Financing Arizona's English Language Learner Programs Fiscal Years 2002 through 2006
More than 1 out of every 8 students (13 percent) in Arizona is an ELL student. In fiscal year 2006, school districts reported having 128,858 ELL students, and charter schools reported having 4,632. More than one-half of ELL students are in Kindergarten through grade 3, more than a third are in grades 4-8, and 13 percent are in high school. In 1992, parents of students at Nogales Unified School District sued the State in U.S. District Court. They alleged, in Flores v. State of Arizona, that the State failed to provide programs that would help limited English proficient students become proficient in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing English. In January 2000, the District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. In December 2001, the Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2010, which increased the ELL per-pupil funding to about $320 and provided an additional $50 million for several new ELL-related programs.
In January 2005, the District Court again ordered the State to comply with the January 2000 ruling to adequately fund ELL programs. Subsequently, in March 2006, the Legislature passed HB 2064, proposing to increase ELL per-pupil funding to about $420 per year, providing $10 million for ELL Compensatory Instruction and establishing a system for developing Structured English Immersion program models and related budget requests to fund them. Because the District Court did not accept the new law, the per-pupil funding increase did not go into effect. As of April 2007, key provisions of HB 2064 were still being implemented, including developing the Structured English Immersion instruction models and budgets and allocating the Compensatory Instruction monies.
School districts and charters also receive various federal and local monies for ELL purposes, such as federal Title III and desegregation monies.
Prior to July 1, 2006, school districts were not required to account for their ELL costs, but could choose to do so. This report summarizes these available monies and expenditures from them during fiscal years 2002 through 2006. The report also contains one-page information sheets on the ELL programs and spending of the 28 school districts monitored by the Arizona Department of Education during fiscal year 2007.