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Missoula Schools Not Planning on Hiring More Personnel For Refugees

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Hellgate High School

In March, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced that it was planning on reopening an office in Missoula County. Since then, many have wondered what the impact of Syrian refugees will be on local facilities, particularly on the school system. Missoula County Public School District 1 Superintendent Mark Thane says the school district has not been directly involved in the planning.

“We have not been formally involved, but we have actually met with some representatives from the IRC because they had questions about what the potential impacts would be on the school system and what our response would be. My basic response would be that we will serve all students that come to our doors and legitimately register.”

Thane says that the school system is not planning on needing to add staff to facilitate refugee students. Furthermore, he says most will probably not even by from Syria.

“It’s possible we could have 50 or so kids,” Thane said. “My understanding from the IRC that although the popular media reputation is that most of the refugees being resettled would be Syrian, that is not actually accurate, and thatmost actually come from african nations many of whome are engaged in civil war.

Thane believes the local school system is well equipped to deal with foreign language speakers as it already accommodates a large number of foreign students whose parents either work at or attend the University of Montana.

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