More than a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Julia Keleher, the U.S. territory’s education secretary, put the total cost of repairing the island’s 856 public schools and bringing them up to school building standards, which until recently didn’t exist, at $11 billion. For perspective, that’s more than one-seventh of the U.S. Department of Education’s total operating budget for this fiscal year.
The issue of funding for Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma suddenly found its way back into the headlines a few days ago when news outlets reported that President Donald Trump could decide to use U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding intended for, among other things, projects to aid storm recovery in Puerto Rico to build hundreds of miles of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border instead.
Keleher and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said if Trump takes away that money, there wouldn’t be funding to fix the island’s schools.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2019 edition of Education Week as Price Tag for Fixing Puerto Rico Schools Estimated at $11 Billion