State will likely see influx of students relocating from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria

Photo credit: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images

HARTFORD – As the world watches the devastation Hurricane Maria left behind in Puerto Rico, Connecticut school districts are preparing for a ripple effect.

With towns across the state already worried about funding, districts will likely need to serve more students relocating from the hard-hit U.S. territory.

“I believe that we will see an influx of students,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday, “I think Massachusetts will, I think New York will, I think New Jersey will, I think Pennsylvania will; I said that to leaders last week.”

“There’s no way that we’re not going to see an influx of students and I think we’ll have to figure out how to resolve those issues,” Malloy told reporters during a briefing that was mainly focused on the state budget.

“Those communities that have large Puerto Rican populations, I think are already taking that into consideration,” Malloy said.

When asked if the budget could address that extra need, the Governor said, “there’s no way to resolve an issue you don’t know the size of.”

According to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Connecticut is sixth in the nation for states with the largest number of Puerto Rican residents.

There are an estimated 300,000 people in Connecticut who are of Puerto Rican descent. About 8.4 percent of the state’s population is of Puerto Rican descent, that is also the highest percentage in the United States.