Opinion Columns & Blogs

Now as many Hispanics as whites in Wichita schools

A demographic data point in the 2015-16 enrollment numbers released by Wichita’s USD 259 is historic: The student body is 34 percent Hispanic and 34 percent white, with the remaining 32 percent consisting of African-Americans, Asians and others. The parity, reflecting a 1 percentage point gain by Hispanics since last year, is especially remarkable because the district’s Hispanic enrollment was 15.6 percent in 2000-01 and 24 percent in 2008-09. Such an influx can come with additional costs, including for special English instruction. Will the state’s to-be-written school-finance formula account for those? That’s sure to be an even more pressing question in districts such as Dodge City (78 percent Hispanic) and Liberal (71 percent). – Rhonda Holman