Overview of Allocations and Budgets for English Language Learners
This year, the Boston Public Schools made an additional $8.2M investment in English Language Learners
(ELLs) across all of our schools. This investment results from two factors: weighted student funding and
a more rigorous compliance review. This result may seem counter-intuitive when assessing the impact
of the WSF change on this population of students. This memo outlines the key issues affecting the
budget for ELL students and how the District implemented this investment.
Change to Weighted Student Funding and impact on allocations
In FY16, BPS lowered the weight associated with English Language Learners in grades 6-12. As a result,
schools serving that population received approximately 2.3M dollars less than in FY15. Simultaneously,
the District increased the weight for ELLs in elementary grades. This resulted in a 4.3M dollar increase
to schools serving that population. The net result was a 2M dollar increase in allocations for schools
serving ELL students. This is an additional investment in a year when enrollment of ELL students is
anticipated to decline by 279 students. ELL students receive the base weight for their grade-level in
addition to the funding allocated through the ELL weights.
This change to ELL weights was a technical correction to the model. We updated all weights to ensure
that the break-even point for funding the District’s staffing model was consistent across all student
types and classroom settings. For more information on the rationale and methodology for evaluating
the ELL weight for students in grades 6-82 please see the attached memo.
Increasing compliance through the Budget Collaboratives
Weighted Student Funding is the District’s methodology for allocating funds to schools. It is a consistent
and equitable method for determining how much funding each school receives. However, there is no
requirement that every dollar allocated based on student need be used for students in that category. As
the presentation at the March 9th Budget Hearing explained, there are circumstances in which underenrolled programs require a school to re-allocate funds from full classrooms to under-enrolled
classrooms. This may happen across grades, program types, and populations of students. This is
consistent with a core principle of WSF: it empowers school-based decision-making to effectively use
resources.
One concern is that schools may consistently under-budget resources for one population or program to
benefit another. The past data on ELL services demonstrates that they have been under-served in BPS; a
necessary step to ensure that this does not continue is to guard against the under-budgeting for ELL
services. The mechanism for ensuring compliance and equitable services for all students is the Budget
Collaborative process. During this meeting with individual school leaders, there is a representative from
the Office of English Language Learners (OELL) who determines the appropriate amount of ESL and SEI
services for the population of students at each school. They have direct influence in the amount and
setting of services for ELLs. The budget is not finalized until the OELL representative confirms that the
school has budgeted appropriately to meet the needs of ELL students. This process resulted in an
addition $7,875,340 in budgeted resources for ELL students on general funds. This includes an
additional 74.9 ELL Teachers.
META Compliance with Title 1
BPS has an addition requirement to budget Title 1 funds for the explicit and sole benefit of ELL students.
Each school is required to set aside a percentage of Title 1 dollars equal to the percent of their projected
enrollment; this money is distinguished by an ELL program code. This year, we worked closely with
schools to ensure that they both complied with this required and did not use core ELL services as a way
to meet this requirement. This effort led to a $439,262 increase in non-salary budgets with an ELL
program code.
Overall FY16 Impact for English Language Learners
BPS has made significant progress in ensuring that ELL students are treated equitably within the overall
budget. Despite a decrease in WSF allocations to secondary ELL students, the overall allocations for
OELL students through WSF increased $2M. Additionally, through our rigorous school-budget process,
ELL students will receive over $8.2M in additional resources in FY16.
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Overview of Allocations and Budgets for ELLs