The city Department of Education is rolling out the red carpet to asylum-seeking migrants, helping them cut through red tape to get at least 1,500 border-crossing kids enrolled in public schools
The influx of school-age children – among the roughly 8,000 newcomers bused to Manhattan since May by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott – stands to help the enrollment-starved DOE reap millions of dollars in new revenue.
More than half – or $12,725 – of the DOE’s $25,334 per-student funding is picked up by the state and federal government, according to estimates provided by the watchdog Independent Budget Office.
Enrollment in NYC schools fell to just over 1 million students by the 2021-22 academic year – a decline of 87,000 students over the past two years, the DOE confirmed. That loss in students translated to a yearly loss of roughly $1.1 billion in state and federal funding for the DOE, based on the IBO estimates.
The 1,500 new students are expected to bring the nation’s largest school district $19.1 million in revenue, a figure likely to rise as the Adams administration welcomes more migrants, immigrants, and war refugees to the Big Apple, a so-called sanctuary city.
Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-Staten Island) said he opposes “illegal immigration” but called the city taking in migrants “an interesting way to get some state and federal per-capita funding for some of our under-enrolled schools.”
“I suppose if there’s a silver lining to the Biden migrant crisis, it’s this,” he said.
But Leonie Haimson, director of the advocacy group Class Size Matters, said whatever new funds the city gets will not be enough to cover the migrants’ tremendous needs.
“The DOE will have to spend more than they would otherwise get just from increased enrollment,” Haimson said.
“These students will need additional services – including language instruction, and social workers to help with housing and food insecurity. Many of them are likely to have suffered interrupted education as well.”
In a four-page memo sent to principals on Aug. 18, the DOE described the migrants as largely two-parent households with multiple children, almost all Spanish-speaking, and many now living in homeless shelters.
“The families and children arriving have undergone unknown levels of trauma to make this incredible journey to a city that for many represents hope, opportunity, and a chance to make a new life,” Chancellor David Banks wrote.
Migrant parents temporarily housed by the city at the Skyline Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen told The Post the DOE set up an office there to smooth the process of getting their children enrolled in school. The office has provided kids with backpacks, other school supplies, MetroCards, and bus schedules, they added.
“[Getting them into school] was very easy,” said Escarle Simancas, a Venezuelan-born migrant after enrolling her two boys. “They helped us with everything inside.”
Another mother who recently arrived with her family from Venezuela said her son Andres will attend PS 5 in the Bronx, where he was placed in a dual-language program, taking classes one day in English and the next in Spanish.
“He learns really quickly; he’s really smart,” the mom said.