The Maryvale School District is accepting 66 school-age asylum seekers

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WIVB) – Back-to-school season is upon us and local schools are preparing to enroll new students. That includes the Maryvale School District, which is expecting dozens of school-age asylum seekers.

The Maryvale District is preparing to enroll an additional 66 students in the district this school year, but significant hurdles remain, including ensuring that there are enough English as a New Language (ENL) teachers.

“Our top priority is not just taxpayers, but the district’s teachers and students … whoever those students are,” said James McDermott, president of the Maryvale Board of Education.

The district enrolls about 2,000 students per year and is budgeted accordingly. McDermott says there has been a lack of communication from New York State, the City of New York and other leaders, which is frustrating.

“It just delays our decision-making about how we’re going to move forward,” McDermott said. “These aren’t the only students that are in the Erie County area. There are more than 66 students, but 66 students fall within the Maryvale School District.”

Federal law requires the district to provide an education for all school-age children within the district boundaries. Student enrollment requirements include county residency and up-to-date immunizations.

“We are waiting to enroll them. You are not yet officially enrolled in our district. I know the Erie County Department of Health has been administering immunizations,” added Superintendent Joseph D’Angelo.

The County of Maryvale states that the budget for this school year has already been finalized and approved and therefore needs to cover the cost of these additional students. The district provides free breakfast and lunch to all students as part of a federal program. New bus routes may also need to be created to accommodate students. City officials are hoping for additional government funding to provide more ENL services.

“My understanding is that English skills are very limited for many of them, so you have to find people who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish. Whatever language their first language is, we need someone to work with them on it,” Cheektowaga City Councilman Brian Nowak told News 4.

Superintendent D’Angelo makes sure the district provides an education for all students no matter what.

“Our concern is to care for these children, bearing in mind that the children did not ask to be placed in this position. I want to make sure we offer them stability and the best possible education, and I leave the political aspect to the politicians,” D’Angelo said.

We’re told there may be other school-age children in other counties in western New York, but it’s unclear where they will be enrolled. News 4 has reached out to Buffalo Public Schools and the Cheektowaga-Sloan Unified School District and has received no response.

Latest news

Tara Lynch, originally from Buffalo, joined the News 4 team in 2022 as a reporter. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, NY, a News 4 sister station. You can follow Tara on Facebook And Twitter and find more of her work here.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button