Schools brace for up to 50,000 migrant kids

Article publisher: 
9 News
Article date: 
7 August 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Schools across the USA are bracing for as many as 50,000 immigrant children who would start school this fall, most of them unaccompanied by their families.

"We haven't started school yet, so we are all just holding our breath to see what's going to come on the first day of school," says Caroline Woodason, assistant director of school support for Dalton Public Schools in Georgia.

Under federal law, all children are entitled to a free public education, regardless of their immigration status.

It's nothing new for public schools to serve immigrant students. But Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Board Association, says, "One of the challenges here, though, is the large number of unaccompanied minors."

"This is a whole new wave of immigrant students that are coming without any guardians whatsoever," Negron says ...

School districts receive funding under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for students who have limited English proficiency. States can set aside additional [taxpayer funded] money for districts that experience a "significant increase" in the number of immigrant students ...

But "there's an unknown factor" of how new students will affect the district financially, Carvalho says.

Miami has the country's largest Honduran population, and in the last three months of the school year, the district enrolled 300 children from Honduras, says superintendent Alberto Carvalho. ...

Miami-Dade estimates it spends an additional $1,959 in local [tax] funds on immigrant children, Carvalho said in a July 30 letter to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz ...

Using federal funds, Dalton Public Schools in Georgia set up what it calls a "Newcomer Academy" this year when it saw that about 30 students needed English training.

Last year, the district received $200,000 in funding for its 1,800 English language learners, about a quarter of the overall student population ...

CAIRCO Research

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"Biden on minors at border: 'These [illegal aliens] are our kids' "
2009 - "Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the  Education of Undocumented Children"
[...] School districts thus should be wary of denying undocumented children access to any extracurricular school activities. Unless the activity is found not to contribute at all to the educational goals of Plyler ...