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Scranton, PA school district struggling under weight of needy immigrant students, working poor

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 9, 2017

The next time you see one of those head-scratching claims that assert that bringing more third world poverty to a dying city will revitalize it, think about this news from Scranton.  (Pennsylvania is usually one of the top ten states ‘welcoming’ refugees.)

And, instead of leaving this admonition to the end where you might miss it, here is what you need to do.  (See my post on focusing on local and state action where one of the targets of your political action should be mayors!)

First, try to get your paper to do a study like this one about your local education department, the place where a negative impact on your community usually shows up first.  It is really unusual to see an analysis like this one.  If the paper won’t do it—you should do it!

Then of course use the information to ‘educate’ your elected officials.

Here is the Times-Tribune:

Scranton classrooms seat more students today than they have in at least 25 years. With 10,222 students enrolled as of last week, the district is also experiencing:

Low-income enrollment of 82.5 percent. The number is the highest in the region and up from 60 percent in 2010.

Mayor of Scranton

Democrat Mayor Bill Courtright: we welcome everyone (who will become Democrat voters!) to Scranton even as we go deeper into debt and might have our school system taken over by the state. (He didn’t really say that last part!)

A record-high population of students requiring special education services. As of last week, nearly 23 percent of children are classified as special education students — up from 19 percent just three years ago.

A record-high enrollment of 902 students requiring English as a second language services, now called English learners, or EL. That number could climb to 1,000, or about 10 percent of the population, by the end of the year.

The growth creates unique issues, such as staffing and resources, as the district faces a deficit expected to reach $40 million by the end of the year.

“As a public school district, we are required to serve all our students, and to provide a quality education for all,” said Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D.


District demographics mirror the city’s population. Scranton’s population has increased 1.5 percent from 2010, to 77,291, according to U.S. Census estimates released earlier this year.

The district now must educate more students as it faces growing financial problems. The state put the district on “financial watch” status in June, the first in a series of steps that could eventually lead to a takeover by a state receiver.


As enrollment increases, so do the number of students who speak a language other than English. Scranton students speak 36 different languages, and as of last week, 902 students received English support, or about 9 percent of the total population.

Some of those students escaped from war-torn countries, as their families sought a better life in the United States. Through the refugee resettlement program of Catholic Social Services, 140 refugee children were students in the Scranton School District during the 2016-17 school year. Students include former residents of Syria, Bhutan/Nepal, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many lived in refugee camps, without access to education.


Over the last six years, low-income enrollment in the district has increased by 37 percent. According to data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education last week, 82.5 percent of students in the district live in low-income households, meaning the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

For a family of four, students qualify for reduced-price meals when the annual family income is below $45,510. The students receive free meals when the annual income is below $31,980. Last year, Scranton became part of a federal program for school districts with high poverty levels, which allows all students, regardless of family income, to eat breakfast and lunch at school for free.

As poverty increases, area social service agencies see more families seeking services.

At United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, people come in looking for assistance with rent, utilities and other necessities, said Michael Hanley, the organization’s chief executive officer. Many of the jobs available in the area do not offer a wage able to support a family, he said.  [But, they keep pouring in refugees anyway!—ed]

“More and more of the people we see are the working poor,” he said. “They just can’t make it paycheck to paycheck.”


Languages spoken in the Scranton School District

Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Chinese, Creole, Danish, Dari, English, Farsi, Filipino, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Kannada, Kinyarwanda, Lao, Mandarin Chinese, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Rohingya, Russian, Serbian, Slovak-Polish, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese.

This post is filed in my What you can do’ category.

13 Responses to “Scranton, PA school district struggling under weight of needy immigrant students, working poor”

  1. How about just sending all refugee and illegal students home. Inform the govt. you cannot afford to have them attend your schools. Let the people responsible for bringing them into the US provide the money to educate them. Oh, I forgot, Obama is no longer in office. He is a multi-millionaire and can afford to contribute to their well-being.


  2. But if you did that it would slow down the Islamic Colonisation of the planet. No, no, no – that would never do. It’s as bad as asking Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait,or other rich Arab/Islamic/Muslim Stars to take in their own sister and brother ‘believers’. They are just not interested in taking them in. Their intention is to seed the West with Muslims – and let the west bear the cost of these human chess pieces.


  3. Will Ford said

    Why not send them back and tell the BLEEDING hearts to STFU.


  4. The United State is probably the only country in the world that will not only take in people who will obviously become a huge burden on our society, but who will literally fly them in here at our expense. Our politicians have decided for us that diversity is more important than the welfare and safety of our own people.


  5. But you know WHAT ???? Nobody in Pennsylvania helped any of MY immigrant ancestors back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when all of the coal miners were from Slovakia and Poland and lived in squalor and poverty and went to their deaths young due to inhaling coal dust !!!!! And they left behind wives and children with no means of support other than taking in laundry and cleaning other people’s houses.


  6. TwoLaine said

    What would you add to or subtract from this list?

    President Trump Sends Letter To Congress Outlining Immigration Principles and Policies…
    8 Oct 2017
    by sundance


    • Ann Corcoran said

      I will have to look at it, just haven’t had time. I gather there is a tiny mention of refugees… will check it out. Trump had a great opportunity in late September to really make a difference with the refugee program and he flubbed it…


  7. Judy K. Warner said

    Here’s an idea: The article says “Students include former residents of Syria, Bhutan/Nepal, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many lived in refugee camps, without access to education.” Why doesn’t the UN provide teachers in the refugee camps? They could get people who speak the same language as the children; that would make learning much easier for them. Better yet, why don’t big foundations like those of the Clintons and Gateses take that on as a project? And the billionaires like George Soros, who can’t possibly spend all their money disrupting the world, do a little real charity that would make a difference. Let the groups and people overflowing with money use it instead of burdening citizens of small cities and harming the education of their own children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • None of them care about the “refugees” or the communities that get burdened with them. Soros hates the USA and wants to destroy it. Filling our schools with illiterates takes away from US children and the result is no one gets a decent education. Teachers in refugee camps is a great idea but it doesn’t fit in with their plans to turn the USA into a 3rd world country.


    • krew09 said

      well that would make things better…The idea is to destroy your country through mass non-white immigration…Jewry at the helm….Meanwhile the very same people in Israel call refugees “CANCER”..”INFILTRATORS”..sterilize them them,imprison them,then deport them…


      • Krewog: While I agree that the idea “is to destroy your country” or my country, don’t buy into Leftist Anti-Semitism and blame it all on the Jews. There are Liberal Leftist Jews and there are Conservative Jews and it certainly is NOT the Conservative Jews who are leading the effort in the Islamification of the Western World .


    • Good idea, Judy. Since the UN is always harping on and on about human rights and education, let THEM educated these people !


  8. Nothing ever good ever came out of Scranton let alone Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has, for the past 40 years, become a communist stronghold, and Scranton (like Philadelphia) is paving the way for the destruction of the state. Unfortunately, the Republican strongholds in the middle of the state (State College, PA for example) are not much better. The “Republicans” there have become embroiled in their sex scandals over the past 46 years, and find themselves only interested in what profits they can take in as a result of Penn State University and their tourism trade. So, that pretty much leaves Pennsylvania wide open to take over by the communists and their musloid hordes.


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