Federal

GOP Plan Would Relax Rules for Storm-Affected Schools

By Christina A. Samuels — October 11, 2005 3 min read

House Republican education leaders released a proposal last week that they say would help schools and districts affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by easing a number of federal restrictions.

Under the proposal, teachers who were deemed “highly qualified” under No Child Left Behind Act standards in their home states would be considered to have the same qualifications if they moved to another state that has received large numbers of students displaced by the hurricanes. Also, deadlines for special education reporting requirements of states and schools would be extended.

See Also

Read more from our series,

A paperwork-reduction pilot program that is a part of the 2004 reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would be expanded from its 15 original states to include hurricane-affected states. In addition, states would be encouraged to lift restrictions on charter school enrollment to allow such schools to accommodate displaced students.

And the proposal would ease federal funding rules that school districts must follow, such as requirements that districts provide a certain level of local funding in order to receive federal dollars. Such rules are generally referred to as “maintenance of effort.”

“All too often, bureaucratic red tape stands in the way of individuals and communities working to rebuild,” Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said in a statement. The proposal would allow school districts and states to “bypass the bureaucracy and move forward with the recovery effort,” he said.

The education provisions are part of the proposed Hurricane Regulatory Relief Act, which was introduced Oct. 6. by Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., a member of the education committee.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the education panel’s ranking minority member, said the GOP proposal contained some helpful provisions.

But “Congress must act much more boldly than it has so far to help the region’s schoolchildren, college students, parents, and workers recover from these disasters,” he said in a statement. House Democrats will soon offer their own relief plan for schools, he said.

The plan offered by Republicans on the House committee is one of several school-related hurricane-relief bills working their way through Congress. A Senate proposal introduced by Sens. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., would authorize $900 million in immediate grants to districts in affected areas.

The Bush administration has proposed its own relief package, which would require the federal government to pick up 90 percent of the costs of educating displaced students, up to $7,500 per student, as well as provide additional money for such costs as new teacher salaries and materials. The administration has also proposed giving any evacuated family up to $7,500 per child for tuition at a private or religious school. (“Bush Proposes Evacuee Aid for Districts, School Vouchers,” Sept. 21, 2005)

Direct Aid Sought

Mary Kusler, the assistant director of government relations for the Arlington, Va.-based American Association of School Administrators, said that the House Republicans’ plan outlined some useful waivers, but that school districts were in greater need of direct financial assistance.

“These communities have lost their entire tax base,” Ms. Kusler said of the Gulf Coast areas that sustained the most damage. “They have no money coming in. They’re laying off teachers because they can’t pay them. They’re cutting off health care.”

She added: “I would just hate to seem [federal lawmakers] pass this and then back off and say we’ve done everything we can do.”

Jeff Simering, the director of legislative services for the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools, said that districts were looking for “swift, nonbureaucratic” financial help.

“You would have to relegate some of the waivers [in the House committee proposal] to a secondary status. The financial assistance is pretty desperately needed,” said Mr. Simering, whose group represents 65 large urban districts.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education announced two hurricane-related support efforts last week to help children and adults with disabilities. The department said on Oct. 3 that it would provide $25.9 million in vocational rehabilitation funds in affected states without the states’ having to provide matching funds.

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week as GOP Plan Would Relax Rules for Storm-Affected Schools

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Federal Biden Legal Team Steps Back From Trump Stance on Transgender Female Sports Participation
The Education Department's office for civil rights pulls a letter that said Connecticut's transgender-inclusive policy violates Title IX.
4 min read
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn on Feb. 7, 2019. Transgender athletes are getting an ally in the White House next week as they seek to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports. Attorneys on both sides say they expect President-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education will switch sides in legal battles that could go a long way in determining whether transgender athletes are treated by the sex on their birth certificates or by how they identify.
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in an event in New Haven, Conn. The two transgender athletes are at the center of a legal fight in Connecticut over the participation of transgender female athletes in girls' or women's sports.
Pat Eaton-Robb/AP
Federal Congress Again Tries to Pass Eagles Act, Focused on School Shootings After Parkland
A group of bipartisan Congressional lawmakers is once again trying to get a law passed aimed at preventing school violence.
Devoun Cetoute & Carli Teproff
2 min read
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Some Districts Extend Paid Leave Policies as They Hope for Passage of Biden Relief Plan
With federal provisions having expired, some school employees have had to dip into their own banks of leave for COVID-19 purposes.
5 min read
Linda Davila-Macal, a seventh grade reading teacher at BL Garza Middle School in Edinburg, Texas, works from her virtual classroom at her home on Aug. 31, 2020.
A teacher leads a virtual classroom from her home.
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
Federal President Biden Is Walking a 'Careful Tightrope' When It Comes to School Reopenings
CDC guidance and confusion over his rhetoric turn up the pressure, and could overshadow progress in schools and nuanced public opinion.
9 min read
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Feb. 16, 2021.
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event in Milwaukee earlier this month.
Evan Vucci/AP