Local school districts have the primary responsibility to meet the educational needs of their English learner (EL) student populations. As the number of Wisconsin’s ELs grows, so does the need to find additional funding sources to support their supplemental instructional needs. The following will outline the major state, federal, and pertinent funding sources to assist local school districts in meeting the educational needs of their diverse student populations. However, it is important to note that these funds may only be used to supplement a district’s program for ELs and may not supplant it.
Bilingual/Bicultural State Aids: According to s.115.995, Wis. Stats., a school district may receive state categorical aids to reimburse a portion of the approved costs of its bilingual/bicultural education program. In order to receive the state reimbursement, a district must have concentrations of students of a given language as set forth in the s.115.97, Wis. Stats. The state aids may be used for personnel salaries and special books and resources used in the program, and other expenses as approved by the state superintendent. For more information, click here.
Federal Funds: Every Student Succeeds Act
Title III, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA/ESEA) provides federal monies to local school districts as formula grants to implement supplemental instructional programs for ELs. These funds may be used to pay for personnel salaries, instructional materials, family engagement activities, and professional development. Grant applications are part of each district’s ESEA consolidated application (and online application) and are reviewed by staff at the Department of Public Instruction. Announcements regarding these funds and programming, deadlines, regulations, and requirements are published in the Federal Register and are also distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. For additional information, contact Amy Maciolek at email@example.com or (608) 266-1570
Immigrant Children and Youth Grant: Title III, ESSA, also provides additional financial assistance to local school districts with immigrant students. Funds flow through state educational agencies in the form of discretionary grants. For purposes of this program, the term “immigrant children” is defined as children who were not born in this country and who have been attending schools in one or more states for less than three complete academic years. In order for a local school district to qualify for Immigrant Children and Youth Grant funds, the district must apply to the Department of Public Instruction using form PI-2976. For a copy of the form and instructions, click here. For additional information, please contact Amy Maciolek at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 266-1570.
Migrant Education: Title I, Part C (Education of Migratory Children) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA/ESEA) provides funds to state educational agencies for making statewide needs assessments and discretionary sub-grants to applicant school districts for the purposes of expanding, improving, and coordinating instructional and supportive services and programs for migratory children. Migrant Education Program funds can be used by local school districts following a needs assessment to overcome the migratory-related issues of educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit a migratory child’s ability to succeed in school and to benefit from state and local systemic educational reform. A “migratory child” is defined as a child who is, or whose parent, spouse or guardian is, a migratory agricultural worker, and who, in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work, has moved across state boundaries or from one school district to another. There are no language, ethnic, or national origin requirements for children in order to qualify for being counted as a migratory child. For additional information, please click here.
Title I, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA/ESEA) is a federal program that provides funds to school districts and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children who are disadvantaged to support a variety of services. Its overall purpose is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and assessments. The grant contains provisions for ensuring that children who are disadvantaged enrolled in private schools also benefit from the academic enrichment services funded with Title I, Part A funds. Critical program elements are: comparability, parent involvement, evaluation of services provided to students enrolled in private schools, high-quality teachers and paraprofessionals, coordination of services for homeless students in non-Title I schools, needs assessment and program plan design, and sanctions and support for schools identified for improvement (SIFI). For more information, click here.
National Professional Development (NPD) Grant. There are several universities that have received this grant in the past in collaboration with DPI. For example, Edgewood College, UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse have been past recipients. This program provides professional development activities intended to improve instruction for students with limited English proficiency (LEP) and assists education personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards. Grants are made to IHEs that have entered into consortium arrangements with SEAs or LEAs. Projects are designed to increase the pool of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve LEP students and increase the skills of teachers already serving them. Authorized Activities include upgrade qualifications, skills of personnel who are not certified or licensed, development of program curricula, support for tuition, fees, or books. Areas of focus may include but are not limited to alternative certification programs, career ladder programs for paraprofessionals, Bilingual/ESL certification for regular classroom teachers , special support for new teachers, improving the skills of higher education faculty, preparation of bilingual counselors, school psychologists or other educational personnel. For more information, click here.