The influx of unaccompanied immigrant children "will put an added financial burden on our local school districts, our education resources and ultimately Arizona taxpayers," said John Huppenthal, the state's superintendent of public instruction.
Huppenthal wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, asking for additional funds to pay for the "added educational expenses of those school-aged illegal immigrants being re-located to Arizona."
Huppenthal, who is running for the Republican nomination to be re-elected as schools chief, held a press conference in Phoenix Wednesday to make the announcement.
From October of last year to June 30, there were 57,525 unaccompanied minors apprehended trying to cross into the U.S. illegally through the Southwest border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
More than 5,400 of them were process at the Nogales Placement Center warehouse for days, but it is unknown how many of them remained in Arizona after they were released to the custody of the U.S. Health and Human Services.
HHS’ Office or Refugee Resettlement places the children in temporary shelters as it tries to reunite them with family members in the U.S.
From January to July 7, the Office of Refugee Resettlement released 186 children to relatives or sponsors in Arizona.
Huppenthal said if those children attend public schools in Arizona, it would cost the state $5,082 per student.
Hundreds more remain in shelters, such as the one in Tucson, where children have started classes taught by visiting teachers inside the shelter.
The Arizona Department of Education is not involved in those teaching efforts.