As Florida communities prepare to take in Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria, five lawmakers are asking the state’s top education official to grant flexibility to public schools so they can accommodate additional students in the coming months.
In a letter to state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart on Monday, the lawmakers formally asked the state to ensure schools receive additional funding that will be crucial to cover the uptick in student enrollment that wasn’t anticipated when the Legislature approved this year’s school spending in June.
They also want Stewart to give schools a break when it comes to certain required enrollment paperwork and constitutionally mandated caps on class sizes.
“It is extremely important for Florida to be prepared for a large number of evacuees from Puerto Rico,” Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, said in a statement. “So many Puerto Rican families have literally lost everything, and we must stand ready to do everything possible to help their children transition as seamlessly as possible to a new school and learning environment.”