The Department of Education has taken “appropriate and reasonable” steps to ensure that federal aid has been fairly distributed to schools affected by the major hurricanes in 2005, says a report released last week by the office of the department’s inspector general.
In an initial review of how the department administered funds under the emergency federal aid approved by Congress, the inspectors found that department officials visited affected areas and reviewed all available data to verify whether a particular school district was entitled to the federal money, the report says.
The department also “issued timely guidance and other information” and “responded quickly to questions and requests” to school officials affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which struck the Gulf Coast region on Aug. 29 and Sept. 24, 2005, respectively, says the Jan. 31 report written by Helen Lew, the assistant inspector general for audit services.
The Education Department continues to distribute the $1.4 billion appropriated in fiscal 2006 for the Hurricane Education Recovery Act.
As of June 30 of last year, states had spent $550 million of the amount available to them. States and districts may be reimbursed as they continue to incur expenses in the aftermath of the storms.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week