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As Expected, Public Schools In New England See Increase In Number Of Puerto Rican Students

Government and nonprofit leaders in Holyoke, Mass., gathered to prepare for the expected arrival of people from Puerto Rico.
Jill Kaufman
/
NEPR
Government and nonprofit leaders in Holyoke, Mass., gathered to prepare for the expected arrival of people from Puerto Rico.

After two devastating hurricanes in September, many Puerto Ricans are relocating to New England to stay with family or friends.

In Hartford, Connecticut, 54 new students from Puerto Rico have enrolled.

In the state's second-largest school district -- Springfield, Massachusetts -- 101 new students have arrived. 

In Worcester, Massachusetts, 73 new students from Puerto Rico have been enrolled since the hurricanes.

An abandoned school in Maricao, Puerto Rico, that's being used as a shelter.
Credit Ryan Caron King / WNPR
/
WNPR
An abandoned school in Maricao, Puerto Rico, that's being used as a shelter.

A district spokesperson in Worcester said community service agencies in the city have been hearing that more families will be arriving toward the end of November, when airfares go down.

More are likely to come, said Springfield assistant superintendent Lydia Martinez-Alvarez.

"The only thing is, all the students are coming without the funding," she said. "Ensuring we have teachers to teach them, that is the only challenge we have right now."

Springfield is asking the state of Massachusetts for additional per-pupil funding.

So is Holyoke, which has 25 new students from the island. A spokesperson said at least 45 more are coming.

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed a comment to a Springfield district spokesperson. It was a Worcester spokesperson.

Jill has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing The Connection with Christopher Lydon, Morning Edition, reporting and hosting. In the months leading up to the 2000 presidential primary in New Hampshire, Jill hosted NHPR’s daily talk show The Exchange. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRX's The World.
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