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Oakland schools prepare for Central American students

Administrators at Oakland International High School are preparing for packed classrooms, in part due to a surge in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the Bay Area from Central America.
With registration just a day away, administrators at Oakland International High School are preparing for packed classrooms, in part due to a surge in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the Bay Area from Central America via Texas.

The school board will vote Wednesday night on whether to hire a full-time consultant to handle the needs of these undocumented children.

"Because Oakland has a sizable Central American community, they're leaving the detention centers in Texas and coming to Oakland," co-principal Carmelita Reyes said.

Reyes expects her school will admit perhaps the majority of the teenagers, mostly boys, arriving in the Bay Area to stay with family members or guardians.

"First off, we give them a bus pass. We teach them how to use it. We give them some school supplies. We explain free breakfast, free lunch and give them an advisor and say as you have problems navigating the school or the community, this is a person you can always go to," Reyes said.

To help, the district plans to hire a special consultant who will work with a unique population that's growing by the day.

"We have a moral imperative to educate these kids when they're here in the United States. Oakland also is a sanctuary city," Oakland Unified School District spokesperson Troy Flint said.

The consultant will be paid $45 an hour, an additional expense for a district that admittedly has ongoing issues with lack of funding and low performance in the classroom.

Federal law requires the young immigrants be educated as long as they are here and going through the legal process.
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