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

Oct 24, 2017

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

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.