Refugees place big burden on schools
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Weris Ali, a student in Katy Acosta’s Newcomers class, is a Somali immigrant, one of hundreds who attend District 6 schools in Weld County.
Acosta leads classes with children in grades one through five.
Jessica Cooney teaches immigrant students who speak dozens of different languages at West Greeley High.
A senior at Greeley West High School, Abdi is a Somali and, although she is thousands of miles from her homeland, she is far from alone. The 17-year-old is one of 434 refugee students who attend schools in the district. Her two sisters and a brother are among them, part of an immigrant population that includes thousands more students who speak dozens of different languages. More than a quarter of District 6 students are learning English as a second language.
Like Asha and her siblings, many are the children of parents drawn to Weld County by jobs at one of Northern Colorado's largest employers, JBS USA in Greeley.
Their swelling ranks have helped to create one of the more diverse student bodies in Colorado. But there's a high cost associated with educating these children, an expense that is fast becoming an unmanageable burden for District 6, leaving it with fewer dollars for other programs.
Teacher salaries and specialized training, even school supplies
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