Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal asked U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan for additional federal funding to deal with the impact of unaccompanied minors brought to Arizona by the federal government.
“Arizona’s school districts already are dealing with budgets cut to the bone. The possible influx of additional immigrants will put an added financial burden on our local school districts, our education resources and ultimately, Arizona taxpayers,” said Superintendent Huppenthal.
Huppenthal said the true impact of unaccompanied minors on local school systems won’t be clear until classes are well under way. Currently at least 202 youth have been placed with sponsor families in Arizona, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funding costs for these unaccompanied minors total an estimated $1,026,564, based on average state funding per Arizona student of $5,082. Costs could be higher based on the specific needs of individual students.
Huppenthal also echoed Governor Jan Brewer’s concerns about the potential cost to taxpayers. “As the Governor said, this is a crisis of the federal government’s creation,” he said. “This crisis is far reaching because it impacts Arizona’s families at the school level and it impacts taxpayer wallets.”
The Superintendent said a letter was sent to the Education Secretary today and he will press for an immediate response.