School districts plead for funds to help immigrant children

School districts are legally required to provide the children with an education, but the districts say there is not enough money.

School districts are legally required to provide the children with an education, but the districts say there is not enough money. (5/21/15)

WYANDANCH - School districts across Long Island are pleading for millions of dollars to help educate newly arrived immigrant children on Long Island.

School districts are legally required to provide the children with an education, but the districts say there is not enough money.

Long Island school districts have seen an influx of about 3,000 newly arrived immigrant children this year.

Wyandanch Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Jones says that there has been an increase of 90 children since September at a cost of about $350,000.  She said that she was not prepared to spend that money and simply does not have the funds.

"We've had to make major adjustments in our budget," she says. "As a matter of fact, we had to dip into our fund balance to hire additional faculty and provide for other interests and needs."

Jones and others say that's not sustainable. They are demanding state lawmakers pass emergency legislation before the session ends next month to approve $11.5 million for school districts that have seen a significant increase in children coming in from other countries.

Experts say that because so many of the children coming to the U.S. are fleeing violence and danger in their native countries, they require more services than a classroom teacher can provide.  

 

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