Meeting with Craven County Schools Finance Officer – 10/16/2015
In attendance: Denise Altman – Finance Officer
Sandy Carlaccini – Director of Federal Programs
Dr. AnnetteBrown – Assistant Superintendent For Instruction
Hal James – CCTA
Brad Cummings – CCTA
Craven County schools receive 2-year, federal grants for each of their English as a Second Language (ESL) students based on the previous year’s head count. For fiscal years (October) 2012-13 it was $131,000, for 2014-15 it was $152,000. Next year will be smaller, because it is based on current enrollment, which has gone down. About one third of the refugees they currently instruct were born here. They deal with about 30 different languages
All instruction is done in English and they do not provide translators. In some cases they pull students out of their regular classes for additional tutoring, but that is done in English as well, using specially trained teachers. These special ESL teachers also instruct their regular teachers in the best ways to instruct non-English speakers. At present they have 6 part-time tutors who work 19-1/2 hours or less per week at a rate of $10 to $23 per hour (depending on their qualifications) – certified teachers get the $23 and less trained teachers receive less. They also have some 2-day-per-week tutors who usually make $10 per hour. All of the teachers and tutors are paid by the Craven County School System (from the grant money) and nothing is paid directly or indirectly to Interfaith Refugee Ministry (IFR), though IFR may recommend someone they know who has the particular language skills needed.
The October 2014 “head count” of ESL students was 551 but this year’s will be around 478. Recently, they have seen a sharp drop in enrollment. It used to be in the 700’s. Most of the current ESL students are Spanish speakers, who are primarily the children of seasonal agricultural workers. Roughly 200 of their ESL students are refugees.
Last year, they received $354, 241 of Title 3 (federal) money, which can be used to hire teachers, and another (state) allotment of $72,988 which cannot be used for teaching positions. The refugee grant is in addition to this, and they say it is a godsend, because it allows more individual attention, including some summer teaching, which would not otherwise be possible. They estimate the average cost per year per ESL student to be around $7,800. The refugees attend a total of 9 local schools.