Feds Won't Tell Texas School Districts How Many Unaccompanied Minors to Expect
HOUSTON, Texas -- This school year, Texas taxpayers will likely be on the hook for approximately $45 million to educate the wave of Central American children who entered the U.S. illegally during recent months. Thousands of unaccompanied minors are expected to attend Texas public schools this year. Despite this, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is unable to put plans in place for accommodating the minors--the federal government has not revealed the number of foreign students to expect in each school district.
A TEA spokeswoman told Breitbart Texas, "We just don't know at this point whether to expect the children to enroll or not. It's hard to plan. We keep hoping for some more definitive information, but we just don't have it at this point."
According to the spokeswoman, that several steps would likely be taken if a large number of foreign minors, most of whom do not speak English, were to enter a Texas public school.
"If there's a large concentration of [foreign] students, the districts set up bilingual education classes," she said. "If its a small number of students, they set up English as a second language classes."
She mentioned that in bilingual education classes, material is taught predominantly in a foreign language, with minimal English instruction. "Teachers teach [the foreign students] how to speak English, but teach the material in Spanish so they don't fall behind."
Of course, this would all be funded by Texas taxpayers.
Breitbart Texas previously reported that in Texas alone, around 4,800 foreign minors have been set free--assuming these minors are not immediately deported, they will be expected to enter the public school system come fall. Language barriers will likely make it more expensive to educate the immigrant children than it is to educate U.S. students.
TEA General Counsel David Anderson recently said at a committee hearing, "Right now, the state pays about $7,900 per student to districts. These [foreign children] would come with certain needs, like free or reduced lunch qualification as well as bilingual or special needs, so we estimate about $9,500 per student to be paid to the districts for those students. ... You’re looking at more educators that are typically your hardest to hire. Bilingual teachers, counselors and, even more rare, bilingual special education teachers."
Still, it's nearly impossible to make proper accommodations if administrators are not told which school districts the minors will be put in.
A spokeswoman for the McAllen Independent School District, not far from where the minors are entering the country, told Breitbart Texas that the number of unaccompanied minors entering their district is not known at this time.
If students who don't speak English do arrive, however, they will be placed in "an extensive bilingual program."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.