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Respond to the testimony from the Korean Parents Association regarding the elimination of funding for Korean translation services. Provide information on how positions and other resources are used to provide translation services. Are the resources sufficient considering the growing need for translations in Amharic? What is the cost to restore the position that was eliminated in the budget?

Question#: 1

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 4-55

ANSWER:

Korean translation services are not being eliminated.  While a full-time position is no longer required to provide Korean translations, contractual funds will be used to provide the services. Korean has fallen to the eighth most commonly spoken language in MCPS.   Korean represents just 1.16 percent of the ESOL student population, or 190 speakers and there are approximately 825 parents who prefer to receive written communication in Korean.

Currently, the Language Assistance Services Unit (LASU) translation team in the Division of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)/Bilingual Programs includes 5.0 communication specialists who provide translation services in Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.  These were the top five languages for which translations were requested at the time the LASU was established.

The four positions that will remain in FY 2015 and the $373,861 that is budgeted to provide contractual translation services is expected to be sufficient to provide high-quality routine and urgent translation and proofreading services in all requested languages. In addition, the Language Line is available for MCPS staff members to communicate and support the language needs of our families.

As a result of changing demographics, the Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs will continue to monitor the work of the translation team and evaluate its capacity to address the needs of our families and the MCPS community.

The cost to restore a 1.0 FTE communication specialist to the budget is $108,100 ($75,226 for salaries and $32,874 for benefits).

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