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Lisbon Central School international student program on hold until 2014

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LISBON — Plans to bring international students to Lisbon Central School have been put on hold for a year as the district attempts to generate interest in the program.

“We have everything in place to accept international students,” Superintendent Erin E. Woods said. “It really is dependent on international student interest.”

The program was proposed last year as a way to give international students a taste of the north country while helping the district’s bottom line.

Students would be charged $10,000 in tuition with $5,000 in room and board on top of that.

“We were hopeful that we’d get at least a couple, but it didn’t turn out that way,” Ms. Woods said. “A lot of students are interested in more city schools, more urban areas.”

Lisbon Board of Education President Blake P. Gendebien said the district expects to start small but would be interested in accepting anywhere from two to five students in the first year of the program’s operation.

At this point the district is looking for seniors in high school for the program, and students would be housed with community members who volunteer their homes.

“We’re waiting for students to show an interest and at that point in time we would open up the parent committee again to search for some host families,” Mr. Gendebien said.

Because no international students have been identified so far, Mr. Gendebien said, the district now hopes to begin in the fall of 2014.

The district is working with Quest International, a nonprofit group that places international students, to attract interest. Students also can apply directly with the district.

However, while the district has yet to get the program off the ground, Ms. Woods said it has given one family from China a tour of its facilities earlier this month.

“We do hope that there will be some interest for the following year,” Ms. Woods said.

More information about the district’s program can be found at http://wdt.me/Wd5C5R.

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