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Puerto Rico to create charter schools, award vouchers

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor has signed an education reform bill to create charter schools and vouchers and help turn around a system long known for its bureaucracy and failure to administer dwindling resources.

The bill signed on Thursday will decentralize the Department of Education and ensure that 70 percent of its budget reaches schools. It also will provide teachers with their first raise in a decade.

Officials said the charter schools pilot program will be implemented in 10 percent of schools, while private school vouchers will be limited to 3 percent of students.

Puerto Rico has 1,110 public schools and 319,000 students but has seen numbers drop as people continue to flee to the U.S. mainland amid an 11-year recession.

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