Colorado spends $7 million educating migrants but can’t ask about legal status
By Arthur Kane / April 13, 2016 / ColoradoWatchdog.org
Colorado spends about $7 million a year tracking and supporting the education of the children of migrant workers, but federal law prohibits the state from determining whether the families who receive the services are in the country legally.
And while the tax money is federal dollars, some of the state’s spending raises eyebrows, including nearly $20,000 Colorado spent for parents of migrant children to attend a conference at a Breckenridge resort.
“I’m concerned about any tax dollars no matter where it comes from,” said state Rep. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican who sits on House Education Committee and queried the Colorado Department of Education about the program.
Before Watchdog.org contacted Lundeen for this story, he had posed questions to the Education Department to determine how much money was spent on the program and whether the tax funds were used for undocumented workers’ families.
He received a reply last week, describing the nearly $7 million federal grant and citing federal law that prohibits discriminating in education based on race and ethnicity.
State officials point out that nearly all the states participate in the migrant education program, and the federal government provided more than $364 million in grants to 47 states last year.
Connecticut, Rhode Island and West Virignia are the only three states that didn’t receive federal grants last year.
Connecticut Education Department spokeswoman Abbe Smith didn’t know why the state declined the federal dollars.
“Connecticut does not participate in Migrant Education Program,” she wrote in an email exchange with Watchdog.org. “From what I can gather, Connecticut has not participated since 2007 and the decision was made under a previous administration.”… read more here
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