WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – West Springfield‘s Mayor discussed the city’s refugee population today with officials from Washington D.C.
West Springfield Mayor Edward Sullivan took U.S. State Department officials on a tour to see what is being done for the refugee children attending public schools. Sullivan said west side is at its limit.
“West Springfield Certainly does receive their fair share when compared to some of the other communities, and again we’re not adverse to that we just want to make sure we can handle what comes into West Springfield.”
Currently there are about 335 refugee children receiving an education from Public Schools in West Springfield, but the Mayor says that education comes at a cost for taxpayers.
State Department officials said refugees ultimately contribute to society.
Shawn Maung is from Myanmar. At 2-years-old his parents moved to Thailand and they lived in a refugee camp for about 13 years before coming to the U.S. and entering the West Springfield public school system.
“Education is everything to me. My whole family lack education. My mom, my dad, my sister no one knows how to speak English and they cannot read or write. I’m the only one in my family who can read or write so it’s a lot to me,” Maung said.
There was no estimate given as to how many refugees could be expected in the future for West Springfield.
The Mayor also discussed translation issues as new groups come every year. Right now they have 34 different languages spoken in the school district