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Lisbon district backs Owens’s bill for international students to stay longer

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

The congressman’s efforts come as the Lisbon Central School District moves forward with a plan to open to international students.

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

But the school is able to offer international students only one year of study. If it were a private institution, it would be able to keep students in the district longer, according to a statement from Mr. Owens.

Mr. Owens’s bill would give districts such as Lisbon the same ability private schools already have.

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

In a statement, Mr. Owens said, “This bill levels the playing field to ensure that our public schools can compete fairly with private and parochial schools for foreign exchange students.”

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

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

She added that by the time international students have to leave when their one-year stay is up, they 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 introduced his bill Friday.

Lisbon is accepting applications from international students looking to study at the district for one year. The program is geared for students who want to attend college in the United States.

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

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