Students Displaced By Katrina Must Be Counted to Receive Funds

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | 06:00pm

Nashville, TN- Governor Phil Bredesen and Education Commissioner Lana Seivers announced today that Tennessee schools are eligible to receive compensation for the education of students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Throughout the fall, Governor Bredesen and the Department of Education have worked diligently to secure compensation for these displaced students. Both public and private schools may receive funds under the Hurricane Education Recovery Act, signed into law on December 30, 2005.The federal government will split $645 million between all states to distribute to local school districts and private schools for tuition reimbursement. The process for applying for these funds will operate on a very short time frame. Local education agencies have two weeks to notify the state Department of Education of student enrollment in Tennessee for the 2005-2006 school year.

Parents who have enrolled their children in private schools may access these funds in two ways. The private school may provide enrollment numbers for all displaced students to the local education agency within which they reside; or parents may contact the local education agency themselves to have their children counted.

Displaced students are defined as “a student who enrolled in an elementary school or secondary school … because such student resides or resided on August 22, 2005, in an area for which a major disaster has been declared in accordance with section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act …, related to Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita.”

Local Education Agencies have received applications that must be submitted with headcounts to the state within two weeks. Headcounts must be broken down by date enrolled in the school and into two categories- students receiving special education services and those not receiving special education services. Public and private schools may use the funds they received for instructional services, curricular material, school personnel, transportation costs, and support services. Schools may not use these funds for school construction or major renovation.

Funds provided in this program are made available under Title IV of the Hurricane Education Recovery Act (H.R.2863), Subtitle A- Elementary and Secondary Education Hurricane Relief §107.  For more information about these funds, please contact David Huss, Executive Director for Local Finance in the Department of Education, at 615-532-9510.

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