Scholastic quoted Wichita Unified School District over $63,000 for book sets to teach migrant children


Scholastic Education quoted Wichita Unified School District in Kansas $63,329.00 for culturally responsive book sets that would be purchased with pandemic-era emergency relief funds and used for the education of migrant children.

Wichita Unified School District’s curriculum director said in a September 2023 email, obtained by Parents Defending Education, that the book sets would be “use[d] with our Migrant students and give[n] to teachers around the district who have our migrant students.” The director asked if the district could pay for the book sets using its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

The itemized Scholastic Education quote listed 20 Culturally Responsive book sets for each grade preschool through eighth. Each individual set, which included up to 50 books, costs between $357.85 and $514.62.

Districts across the United States are facing challenges as they try to accommodate the influx of migrant children coming over the country’s southern border during the school year—after submitting headcounts to the state education department for funding. Massachusetts public schools brought in 2,000 migrants this school year, according to a local outlet. Denver Public Schools faces a $17 million budget deficit as it tries to educate thousands of migrant students who have entered the district during the middle of the school year.

Districts often provide additional services for migrant children and their families, from English language learning—required by federal law—to housing and immigration services.

Wichita Unified School District’s student population speaks 112 different languages. Attachments to a November 2023 email listed the number of English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Newcomers in the district during the 2023-2024 school year. There were 3,799 elementary, 1,118 middle, and 1,239 high school ESOL students. There were 289 elementary, 248 middle, and 425 high school newcomers, according to the email.

Title I Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) require school districts to teach migrant students, create English language learning programs, and track students’ English acquisition progress. Documents attached to an August 2023 email said the district had $873,356 in “Title III – Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students” available during the 2022-2023 school year, and $242,550 in funds for “Title I – Education of Migratory Children.”

The district also used federal emergency pandemic relief funds for “accelerated professional development for all staff with Restorative Practices,” according to the district’s 2021-2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, which was attached to an October 2023 email.