Congress is considering several proposals for federal aid to schools affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Among the most prominent:
President Bush’s Plan
A bill introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, carries the provisions of President Bush’s hurricane-relief plan for schools. The bill authorizes nearly $1.9 billion, or up to $7,500 per student, for schools enrolling students displaced by the hurricanes. It also includes $488 million to cover the costs of sending children from the hurricane-affected areas to private schools, with the same $7,500-per-student limit.
A bill introduced by Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, the ranking minority member, includes authorization for $900 million in immediate grants to districts harmed by the hurricanes and $2.5 billion for schools enrolling displaced students for this year. Using a formula based on each state’s average per-pupil education expenditure, the entire cost of educating displaced stu-dents and those in directly hit districts would be covered. The bill also would expand the Department of Education’s waiver authority for the No Child Left Behind Act.
A bill introduced by Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat, and Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, both of Louisiana, includes an authorization of $2 billion to help schools rebuild and repair buildings; $1 billion for the Louisiana Department of Education to continue school district funding; $750 million in incentive funds to retain teachers; and $4,000 per student to districts enrolling evacuated students.