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Lisbon school supports Owens bill allowing international students’ extended stay

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LISBON – Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is pushing forward legislation enabling international students to stay at public high schools for more than one year.

The proposal comes as Lisbon Central School moves forward with a plan to accept international students on a tuition basis.

Lisbon Superintendent Erin E. Woods said she is not familiar with the legislation, but supports the idea of allowing international students to attend for more than one year.

At this point the school is looking to bring two to three students to the district next year, charging $10,000 for tuition and $5,000 for room and board. The school is only able to offer international students a one-year stint. Private schools are able to keep international students longer, Mr. Owens said in a news release. His bill would place public and private schools on equal footing in that regard.

“I think it would probably make [Lisbon] more inviting for international students,” said Ms. Woods, “especially international students who want to attend university in the United States.”

Ms. Woods said the program would be attractive for international students who want to get an American high school diploma.

“It would be much more beneficial for them and for our district,” Ms. Woods said.

Ms. Woods also said at the end of a one-year stay, foreign students are often just starting to get acclimated to the area and the district.

“It would be really nice, especially for those students who have a positive experience, for them to stay longer,” she said.

Mr. Owens’s bill, the “Strengthening America’s Public Schools Through Promoting Foreign Investment Act,” was introduced Friday in the House of Representatives.

Lisbon’s international student program is also just getting off the ground.

“We’re getting all our ducks in a row,” Ms. Woods said. “Later this spring we’ll be reviewing applications.”

The school is also looking for host families.

“We would prefer the host family to live in the district, to have children who are school aged, and we’ll definitely want them to open up their home to this student as an extension of their family,” Ms. Woods said.

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