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Mass. Schools Educating Puerto Rico Evacuees Await Details On $15 Million In School Aid

A school bus.
Holyoke Public Schools

Schools districts in Massachusetts that have been educating students recently arrived from Puerto Rico will soon be getting a portion of $15 million in state funding. 

Holyoke Public Schools superintendent Stephen Zrike estimated districts will receive about $6,000 per student.

Zrike said it's a relief to know the money is coming, since the district has already hired staff to teach and support the 185 evacuees now enrolled in Holyoke schools. 

"We've hired additional ESL staff," he said. "We've hired some special education staff. We've hired additional teachers and additional para professionals. To be honest, we need to do more.”

More families could be coming to Holyoke, Zrike said.

More than 2,400 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled in Massachusetts schools since Hurricane Maria, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

For high school seniors, graduation is just a few months away. Education officials in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico are working out details that will allow seniors from the island to graduate on time. Their diplomas could come from Puerto Rico.

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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