The rate at which Rio Americano students receive accommodations for conditions like ADHD, depression and anxiety etc. has increased by almost ten-fold in the past decade.
And while the rate at which students get 504 plans, which provide things like extra time on tests or extended deadlines on assignments has risen sharply nationwide, students at more affluent schools like Rio are far more likely to get the designation than those at high-poverty schools.
At Rio in 2009 only 0.3 percent of students had a 504 plan, according to data compiled by the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. That percentage grew to 3.6 in 2015, the last year for which federal data is available. Currently, about 8.2 percent of students here have a 504 plan, according to San Juan Unified School District data.
In contrast, at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks an estimated 4.3 percent of students currently have 504 plans, up from 2.2 percent in 2015 and less than 1 percent in 2009.
Although the schools have similar numbers of students, the big difference between them is that at Rio 20.9 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch; at Del Campo that number is 44.4 percent, according to federal data from 2015. Free and reduced price lunch eligibility is often used as a marker for the number of lower-income students at a school.
The contrast can be even more stark at other schools in the Sacramento area. In 2015, 6.3 percent of Davis High School students had 504 (up from less than 1 percent percent in 2009), while 14.8 percent of students were eligible for free/reduced price lunch. At Hiram Johnson in Sacramento, the numbers were 0.3 percent for 504s and 87.8 for free/reduced price lunch.
These numbers reflect a national trend that was reported in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal last summer.
This inquiry followed the accusation that William Singer, a consultant at the epicenter of the college admissions scandal was using 504 accommodations as a ploy to aid students in getting extra test-taking time. Singer, who lives near the school, once offered college counseling to Rio students, although none were involved in the admissions cheating scandal.