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Tuesday, August 4 News

Connecticut schools will accept displaced students from Puerto Rico

After Hurricane Maria, Connecticut public schools accepted hundreds of displaced students from Puerto Rico.

The state stands poised to do it again, according to Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona.

In a statement released on Monday, Cardona said his department stands ready to assist districts as they enroll students who are displaced by the earthquakes by providing guidance and programmatic technical assistance.

“We will also work closely with the Governor’s office, the legislature and members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to identify and advocate for state and federal funding to ensure districts will be able to obtain the fiscal support, as it becomes available, in order to cover the costs of serving and educating this new population,” Cardona said.

Cardona said students displaced from Puerto Rico will only contribute to the strength and diversity of public schools in the state.

When Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica in 2017, Connecticut schools shared in $10.64 million in federal aid for the education costs the displaced students added to the state’s schools. Bridgeport schools got about $1.5 million to $2 million.

Close to 2,000 displaced students entered public schools in the state who fled weather-ravaged areas, including at least 135 in Bridgeport, 146 in New Haven, and 16 in Stamford.

Peter Yazbak, a department spokesman said it is unclear how many students and their families will relocate as a result of the earthquakes because the major impact of the earthquakes affected the south/southwest region of the island whereas Hurricane Maria had a significant impact on the entire island.

“But we’ll be monitoring the situation and coordinating with our state and federal partners and community providers in preparation,” Yazback said.

lclambeck@ctpost.com; twitter/lclambeck

Linda Conner Lambeck|Education Reporter

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