WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) joined with his colleague, Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16), to bring attention and aid to the costs facing local school districts dealing with the substantial influx of Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Representatives Dent and Smucker wrote to Speaker Ryan and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling for additional disaster funding for these school districts.
“We have to recognize that the children impacted have been through an unbelievable amount of stress and they need help,” said Rep. Dent. “Many have emotional issues as a result of having to deal with the disaster of losing their family homes. They need to develop their fluency in English and are facing adapting to a new school environment. The schools are doing amazing work providing for them and meeting their educational needs, but the schools themselves need additional support,” Dent concluded.
The Allentown School District has enrolled over 200 new students from Puerto Rico students since the hurricane. Bethlehem Area School District has now accepted over 100 students. Rep. Smucker’s district has enrolled over 500 new students.
Dent and Smucker praised the financial response by the Federal government thus far to the disaster, but called for action on this issue. “These districts are facing financial challenges in order to help these new students. The Federal government should provide the supplemental disaster relief funding necessary to help alleviate the financial pressure on them and that’s why we raised the issue with House leadership,” said Dent.
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