Alexander Praises Final Senate Passage of Legislation to Help All of Hurricane Katrina's Displace School Children

Provides One-Time Emergency Impact Aid to States for the 2005-2006 School Year

Posted on December 22, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development, today praised final Senate passage of legislation that will provide education assistance to public and non-public school students in grades K-12 who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. “Hurricane Katrina didn’t discriminate among school children and neither have we,” said Alexander. “Hurricane Katrina displaced 372,000 school children around the country, including 3,700 to my home state of Tennessee. Four months later, there are still around 125,600 displaced children, including nearly 3,400 in Tennessee. This legislation helps the families, the states, and the school districts that have been affected. It’s a temporary program that addresses a specific problem. Today’s final passage is a triumph of common sense over ideology.” The legislation approved today provides $645 million for one-time emergency impact aid to states for the 2005-2006 school year for local educational agencies (LEA) that have displaced students enrolled in public or non-public schools in their area. The total payment would be $6,000 per student, or in the case of special needs students, the total payment would be $7,500. The payment would be disbursed in quarterly installments. A state may submit an application to the Secretary of Education on behalf of all displaced schoolchildren. The Senate also approved $750 million for Restart Services and Assistance to public and non-public schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. The LEA or non-public school desiring assistance would submit an application to the state education agency (SEA). The assistance or services could be used for things like textbooks, reasonable transportation costs, recovery of student data, and replacement of information systems. Alexander chaired a Senate Education Subcommittee hearing on Katrina’s displaced schoolchildren on Sept. 22. The assistance for Katrina’s displaced students includes language from the Hurricane Katrina Elementary and Secondary Recovery Act, a bill introduce by Alexander on Oct. 20. A modified version of the Alexander bill passed the Senate on Nov. 3 as an amendment to the Deficit Reduction Act. It was approved last night as part of the Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2006 conference report, which now goes to the House for final approval and then to the president for his signature.