More Poor Children Filling Amarillo Classrooms

Kids from low income families are filling more seats in Amarillo classrooms.  According to the Texas Education Agency, nearly 60% of all kids in AISD are considered economically disadvantaged.    School officials say that figure is rising in and outside Amarillo, and that AISD is above the state average for student poverty rates.   A TEA spokeswoman says kids coming into our area are bringing greater needs to meet.  "Some of that has to do with the increase in the hispanic population. Those students are considered at risk and often times qualify for economically disadvantaged," says Suzanne Marchman.  Marchman says many of those kids have limited English skills which require language instructors and special education teachers.   The Amarillo district takes home extra money for both that and to feed low income kids breakfast and lunch.  But Marchman says that does not mean local taxpayers are forking over more money.   She says federal dollars go toward those meals while the state redistributes funds from wealthier districts to meet other needs of low-income kids.