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Articles in the Crisis Management category

’04 hurricanes: Checks are still in the mail

The checks are still in the mail for almost $4 million that the federal government and others owe South Florida’s Broward School District for expenses connected to last year’s hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

At least $2.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been bogged down in micromanaging, minutia-laden paperwork, rolls of red tape and confusion, school officials said, even though those storms only grazed the county, the paper reports.

Erin Walsh|September 23rd, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Texas schools to evacuate or provide shelter

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has informed state schools in jurisdictions not already evacuated to contact their local officials in order that they can provide shelter and transportation to those residents evacuating from Hurricane Rita. This comes on the heels of TEA establishing a website dedicated to provided resources to those Texas schools that have enrolled students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Erin Walsh|September 22nd, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Texas school boards conference forced to cancel

It took two hurricanes, but the annual meeting of the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators, slated to start Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, has been postponed until later this fall, reports the Houston Chronicle. Here is TASB‘s statement.

More than 10,000 participants had planned to discuss, among other topics, how to cope with the sudden influx of Louisiana students who fled Hurricane Katrina. The conference was almost canceled when the venue was used for housing displaced Gulf Coast residents.

Hundreds of Texas schools that opened their doors to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the past month have decided to close their campuses for the remainder of the week to give Gulf Coast families time to evacuate as Hurricane Rita approaches, reports the Chronicle:

“More than a dozen districts south of Houston, including Galveston and Pasadena, opted to close until at least Monday. They’re copying student records, boarding up windows and relocating buses in preparation.”

And in Alabama, evacuees are still enrolling in that state’s schools, and are having a “significant impact.”

Erin Walsh|September 21st, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Pulling together (?) to help school districts help hurricane victims

While school districts in the Gulf states and their immediate neighbors are doing the heavy lifting in serving students displaced by Katrina, districts all over the country are welcoming new children. Good profile here of transitions into Washington, D.C. area schools. D.C. Superintendent Clifford B. Janey details his district’s efforts in a Washington Post op-ed, here. Even Canadian school boards are helping.

The private sector is pitching in to help school districts meet the challenge, too. Hertz Furniture Systems has donated $60,000 worth of furniture to San Antonio Independent School District. Hertz CEO Mark Wagner says, “Although the public has heard about the generosity of the many school districts enrolling extra students, they may not be aware of the strain it will put on existing space and furniture.”

Students themselves are helping out. Here’s a story about a tractor trailer full of donations from school kids in Western New York. Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools in Michigan are organizing a big relief event.

The challenge of meeting the needs of traumatized students in Mississippi is a tough one. And Mississippi officials are visiting with the feds today to seek the help school districts so desperately need.

And today’s big news from the feds? The winds are blowing vouchers.

Erin Walsh|September 20th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Some legal news on hurricane relief

More info here on the back-and-forth between affected states and the feds over relief to schools in the form of desperately needed funding and release from federal red tape. And the New Orleans school district, already under restructuring, needs money to pay its teachers, according to both the superintendent and the private restructuring firm. Another legal issue being watched, according to the Wall Street Journal: Will the feds let school districts educate displaced students in separate facilities, or will this violate federal law against segregating homeless children? And check out the comment under our first September 15 item to see what else the feds apparently have in mind and what one Virginia school board member thinks about it. More on that next week. That “Comments” link under every BoardBuzz posting is for your use, dear readers.

Erin Walsh|September 16th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

NSBA urges Congress to send disaster relief directly to schools

In a letter sent to Capitol Hill yesterday, NSBA strongly urged Congress to send disaster relief money directly to local school districts because state and local governments are already underfunded and cannot cover the necessary costs for the more than 370,000 relocated students. These costs include additional classroom space, teachers, counselors, textbooks, supplies, transportation and fuel expenses, special education services, healthcare costs, and other needs.

NSBA also pointed out this is the time that Congress should make good on its promise to fully fund special education, since at least 12 percent—or 44,000—displaced students may need special ed services not budgeted for by receiving districts. In addition, NSBA urged Congress to set up a special school construction fund as well as special designations for tax-exempt financing mechanisms to help districts with repair and reconstruction costs.

As NSBA top lobbyist Michael Resnick pointed out in the letter, “Clearly, more resources are needed beyond those provided in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Program.” Congress is expected to work on developing a third disaster relief package shortly.

Erin Walsh|September 15th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Gulf state school boards associations programs to aid schools

The state school boards associations of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana have established several programs to assist schools affected by Hurricane Katrina.

In Mississippi, donations can be made to that state’s hurricane school relief fund. In addition, the association has set up an adopt-a-school program allowing schools to adopt or be adopted.

Alabama has also established an adopt-a-school program, and has devoted an area of the association’s Web site to recovery information for school districts.

A trust fund has been created by the Louisiana association to accept financial donations for the schools in need of assistance. Contributions can be made by sending an e-mail here.

Kudos to the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama state schools board associations for their quick efforts to aid in the recovery and rebuilding of the region’s schools.

Erin Walsh|September 13th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Florida district offers its hurricane experience

The school board of Charlotte County, Florida, which had one-third of its schools destroyed by Hurricane Charley last year, has made itself available as a resource to Gulf region districts that are beginning the post-Katrina recovery process. A letter from the district and a list of specific contact names and number are available here.

Erin Walsh|September 13th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

South Carolina reaches out to displaced teachers

South Carolina has this message for displaced teachers in Louisiana and Mississippi: We want you. That state’s department of education has announced it will venture south to recruit those educators. South Carolina needs about 400 math, science, and special education teachers. About 10,000 teachers are out of work in Mississippi and Louisiana. Here are more details.

Erin Walsh|September 12th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Schools aiding hurricane relief

Schools across the country are staying busy raising funds and organizing efforts to bring in needed supplies for hurricane relief. Here is a list of what schools in Cincinnati are up to.

Erin Walsh|September 9th, 2005|Categories: Crisis Management, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|
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