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We enrolled 72 yesterday, she said. Some arrive alone. Each new student costs the district roughly $ 28,000 – an unbudgeted expense of more than $ 70 million, say school officials. It's like adding two elementary schools to our population that we were unable to plan for and project, Pace said. Osceola County is waiting on answers for state and national funding. Even before the storm, Puerto Ricans were fleeing a debt-ridden economy – at the pace of 80,000 a year from an island whose population is just 3.5 million. But now that flight has turned desperate. Half a million Puerto Ricans are expected to come to Florida in the next four years to join the one million already in the state. Mirbelys LaJara and Mirbelys LaJara two daughters are Hurricane Maria victims from Puerto Rico. My children don't have school, don't have work, I don't have nothing, Mirbelys LaJara said. The exodus from Hurricane Maria has added to what already has been in influx of Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area of central Central Florida and students in Orange County district in recent years. And more are expected from the ravaged island, where widespread power outages are continuing and many still lack running water. Here students at Riverdale Elementary School, in Orlando, Central Florida receive supplies. ( Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.) Eight weeks after the hurricane, much of Puerto Rico remains without power, internet or phone service. Many also lack running water. Stephen Vazquez grew specialty hot peppers and cilantro. I'm kind of stuck in the air, you know, i produce hydroponically as well so without light, water issues, I can't even really produce. A farmer without light or water who has come to Orlando with two pairs of pants and a shirt. Starting from zero.
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