Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Iowa Districts See Sharp Rise In ELL Expenses

The Des Moines Register (2/8, Dooley) reports that according to data from the Iowa Department of Education, "the cost of teaching non-English-speaking students is rising dramatically in some Iowa schools, with local property taxpayers paying a bigger share of the expense." The data indicates a 40% boost in state funding for ELL instruction, adding that nevertheless, "an increasing number of schools spent more state money than they received, prompting them to seek additional funds from property taxpayers. Eighty-two districts last year needed extra money, up from the 68 that did so five years ago. And the amount they collected nearly doubled during that time." The paper reports that its analysis indicates that there is a disparity in how districts spend such funds.


The AP (2/8) also covers this story, noting that "spending more money hasn't resulted in academic gains in some cases. The percentage of Davenport ELL fourth-graders able to read at grade level fell from 71 percent in 2007 to about 62 percent in 2011. Reading proficiency among Des Moines' ELL fourth-graders increased from 45 percent to 51 percent." Meanwhile, districts with the largest ELL student censuses "kept their expenses within state funding limits and didn't ask taxpayers for additional help."

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