Student Well-Being

La. Schools Chief Seeks $2.8 Billion in K-12 Aid

By David J. Hoff — September 08, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Louisiana school districts decimated by Hurricane Katrina will need $2.8 billion in federal aid this school year to recover from the devastating storm, Louisiana’s top education official said Sept. 8, adding that as many as 100,000 of the public school students displaced in the New Orleans area may return to their home schools by January.

That would leave about 55,000 students from New Orleans and one of its neighboring parishes without a home school to return to during the current school year.

The $2.8 billion in federal aid would provide districts with enough money to replace state and local revenue for schools lost in the aftermath of the hurricane that ravaged southeastern Louisiana, effectively erasing the tax base of the area for the short-term and crippling it for several years to come, Cecil J. Picard, the Louisiana superintendent of schools, said in a telephone interview Sept 8.

Mr. Picard said that he would be forwarding his $2.8 billion request to federal officials in the next few days. Although Congress has approved $10.5 billion in short-term disaster relief and President Bush has proposed another $51.8 billion, both plans focus on the immediate needs of the area and wouldn’t provide funds for schools.

The $2.8 billion would allow many schools in the New Orleans area to reopen soon, some even in the city itself. Mr. Picard said eight or nine schools in the city’s West Bank suffered little damage and may be able to accept about 13,600 students by January.

But at least 80 buildings in the 60,000-student Orleans Parish district were destroyed or suffered significant damage from the Aug. 29 winds and the floodwaters that followed. Students who attended those buildings are unlikely to attend school in the city in the current school year.

Schools Plan To Open Doors

Those estimates are based on an initial inspection conducted shortly after floodwaters spread across the city, Mr. Picard said. School officials will know more about the long-term damage caused by the storm once they conduct a follow-up inspection of the city next week.

Other New Orleans-area districts are working to reopen soon, Picard said.

The St. Charles Parish schools are aiming to open by Sept. 26. The 9,600-student district west of New Orleans saw little damage to its 19 schools.

The schools in 34,000-student St. Tammany Parish expect to open by the beginning of October. Forty-six of the district’s 51 schools may be ready to accept students by Oct. 3. Students from the other five schools in the district would attend classes in other schools on a schedule that allows two schools to operate in the same building, but on separate shifts, Mr. Picard said.

The 51,650-student Jefferson Parish school district had five schools destroyed and 22 significantly damaged. The rest of the district’s 84 schools had no damage or only minor damage, Mr. Picard said. School officials there are trying to start school again in October or November.

The 5,000-student Plaquemine Parish schools may be able to open by January, Mr. Picard added. Six of the district’s nine schools suffered flood damage.

The 8,800-student St. Bernard district, however, is unlikely to reopen in the current school year, Mr. Picard said. The parish east of New Orleans is still flooded and the district’s five buildings are ruined.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Shutterstock
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Hospitalizations Spike Under Delta, Particularly in Low-Vaccination States
Nationwide, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to COVID-19 has ballooned nearly tenfold since midsummer, new CDC data show.
2 min read
hopital stethescope 1222194507
Aleksandr Titov/iStock/Getty