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August 23, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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$15.9 Million Awarded to 185 Districts to Assist With Educating Students Displaced by 2017 Natural Disasters

The New York State Education Department awarded $15.9 million in grants to 185 school districts to assist with the educational costs of more than 3,000 students displaced by natural disasters and enrolled in New York schools in the 2017-18 school year, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. The grants, authorized under the Federal Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students program, will provide funding to districts serving students displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria or the 2017 California wildfires.

“Last year’s tragedies devastated the lives of many students by displacing them from their communities and all that is familiar – their homes, friends, neighbors and teachers,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “New York’s schools rose to the challenge and embraced these children, providing them with needed services. With these grants, these schools will be better equipped to continue to provide vital supports for our students.”

“After 2017’s horrific weather, many families relocated to New York State and we provided guidance to schools so they quickly could enroll and support newly arriving students from these impacted areas,”  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “Even with no records, school districts across the state provided educational services, free meals and individualized academic supports so students could return to stable learning environments as quickly as possible. Our schools welcomed so many students in need, and now these grants will help reimburse their costs and sustain services moving forward. We appreciate the effort of our schools to rise to the occasion and help our students.”

Districts will be reimbursed up to $9,000 for each eligible displaced student who is an English language learner, $10,000 for each displaced student who is a child with a disability; and $8,500 for each student who is not reported as a child with a disability or an English language learner. These amounts may be pro-rated based on the portion of the school year a student was enrolled in the district.

Schools may use program funds for instructional opportunities it provided to displaced students and for expenses incurred in serving displaced students in the 2017-18 school year. Examples of allowable expenses include:

a) paying the compensation of personnel, including teacher aides, in schools enrolling displaced students;

b) identifying and acquiring curricular material and classroom supplies;

c) acquiring or leasing mobile educational units or leasing sites and spaces;

d) providing basic instructional services for displaced students, including tutoring, mentoring, or academic counseling;

e) paying reasonable transportation costs;

f) providing health and counseling services; and

g) providing education and support services.

Last fall, NYSED issued guidance to school districts to help students displaced by the recent hurricanes. The guidance provided information on the rights of students displaced by the recent natural disasters, as well as the services that should be provided to these children.

A list of the 185 schools and their grant award amounts is available on NYSED’s website.