CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Back to school comes with its changes, but for Maryvale School District, that transition has been especially difficult this year as a result of asylum seekers moving into their community.
76 asylum seekers enrolled in the school district this fall, according to the district’s superintendent Joseph D’Angelo. At the first school board meeting Monday night, he said that has made things challenging, causing the district to spend over $400,000 so far to accommodate the influx of these new students.
The costs have resulted from hiring additional English as a New Language teachers, bolstering transportation, and adding additional teacher aids.
A big concern among district taxpayers has been that $400,000 figure and who’s going to be responsible for paying it.
2 On Your Side: “You said over $400,000 has been spent here. Is this money going to fall on the district taxpayers right now?”
D’Angelo: “As of right now, I haven't heard otherwise. We're lobbying the state. We're lobbying the organization that is working with asylum seekers in New York City as well… The governor made a comment that our foundation aid should cover this, but that is our general operating aid that school districts rely on, and when we got that aid in May when our voters approved the budget, we certainly didn't know that this was going to happen in August.”
The $400,000 is just where they are at right now. D’Angelo said that given the unprecedented number of students the district welcomed, that figure is likely going to rise based on the need required to accommodate those students.
Exactly how much is currently being assessed by ENL teachers over the next 30 days statewide, who are conducting screenings to see where the asylum seekers’ education level is at and what services will be required to support them?
Sweet Home is another school district that welcomed asylum seekers this school year and had some concerns when the year started. Its board of education will meet Tuesday night.