Arizona superintendent requests $1M to teach undocumented kids

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 25, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: They're flooding in, and schools are tapped out.

Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal now asking the federal government for more than $1 million to cover the cost of teaching illegal immigrant children.

To Mr. Huppenthal now.

Sir, welcome to the program.

How many of these youngsters are you have -- do you have to take care of in Arizona?

JOHN HUPPENTHAL, ARIZONA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: Stuart, we have had over 200 of these students that we can directly account for, and part of the reason we're raising this issue right now is our frustration with the Obama administration's failure to be transparent.

We have 200 that we can identify, but more likely the number is 5,000, which would be $25 million, not $1 million. So those are our concerns.


VARNEY: How could it be so different, sir? I mean, 200 that you know about, but you think it might be 5,000? There's an enormous difference between those two numbers.

HUPPENTHAL: Well, we know directly that we -- that they processed 5,000 students through our Nogales processing center.

And then when we look at the numbers for all the states, our best estimate is that it was roughly 5,000 unaccompanied minors who came across, largely teenagers, that are going to enter our schools and impose costs on our classrooms.

VARNEY: What do they need? What do these youngsters need?

HUPPENTHAL: Well, what these youngsters need is, they need a great education.

And we have that constitutional responsibility. But we have a larger concern about the Obama administration's failure to secure the border. And we have faced a tidal wave of this and these costs on our schools in Arizona, and we're really concerned about the impending grant of executive amnesty for illegal immigrants that could set off tens of millions of dollars, perhaps even hundreds of millions of dollars of costs on our schools.

VARNEY: My numbers show me that you spend roughly $5,000 per student per year in Arizona at the younger grade level. Is that accurate, $5,000 a child?

HUPPENTHAL: Yes. That's $5,000 at the state level. There would be another $4,000 of local and federal costs for these students to total out at about $9,000.


VARNEY: Have you gotten any indication from the Obama administration they are, indeed, willing to pay this money?

HUPPENTHAL: Well, we have a great track record of negotiating against the Obama administration's liberal education agenda.

We have done enforcement action for -- against illegal immigrants crossing the border and attending our schools at taxpayer expense, recovering over $1 million for Arizona taxpayers. We have done a major court case against an indoctrination program at our TUSD school district, where they were indoctrinating students to resent America.

We won that case in state court and we won it in federal court. And we really defeated the Obama administration on the waiver, which did a huge pushback on federal regulations, securing perhaps the best waiver of any state in the nation. So, we...


VARNEY: And they're coming to you. You will find out next week. When it's all back to school, you will find out how many extra youngsters you have got to educate? Next week, you find out?

HUPPENTHAL: Well -- well, we will start to get an indication.

And our other concern is, this is our constitutional obligation to educate these students. We want to -- we want to meet that obligation, but we can't find from the federal government what -- where those students are, the number of those students, and what kind of needs they have ranging from health through education.

And we know that we're going to put them in our English language learner program. Now, that's another program in which we had to defeat the federal government.


HUPPENTHAL: We have in Arizona the requirement that every student learn to read, speak and write English, and we have been able to keep that in place.

VARNEY: All right, John Huppenthal, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, thank you, John.

HUPPENTHAL: Thank you, Stuart.

VARNEY: Appreciate it. All right.

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