Costs for schooling a surging number of limited English proficiency students are soaring — $2.5 billion in the Washington, D.C., region alone. But the federal government, responsible for the influx of immigrants, is ducking the bill.
A new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform found that taxpayers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are incurring budget-busting costs to accommodate a rising tide of English-deficient pupils, most of them first-generation immigrants.
Alexandria, Va., for example, is spending $25,538 per LEP student. With 4,183 such students enrolled this year, the city’s school district is paying out $107,719,214 for those LEP pupils — a whopping 45.8 percent of the district’s annual instructional budget.
The ranks of LEP students, many of whom come from households where no English is spoken, have jumped 125 percent in the Northern Virginia city since the 2005-2006 school year.
Similar increases are found in neighboring Fairfax and Arlington counties, as well as in D.C. and its Maryland suburbs.
Because LEP students require more intensive and specialized services, district outlays for them run 40 to 50 percent higher than for non-LEP students. And because the federal government is not reimbursing for the rising costs, local school districts and their counties are diverting funds from other programs, says Eric Ruark, director of research for FAIR.
In Maryand’s Prince George’s County, music, arts and gifted and talented programs have been scaled back. Meanwhile, the Central American Solidarity Association, a Latino activist organization, persuaded the predominantly African-American school district to build two facilities for LEP students.
“Educators acknowledge the problem, but the solutions differ,” Ruark told Watchdog. “Some say just spend more money. We say fix the immigration system.”
Of course the MSM will not report on this.