UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — The public school system in Maryland’s Prince George’s County has agreed to pay $4 million to reimburse more than 1,000 foreign teachers it hired and required to pay fees the school system should have handled.
The teachers, the vast majority from the Philippines, were hired under a visa program for foreign workers. An investigation by the Department of Labor found the teachers were illegally required to pay fees that should have been covered by the school system.
The department announced the agreement with the school system Thursday. It said that the school system will also pay $100,000 in penalties and be barred for two years from hiring more foreign teachers. The school system, Maryland’s second largest, said in a statement it was sorry not to be able to continue to hire foreign workers and it was “not the outcome we had hoped for.”
“This decision is in the best interest of our school district,” the statement said. “Now it is time for us to move forward and continue to place highly effective teachers in every classroom in order to provide our students with the necessary
skills they need to be successful.”
The number of Filipino teachers working in Prince George’s County has grown enormously in the past several years as officials looked outside the United States to fill positions.
The Department of Labor previously said that the affected teachers were hired between 2005 and 2010 under the H-1B temporary foreign worker visa program. Teachers paid various fees including filing fees for their visas of between $190 and $320 as well as immigration attorney fees of approximately $1,000 and placement fees of $3,500. Approximately 700 teachers paid a $500 anti-fraud filing fee.
In all, the Prince George’s County school system employs roughly 9,000 teachers overseeing 130,000 students, according to its website.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)