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Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary Says School Enrollment Is Down Eleven Percent … Mapp And Local Education Officials Won’t Say If Territory Has Suffered A Comparable Loss

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SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s education secretary says enrollment at the U.S. commonwealth’s public schools this year has dropped by 11 per cent so far compared with the previous year.

Julia Keleher said Thursday that some 317,000 students have enrolled for the new school year, roughly 40,000 less than those registered in May.

Classes are scheduled to start today and officials expect to have formal enrollment numbers later today.

Puerto Rico closed 167 schools over the summer as families continue to migrate to the U.S. mainland to flee a deepening economic crisis. Overall school enrolment has dropped 42 per cent in the past three decades.

Keleher also said she plans to serve as principal of three schools to implement new programs that she might extend to other schools.

V.I. Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum did not return repeated requests for comment on this story.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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