been Covered by Permissible Insurance

    Note:  Only with prior specific approval from Arkansas Department Education

    Allowable with Prior Approval


    Mailings must be informational materials to parents and school personnel.

    Allowable with Conditions


    Membership must be in the name of Title I – LRSD organization and not in the name of an individual; therefore, individual membership is not allowable.

    Membership in any social organization or organization substantially engaged in lobbying is not allowable.  (School membership (non-lobbying) in business, technical and professional organizations related to the grant program is allowable.)

    Allowable with Conditions

    Parent Training or Educational Services

    All parent training or educational services must be approved through Title I.

    Allowable with Conditions

    Parent Recognition BREAKFAST/Luncheon/BANQUET/RELATED activity

    Not Allowable

    Per-diem (refer to District guidelines)

    Allowable with Conditions

    Professional and Consultant Services

    Professional/consulting services are delivered by an independent contractor (individual, entity, or firm) on a fee basis for specialized services that are usually considered to be temporary or short-term in nature, normally in areas that supplement the expertise of the grantee.  This includes evaluation, professional development/training, management services, legal services, etc.

    Honorariums” are not allowable costs.  The term “fee” must be used in lieu of honorarium in all accounting records and consultant agreements.  (governed by District policy)

    NOTE:  Allowable with prior specific approval from ADE when provided by non-employees and when the grantee organization does not possess the expertise.  See OMB Super Circular (Federal Cost Principles) for specifications of liability.

    Allowable with Conditions

    Professional Development (refer to District policy/guidelines)

    Promotional Items (refer to Federal Register – OMB Circular A-87)

    Items that are promotional in nature and unallowable are T-shirts, caps, tote/book bags, key chains, pencils, pens, pads, tablets, memorabilia, gifts, souvenirs, including – but not limited to – monogrammed shirts, banners, tattoos, athletic uniforms, school “spirit” apparel with school or District logos, etc.

    Not Allowable

    Raffles/Door Prizes

    Not Allowable

    Refreshments (refer to food)

    Supplies and Materials

    Educational supplies that include replacement and special program materials/teacher guides; excessive copy paper/writing materials; trophies; pricey digital cameras/technology (walkie talkies, hand held radios, PE equipment/supplies, PA/theater equipment systems (including installation), etc.; fans, heaters, school marquees; plants, flowers and decorations; and other high-end supplies and materials are not allowable.

    Jewelry, lapel/organizational pins, ribbons, badges, ID costs, name tags, lanyards or badge holders/clips, wrist coils, key rings, wristbands, tattoos, face paint, and other promotional items are not allowable.

    Equipment, supplies or appliances for the offices of the principal/administrator, counselor, teacher’s lounge, health clinic or other school departments, including Keurig coffee machine (or similar appliance), water coolers, water systems, etc. are not allowable.

    Cleaning or janitorial supplies; facial tissue, wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, air fresheners, and related items; balloons and helium machines; door/floor mats and mailboxes are not allowable. 

    Not Allowable

    Religious Activities 

    Religious worship, instruction or proselytization is not allowable.  Equipment or supplies to be used for any of these activities; construction, remodeling, repair, operation or maintenance of any facility to be used for these activities; and an activity of a school/department of divinity are not allowable.

    Not Allowable


    The costs of business, professional and technical periodicals when related to the grant program are allowable.  Subscriptions must be in the name of the grantee organization and not in the name of an individual.


    Training and Education (review District policy/guidelines)

    Training for employee development is allowable (reference LRSD policy).  The ADE allows college level courses only when the course is directly related to the purposes of the grant program.   

    Allowable with Conditions

    Transportation for parents (contact Title I Office)

    Allowable with Conditions       –       Reasonable and Necessary

    Travel (refer to District guidelines – TRAVEL:  In-State and/or Out-of-State)

    1. Employee must travel on Title I and/or related official business.
    2. Employee must follow District and ADE guidelines.
    3. Cost may not exceed LRSD policy or maximum allowable rates for In-State or Out-of-State travel, whichever is less.

    In-State Travel and Out-of-State Travel:

    Car rental (allowable only where rental car is the most cost effective than other transportation – Reference LRSD policy/guidelines).

    Specific approval required for travel.  Costs must be budgeted in the applicable application and approved by Arkansas Department of Education prior to expenditure of funds.

    Foreign travel.  Foreign travel is generally not permitted by ADE.  However, direct charges are allowable only when the travel has received prior specific approval of ADE.  Each separate foreign trip must receive approval.

    Allowable with Conditions       –       Reasonable and Necessary

    Unallowable Travel

    The portion of costs for air travel by other than commercial travel that exceeds the cost of allowable commercial air travel is unallowable.

    Not Allowable

    Reference:  Federal Cost Principles