A local school board in the Hampton Bays area of Long Island, is seeking compensation for providing education to the children of illegal immigrants who greatly populate the area.
According to a notice of claim filed last week, over $10 million is being sought by the Hampton Bays Union Free School District from Southampton Town, to cover the cost of teaching the children whose families live in the area’s transient hotels, which are not even meant to be year-round residences.
The filing in Suffolk County court claims that these properties have done “damage to the Hampton Bays Union Free School District (and consequently, its taxpayers) in unrecovered pupil costs of over $10,682,923 expended to provide services to the students.”
While court documents do not specify the exact number of students enrolled in school, who live in the hotels, it does estimate the costs for their education since 2013 at $10.6 million.
Local officials are also accused in the notice of “failure to enforce the Town’s Zoning Code by permitting long-term residential use of transient hotels or motels.”
The district says that as a result of this failure, the local schools have burdened with additional students and expenses.
On parent, whose child attends the local elementary school, told The Post, “There is only so much we can deal with in such a small place. We’re asking for laws to be enforced. It’s that simple. We don’t want these people out on the street, but we also can’t continue like this.”
Jay Schneiderman, the Southampton Town Supervisor, said that the legal action taken by the schools is a shock.
He told The Post, “This took me by surprise because we are aggressively enforcing the code and doing far more than that.” Schneiderman added that a revitalization campaign for Hampton Bays has been initiated by him.
He said, “There is a feeling that things are out of control — but they’re going in the right direction.”
In recent years, according to Schneiderman, enrollment in local schools has declined while the value of properties has actually increased.
The Post reports, “A mostly working-class area for decades, Hampton Bays has in recent years seen an influx of illegal immigrants — many of whom labor for the affluent East End residents and businesses. Most of the hamlet’s hotels once served summer tourist crowds but many have struggled in recent years and property owners have instead rented rooms to local workers.”
By Hannah Hayes