AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

Illegal Aliens and Public Education

Without question, the education of our children is an absolute imperative, and federal law requires the public school education of all children from kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of residence or legal presence in this country. So, there is no question as to whether we will or will not provide education for children of illegal aliens, we will, like it or not.

However, maybe I’m odd, but I’m not “rich” and I like to know what I pay for things…whether I can do without it or not. For example, I can’t do without groceries, but when I go to the store to buy, I know how much I pay for potatoes, milk, peas, hamburger and steak. Then, if I decide to pick up a six-pack of beer on top of all that, I know how much that will cost me. I might ask myself if I can afford it or not? Then, deciding yes, after I check-out, I know the total cost, the cost of each item and I even know how much tax I had to pay on my purchases. Similarly, I am curious as to how many tax dollars are spent educating those who are in this country illegally…not that I can do anything about it, I can’t, but just as I like to know how much I pay for potatoes, I like knowing how my tax dollars are spent, and in particular, I’d like to know what I’m paying to educate those who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

It has been estimated that nationally, $12 Billion is spent each year on primary and secondary education of children who are in this country illegally, and another $17 Billion is spent educating “anchor babies,” American-born children of illegal aliens.
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, The Debate Over Immigration & Border Security Continues, Aired April 1, 2006 – 18:00 ET.

Well, being the curious one that I am, I thought I’d go to the Prince William Schools website (Prince William County Approved School Board Budget Fiscal Year 2009 ) to see how much of OUR tax dollars support education of illegal alien children and those children born in this country of illegal aliens. Now, before you try this, let me warn you, it’s not something to be done while waiting for your wife to finish putting on her make-up.

This 426 page document doesn’t read exactly like a novel, and in addition to documenting the outstanding accomplishments of the school system and its teachers and staff, it outlines every credit and expenditure in the approved budget. Just to give you an idea of the detail, it includes the big-ticket items such as the Superintendent’s salary ($248,865) and the salary of ten associate superintendents ($1,515,600 ) — let’s see, if my math is correct, that’s an average of $151,560 per. It goes on to give a great deal of clarity into education finances, for example the Executive Administration department has budgeted $8,739 for printing services during FY2008 – FY2009. During this same time frame, the Communications Services Department has budgeted $500 for rental equipment. So, suffice it to say, if you want to know what our school system pays for something, you’ll find it there!

Well, at least that’s what I thought, but when it comes to my original question, “How much do we pay for the education of illegal alien children,” I couldn’t find it. OK, well, that’s a sizable expenditure, I’m sure, and in all those 426 pages, I must have just missed it, so I asked my school board representative. In short order, my request for information was forwarded to the Superintendent, who forwarded it to the Assistant Superintendent, who forwarded it to one of the Associate Supervisors for a response. Well, I recognize that this is a very busy time of the year for the school system, so I was patient and finally received a response concerning the question of how many illegal alien children, or children of illegal alien parents attend PWC schools.

The long and the short of it is, they don’t know. From the Director for the Office of Student Services, Prince William County Public Schools, here’s the response I received:

“School Division staff does not ask students or parents about their citizenship or visa status. The Virginia Department of Education provided specific information regarding such inquiries in Superintendent’s Memo No. 140 dated July 27, 2007. This information indicates that “Pursuant to a decision by the United States Supreme< Court, school divisions are not permitted to inquire into a prospective student’s citizenship or visa status in order to enroll the student. School divisionsare required to accept students who meet residency requirements under * 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and may not deny free public education to undocumented school-age children who reside within their jurisdiction because they do not hold valid United States citizenship or a student visa.” Therefore, if parents provide school staff with appropriate documentation (per Regulation 346-1, Tuition) proving residency in PWC, their students are enrolled in school.”

Well now, doesn’t that seem a bit odd — we know what the school system pays for printing services, athletics, and the music department…and we know how many children are categorized as having learning disabilities, but we’re not allowed to know how many students being educated at taxpayer expense are in this country illegally.

So, I guess that until we can get the Supreme Court “fixed” or the Virginia Department of Education “fixed” — and that’s not likely to happen soon — I’ll just have to be content with knowing what I pay for those things that they want me to know about. Oh well, what comes next, an “international flag” over our state house?

Si Senor….

September 7, 2008 8:03 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 8 Comments