Parents Angry After Murray School District Cancels Portuguese Immersion Program

(KCPW News) Dozens of Murray School District families who enrolled their children in a Portuguese dual immersion program are now being told it’s not going to happen. Just weeks before the beginning of the new school year, the district sent an email to parents saying the first year program is a bust due to difficulty finding a teacher. But as KCPW’s Jessica Gail reports, parents want to know why they weren’t notified sooner.

  1. Wagner Oliveira

    I am one of the parents affected by this problem and these are my concerns:

    We did not ask for the Portuguese Dual Immersion Program, the Murray School District offered the program. Approximately a month ago they contacted the parents confirming the program enrollment. They cancelled the program on Monday, August 06th, two weeks prior to the program starting.

    The district claims that only one teacher applied for the position, but that is not entirely true, other people applied and emailed the district as well. The district was unwilling to work with teachers with alternative certifications, saying they did not have enough qualifications to be teachers. It makes me wonder is this a general rule for their district? I wonder if they have teachers within the Murray District with alternate certifications currently teaching? Or was this rule just for the Portuguese Program?

    The district also claims that “the teacher did not secure her work visa” when in reality the first phase of the visa was granted and the second phase of the visa was going to be expedited by the office of Senator Orrin Hatch, to arrive just in time for the beginning of the school year, THE VISA WAS NEVER DENIED. At the last minute the district decided to not pursue the second phase of the visa for the teacher. The teacher spent $3,000 out of her own pocket for the first phase of the visa. I was told by Mr. Hirase that because the visa was not entirely guaranteed to be granted they canceled the program. Well, since when did the United States of America started guaranteeing granting a work visa before reviewing and verifying the legitimacy of the applicant’s information and the employer?

    Mr. Hirase said he reached out to the Portuguese Community to receive support for the program. Yet none of the parents received an email or a call explaining they were having difficulties in finding a teacher and that the program was jeopardized.

    Also Mr. Hirase reason to add the Portuguese program was because there were people asking for another Spanish dual immersion in his district and the district DID NOT WANT ANOTHER SPANISH program… As a parent these are my feelings the Murray School District did not want any Dual Immersion Program in their school from the beginning, so they selected Portuguese with the hopes of it not being as popular as Spanish… They selected a teacher who would require a visa, they procrastinated the application of the visa and finally did not go through with their part of the visa application with the excuse that the visa was not going to arrive on time for the start of the school year… And reached their goal of cancelling the entire Portuguese Program… This is my opinion of what happened…

    I just want to thank the KCPW to make our voices heard.