The Department of Education last week released about $616 million to states to cover the cost of educating students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and help Gulf Coast-area schools resume their operations.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a March 2 conference call with reporters that the department was “glad to have this money out the door as soon as possible.”
The first installment of the $1.6 billion federal relief appropriated under the Hurricane Education Recovery Act—some $250 million—went out in early January. (“Hurricane Aid is on the Way to Districts, Private Schools,” Jan. 11, 2006.)
The latest package, released the day of the conference call, includes $120 million to schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia serving students displaced by the hurricanes. About 11 percent of those students are enrolled in private schools, Ms. Spellings said.
The remainder of the money released last week, about $496 million, is going to the schools in states hit hardest by the storms to help them get up and running. Louisiana will receive $345.6 million, while Mississippi will get $122.5 million. Texas will receive $28.2 million, and Alabama will receive about $3.8 million.
The final installment of money for educating displaced students, about $525 million, will be distributed to states before July 31, the Education Department said.