Immigrant student numbers grow at Montello

LEWISTON — The number of immigrant students learning to speak English and who are behind their peers academically has grown this year at the Montello Elementary School.

That prompted the Lewiston School Committee on Monday to approve hiring  a sixth English language learner teacher at Montello and one English language learner ed tech.

Regular classes at McMahon, Martel and Farwell schools are growing and have created the need to hire three ed techs for each school, as recommended by Superintendent Leon Levesque.

In asking for more help to teach immigrant students, mostly Somalis, Levesque said Lewiston has "a number of new ELL students who have arrived at Montello who are at a level one, who need more intensive instructional assistance.”

A “level one” English language learner student means the student is two or more years below their English-proficient peers, explained director Sue Martin. To help those students improve, they need to be taught in groups of eight per English language learner teacher, she said.

“We're in a situation at Montello where every one of our ELL classes is full, and some students are still not being served,” Martin said, asking for the additional teacher.

School Committee member Sonia Taylor asked where students came from.

Martin said the students were unexpected and “new to the district.”

At Montello there are more English language learner students needing help compared to other elementary schools. At Montello there's a total of 258 English language learner students, with 119 of them at level one.

In other schools, Farwell has 20 English language learner students with three at level one; Geiger, 109 English language learner with 30 at level one; Martel, 15 English language learner students with three at level one; McMahon 82 English language learner students with 27 at level one. Longley has 177 English language learner students, but the number of level one students is not yet complete.

Overall, Lewiston's total English language learner elementary population is 661, up from 622 one year ago. The percentage of immigrant students at Montello is more than 20 percent.

When asked why so many English language learner students attend Montello, Levesque said students typically go to school in the neighborhood where they live. “That's where they live." The students “are new kids to us, new arrivals,” he said.

When asked if there's a concern about the quality of education for all Montello students, considering the number of students two years or more behind, Levesque said that's why more staff is being hired.

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 's picture

I think my point is that we

I think my point is that we can fix the welfare system, the Somalis could get jobs, speak english and assimulate like you say yet many of you will still be complaining for one reason or another how they are somehow ruining your way of life. And I will still have to hear people say racist crap about them when I am walking down the street and for some reason many people seem to think this is ok.
I'm a Franco-American and I know what my Grandparents and parents had to go through. And I know what other immigrant groups had to go through but this is no reason to think that each immigrant group that comes into this country has go through the same crap as if the USA is a frat and they all have to go through some Hazing ritual.
See they should assimulate but even the Franco-Americans had their Little Canada, many of them still speak french, many are still devote Catholics. America would be void of culture is we all lost the culture of our ancestors as soon as we cross the border into the USA. The only truly thing that is American is our freedom.
I thought we as Mainers & Americans were better then that.

 's picture


Susan2, are you sure they don't salute our flag? They are here in our country and they don't salute our flag? Evidence anyone? Is this true?

 's picture

ronh66? If you call someone else an idiot....

then you should at least use the correct words. When you say "Your an idiot" instead of "You're an idiot", it does in fact make YOU look like an idiot.

 's picture

Every immigrant group at

Every immigrant group at first sets up their own communities. There's French, Irish, Jewish and Asian neighborhoods in most large cities. The Somali culture is very different than ours so it is more obvious.
If we want to help we need to put a little more thought into who were are electing than we usually do. In each election we just rubber stamp the incumbents or a particular party. We need to put some thought into it.

 's picture

Know any?

Pages and pages of vitriolic rants, complaining about a social welfare system I'm convinced most people here know nothing about.

And for some reason it seems many here feel it's the Somali communities fault. Read through all of these horrid comments and you'll get the general notion that most people here truly want to blame some group — any group, for Maine's dire financial situation. And today it's Maine's Somali families turn to bear the brunt of all your ire.

But do any of you know any Somali families here in Maine? If you had, you might form different opinions than the ones I'm reading here today.

 's picture

This is MAINE??? Where did my state go?

Oh joy ................ I could PUKE!!!!

At least with our economy as it is, people are being more sane about where money goes and how much money there is to spread around.

Liberals have ruined this state and we have to stop their madness! Make the people bringing Refugees here or allow illegals to come here, PAY FOR THEM TOO!!! Why should we??? They OWE US not the other way around! I am a realist, the number don't work.
Disclaimer: I like LEGAL immigrants. I like people who go through the process, unlike Refugees and illegals.
Refugees & illegals do not salute our flag, like our country, have to learn our history and language BEFORE coming in THUS they are not gracious for us savings their lives with our PRECIOUS TAX MONEY and gifts. They think they are entitled to it!!!

We cannot save the world. Google "The Gumball Presentation" or get it on YouTube. Learn about what we are doing instead of continuing to do the same stupid things.

Stop The Madness

RONALD RIML's picture

Actually it was the White Man (and Woman) that ruined Maine.

That includes you, Susan2 - and don't you forget it.

Ron Hubbard's picture

I am so sick.....

I am so sick of hearing that excuse.....Their country is war torn because of them....So that gives them the right to travel state to state and suck the welfare system dry....No other country invaded somalia it is a civil war they are fighting amongst them selfs....If the US would stop getting involved in everyone elses problems and take care of our own problems maybe we could back back on our feet.....

RONALD RIML's picture

The same right that gave your ancestors a boat ride over...

The same right that gave your ancestors a boat ride over...

RONALD RIML's picture

So you suggest we teach all other subjects in Somali??

It's more cost-effective to teach the Somali's English. And also the Law.

Are you suggesting we break the law? Which other laws do you find 'Optional?' Spousal Abuse, perhaps?

Ron Hubbard's picture

If they can't speak english......

If they can't speak english then they don't go to school til they learn it.....Our kids have to have certain skills before they start school....why not them?????

RONALD RIML's picture

What 'skill' do our children have to have???

Those without a certain 'skill' or 'ability' may be considered 'disabled' and attend specialized classes; they are not excluded from 'school.'


"Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" —George W. Bush; Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

Ron Hubbard's picture

You know nothing!!!!!!

If a child of 5 yrs old is not at a certain level the parents have to wait til the child is 6 before starting school....That is why they attend preschool...So the somali kids should have to attend a english speaking program (PAID BY THE SOMALI COMMUNITY)before they are allowed to enter public schools......

RONALD RIML's picture

So 'Pre-school" isn't 'Schoo?l'

Like 'pre-ejaculate' isn't ejaculate....... ;)

I hope you don't teach birth control classes.........

Ron Hubbard's picture

Your an IDIOT

You should go to somalia and see how your treated there!!!!!

RONALD RIML's picture

Enlightened Self-Interest

Obviously there are a number of selfish folk here who fail to understand the concept of "Enlightened Self-Interest" as expressed by Adam Smith.

And this means what?

Those who 'act to further the good of others' (in this case our recent immigrants) will actually act to futher their own self-interests. Immigrants have almost always been integrated into our society as productive, useful members - except when we tend to kill or enslave them - then the process is somewhat painful and takes a bit longer.

We didn't do the best job of the world integrating the Native Americans once we were on top of the ladder, and we pretty well blew it on the African-Americans - though we're on the right track now. The French, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, have been fairly well assimilated now - and even though we legally excluded them for many years - the Chinese are doing one bang-up job. Indians and Pakastanis are admiinstering to us in many of our medical facilities - along with other races - and it certainly is obvious that old Adam Smith knew what the hell he was talking about.

Now exactly what kind of Commie Socialist was Adam Smith?

A Scotsman, he wrote "Wealth of Nations" back in 1776 - the foundation of modern 'Free Market' economic theory. From him, capitalism flowed.

RONALD RIML's picture

Nice "Making Stuff Up" - K0NPHL1C7 - But you can drop a dime...

I warn against throwing out the baby with the bath water. It could have been you before you learned to walk, talk, and take care of yourself.

You can alienate the hell out of these people so they go back where they came from, and help plot to terrorize us.

Let us know how you make out with the Welfare Fraud and Abuse you report. -->

Welfare Fraud
The Welfare Fraud Prosecutor within the Economic Crimes and Civil Rights Division of the Department of the Office of the Attorney General prosecutes criminal cases of fraud committed against any of the welfare programs administered by the Maine Department of Human Services (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF," formerly "AFDC"), Additional Support for People In Retraining and Employment ("ASPIRE"), Food Stamps, MaineCare, etc.).

The only exception is fraud committed against the MaineCare program by providers of services that are paid for by MaineCare. Fraud by MaineCare providers is prosecuted by the Healthcare Crimes Unit within this division. Anyone wishing to report the types of fraud prosecuted by the Welfare Fraud Prosecutor should call the Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services during normal business hours at 287-2409.

A caller reporting such fraud may decline to identify him or herself so as to remain anonymous, but that may hinder the effectiveness of the investigation.

RONALD RIML's picture

K0NPHL1C7 wants immigrants to accept 'Responsibility?" WTFO!!

K0NPHL1C7 - You're posting on here that the Immigrants are using and abusing the systems - and you lack the moral fiber and guts to even sign your work with your actual name!!! WTFO!!??

And you condemn other people for not taking responsibility for what they do!!! What a sniveling, wretched hypocrite to play that game!!

Grow a set and come out of your basement - and perhaps we'll take you seriously.

RONALD RIML's picture

So we know what your word is worth. ....

And that fools who don't sign their work still use the Internet.

RONALD RIML's picture

Real example you set....

And you pizz and moan about the immigrants. Then you get on here and throw any old words around without being responsible for them; great example you set for them. You obviously can't handle the heat as you're complaining about the kitchen.

Numerous folks have their names here and no one screws with them.

Quick, Duck!! It's your shadow!!

RONALD RIML's picture

You won't sign what you write - No personal responsibility.

Can't make it any clearer.

 's picture

Brian's posts...

kj, you might take your own advice and *read* Brian's posts and those to which he was responding.

You attribute a phrase to him--and condemn him for it--when he is just quoting another poster. He uses quotation marks--correctly--to indicate this usage. If you can read Reason's post (the one to which Brian is originally responding) and not see even a hint of racism, that is very telling, in my opinion.

 's picture


I've already responded to Brian regarding the "scumbag" comment. He used it in a response to me and I didn't realize I needed research his responses.
In any case, there is plenty of racism when it comes to the attutudes toward Somalis, but not everyone, or even most, that complain are racist. Conversely plenty of those that like to throw the term around, use it to shut off debate, or use it to justify their situation, are themselves racist. Every large immigrant population has gone through the same assimilation phases and race wasn't then, and shouldn't be, the issue.
To act like there isn't problem isn't addressing it and isn't validating that others may have legimate points.
For what it is worth. I don't care that the Somalis, or any other legal immigrant population, have come to our area. My gripe is with the system and the Federal Government for putting this in our lap and expecting everyone to think it is great.

Ron Hubbard's picture

They came here!!!!!!

They should have to pay for their kids to learn english...Not the taxpayers...And as far as them opening their own businesses....Where do you think the money came from for that????They did not earn it thats for sure.....It is time their free ride comes to an end...and if they can't make it in the work force then go home!!!!!!

RONALD RIML's picture

It's to YOUR interest they learn English and integrate.

So help them out. You selfish or something?

Ron Hubbard's picture

They get enough help!!!!!

They get way more help then they deserve....I would not help them at all except maybe get them plane tickets home....They are nothing but a burden on the state.....

RONALD RIML's picture

So how much do they get? And what do they deserve??

Fill in the blanks here so we know what you're talking about.

Ron Hubbard's picture

They get everything free....

They get their housing,food,car and anything else they need for nothing.....They deserve what they put in....and if that is nothing then they deserve NOTHING!!!!!

RONALD RIML's picture

Just as I thought.

No facts - only "Opinion." And like "A-Holes" Everyone has one. You tipped your hand.

Ron Hubbard's picture


And what facts do you have?????Everyone knows that a very limited amount of these people work...So where do they get their housing,food,cars ect.....Welfare is where they get it....

RONALD RIML's picture

You were the one who claimed you had knowledge.

The fact that I have is that you cannot back that up.

Ron Hubbard's picture

Just look....

Just look around the city...Anyone with any common sense can see whats goin on....

 's picture

it is very interesting when I

it is very interesting when I go shopping at walmart and see their baskets full of food and I am scrimping to save every penny with no extras. the burden of these people have fallen on us tax payers which causes resentment. Most of their attitude is that they deserve this for what they have been through. We have many down and out people right here in Lewiston Auburn that we should help first. Lewiston and Auburn have provided the best housing in the city. All the housing that they live in is mostly new. Time to take care of our own and stop paying taxes for Catholic Charities decisions. It never ends there are 10,000 more that are headed to the base at Brunswick that was closed. Brunswick will fix up all that housing and it will be for outsiders not our own. Remember to vote in Nov to see if some "change" will happen

 's picture

i dont understand

these people arent new to the US. most have come from a 10 year stint in atlanta. these children were born here in the US. why are they needing an english lesson? they were immagrants 20 years ago how long does it take to assimilate?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

They don't speak English

They don't speak English among themselves or at home.

 's picture

First, You state "There is

First, You state "There is something very wrong with a culture who will move bounce around too different host cities, staying only long enough to exhaust social service benefits before moving on to the next free meal." Yet I still see the group you complain about living here in Lewiston creating their own community and starting businesses.
Second, you state "At least the scumbag white folk who are abusing Maine's welfare system are Mainers." How do you know they are Mainers. Have you been check their ID?
Third, the Somalis are living in Maine so wouldn't that make them Mainers too.
Fourth, you when you say "At least the scumbag white folk who are abusing Maine's welfare system are Mainers." It proves that you truly don't care about the abuse in the welfare system but just want to discriminate against a group you don't like. And that makes you a racist biggot and I'm not saying that to try to make you feel bad etc I'm just stating a fact.
If you think the welfare system needs fixing that is fine but if we are going to judge everyone who gets social services on how worthy they are where will it stop. Should I beable to tell people English speaking Anglo-saxin males who have lived in Maine for generations that they shouldn't get welfare? After all it should have the easiest chance at getting a job.

RONALD RIML's picture

Folks who move from place to place to take advantage of system

Businessmen, financiers and capitalists - mostly Republicans.

Who do you think moved American jobs to India, Tawain, Mexico and China for for cheaper labor costs?

Yep, Conservatives - the guys who your Republican buddies are beholden to and who'se interests you keep voting for and screw you........

RONALD RIML's picture

NAFTA began with Reagan, signed first with Bush I - then Clinton

"When Was NAFTA Started?:
NAFTA was signed by President George H.W. Bush, Mexican President Salinas, and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1992. It was ratified by the legislatures of the three countries in 1993. The House approved it by 234 to 200 on November 17 and the Senate by 60 to 38 on November 20. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 8, 1993 and entered force January 1, 1994. Although it was signed by President Bush, it was a priority of President Clinton's, and its passage is considered one of his first successes. (Source:, NAFTA Signed into Law, December 8, 1993.

How Was NAFTA Started?:
The impetus for NAFTA actually began with President Ronald Regan, who campaigned on a North American common market. In 1984, Congress passed the Trade and Tariff Act. This is important because it gave the President "fast-track" authority to negotiate free trade agreements, while only allowing Congress the ability to approve or disapprove, not change negotiating points. Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney agreed with Reagan to begin negotiations for the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which was signed in 1988, went into effect in 1989 and is now suspended due to NAFTA."

RONALD RIML's picture

Clinton had no power to send businesses away.

Corporations did that. Their boards voted on it.

You obviously confuse political power and corporate power - though the line blurs when it comes to the Republican Party.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

No name calling? You may want

No name calling? You may want to re-read your posts, Brian. Name calling abounds.

 's picture

Disrespectful at the least!

At the very least, that comment is clearly disrespectful and I agree it should be removed. Please reconsider?

 's picture

My guess is the parents of

My guess is the parents of these children came to Lewiston because of the abundance of employment opportunities we have here, plain and simple.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Oh, are everywhere.

Oh, are everywhere.

RONALD RIML's picture

You don't have to guess......

They came to Lewiston as they didn't have to feel inferior to anyone.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

That was nasty. You can't

That was nasty. You can't really mean that.

RONALD RIML's picture

Then you haven't read the book on Marsden Hartley....

Which describes Lewiston as a "Medium sized city with a world-class inferiority complex"......

Go see my buddy Rick Speer at the Library. They might have a copy. Forgot the title (I sold my copy) it's a quarto binding.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well stated, KD

Well stated, KD

 's picture


When will we learn that you just can't throw money at a problem and expect it to be fixed! Oh does the city get reimbursed for the teachers hired for the English as a Second Language Instructors (that is what they were called when I went to school) just as we call Bi-Polar (manic/depressive)personalities today. Giving fancy or different names does not change the situation. Most of these students and their families come to the state of maine because of our EASY welfare roles in which there is no time to wait, just sign up and get your benefits. Workfare is what is needed, not welfare.
Do you realize that the School Committee of Lewiston has to pay the teachers for these 660 students and in doing so it has to take the money away from other accounts to pay for added staffing. Let's imagine that there were no ELL teachers needed. This would save the city roughly 1.23 million per year...yes, that much and while the city waits a year for the state to reimburse this amount as it is considered special education funds that amount is supposed to be given back at 100% the following year. In the meantime, the city takes funds from reserve accounts, etc to fill these gaps.
New students arrive because we have a minority group in the Lewiston area who are Somali
s and of course we ask how did they get here. The Catholic Charities of Maine is responsible for the importation of these people to Maine. I have not seen any positive results in having this new minority present. Some would argue that we saved their lives by getting them out of their home country. I wonder if this is accurate. What have they contributed to our community in a positive manner since their arrival? Reason needs to see that these minorities are contributing and no, we are not interested in the fact that they enhance us in a broad worldly knowledge of other cultures and races. If they receive welfare, what are they doing to make Lewiston or Auburn a better place for all of us to live?
If they don't add to the community, what are they doing here. Oh, I know they are here to bleed the local and state welfare systems dry. This is not a bigot speaking it is a voice of concern and reason. Do not be swayed by liberal tendencies. Ask for an honest return for your money. Wouldn't Lewiston be better off putting that 1.23 million somewhere where it could do good? It doesn't come out of your city taxes, but does come from state revenues.

RONALD RIML's picture

I'm sure we've heard it before.........

Reason writes: "I have not seen any positive results in having this new minority present."

Didn't some group say the same damn thing about your ancestors when they got off the boat??

 's picture

Brian, I disagree that no one

Brian, I disagree that no one has complained about Maine's easy welfare system prior to the Somalis coming. Many have been complaining for years, long before the current situation. The problem isn't that they come, in my opinion, the problem is that the Federal Government allows easy immigration for some groups but doesn't provide the local funds to acclimate them to our society. It is not fair for a local economy to bear this burden alone.
The welfare system should be revamped so that it is not a way of life but just a short term solution.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Did Tron change his name?

Did Tron change his name?

 's picture

Your first sentence is very

Your first sentence is very telling, in my opinion. You are assuming the reason people are complaining is because of race. Why? Maybe you should look in the mirror to discover the answer. You are blindly dismissing comments because you are focusing on one thing rather than the actual problem, and there is a problem.
Who's actually the racist in this hypothetical situation? The person who makes a comment, and never mentions race. Or the person who states that the comment was only made because the people they are commenting on are black.
It is unfair to label everyone that complains about their taxes going up, or the quality of the education in their schools going to down, a racist. The same compaints were made when the Irish and French came to Lewiston and the complaints, while the same, had nothing to do with race. Your "the scumbag white folK" comment shows racism on your part.
As long as our welfare system is available to be abused then there will be those that will, no matter what color, religion or ethnic group. Except the Irish. LOL ( that was a joke).

 's picture

You are correct. I didn't

You are correct. I didn't realize that you didn't origiate that comment. Sorry.


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