Proposal to Count Illegal Immigrant Students Fails

Frederick (Maryland) News-Post, May 21, 2008

County Commissioner John L. Thompson’s proposal to count the number of local students who may be in the U.S. illegally is dead.

A straw poll of the five commissioners Tuesday determined there was not enough support to pass the measure.

Thompson’s proposal would have allowed the commissioners to withhold part of the Frederick County [Maryland] Board of Education’s fiscal 2009 operating budget until a count was taken of public school students whose citizenship status could not be determined.

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Counting the students who cannot be confirmed as citizens would support commissioners’ requests for more money from the state legislature, Thompson said.

However, the other three commissioners and some school board members worry doing so would create fear among parents who are in the U.S. illegally, prompting them to remove their children from Frederick County Public Schools.

“I think it really misleads the public,” Commissioners President Jan Gardner said. “I’m concerned if we go too far on this pass, we’ll lose federal funding for education.”

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Superintendent Linda Burgee said because the school system does not collect that information, results from a such a count would be flawed.

School board members said they are not legally permitted to ask about a students citizenship status.

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