Immigrant students spur concerns despite lower numbers

Roughly 1,100 immigrant children -- 637 in Suffolk and 486 in Nassau -- joined relatives or sponsors on Long Island between October 2014 and September 2015.



Though fewer than last year, those numbers are still the highest in New York state.



Patrick Young, of the Central American Refugee Center, says most of the children are enrolled in only a handful of school districts - which faced significant challenges when 3,000 children arrived last year.



"Last year, we had quite a few difficulties in terms of getting them into schools, and the Constitution guarantees them a right to an education," says Young.



School districts like Hempstead, Freeport and Central Islip are some that received the largest numbers of immigrant children last year.



Lorraine Deller, of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, says districts have been forced to take money from existing programs to provide resources to the new students.



"Sadly, they are receiving no aid of any significance from the state government and very limited aid from the federal government, so they have been left on their own to find ways to adequately educate this new population," says Deller.



A bipartisan bill was introduced last year to provide emergency funding to the school districts most affected by the new students. However, the bill was stalled and there was no vote.



 


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