Brunswick leaders are banding together to support asylum-seeking families moving to town this summer.

About 60 families from African countries are expected to move into new housing units at Brunswick Landing.

Brunswick schools Superintendent Phil Potenziano said he expects about 100 more students to enter local schools. In response, the school district plans to hire a teacher, two educational technicians and an instructional strategist with English-as-a-second-language endorsements from the Maine Department of Education, Potenziano said. Money for those positions, along with rising teacher salaries and higher utility costs, contributed to an inflated school district budget that the school board has been working to pare down.

“We need funding in general,” Potenziano said.

Town Manager John Eldridge told the Town Council Monday night the town is hiring a coordinator in its Human Services Department who will help the families transition when they start moving in June.

“One of the biggest issues is coordinating efforts from all the different groups involved in this,” Eldridge told the council. “It has implications for services that the town provides, services that the school provides, services that the social agencies provide.”


Council Vice Chairperson Abby King said the coordinator position has been a “long time coming” as Brunswick becomes more of a center for social services for people from all walks of life, not just asylum-seeking families.

Eldridge said there is a “great need” for furniture donations for the new families, to the tune of about $1,000 per unit, or $50,000-$60,000.

Municipal and school officials have been meeting with the local legislative delegation to identify possible funding sources to help the families.

State Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, said it’s possible MaineHousing and/or Maine Department of Education funding could help the town and school district.

“Affordable housing and making sure we’re welcoming new folks is always a priority,” Daughtry said. “We’re working to make sure we can help Brunswick and be responsible to Maine taxpayers at the same time.

“Brunswick has always been a very welcoming place to people from all over the world.”

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