Several Central Texas school districts are eligible to receive some Hurricane Harvey relief money made available by the federal government on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Education has made $174 million available to Texas school districts that enrolled students who were displaced by the storm. The Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville, Georgetown and Del Valle school districts are eligible to apply for some of the federal money because they enrolled a total of 206 students who were affected by the storm. The Bastrop and Hutto school districts are also eligible to receive federal money although data from the Texas Education Agency did not indicate they enrolled any displaced students.
In addition to Texas, the federal agency also gave $185 million to 18 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands that were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria or the 2017 California wildfires.
“The impact of natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires goes beyond the disaster area. The effects are felt nationwide, especially in those communities that take in displaced students and families,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a news release Tuesday.
The money is meant to help cover extra expenses school districts accrued by enrolling additional students. In May, the federal government gave Texas $89.4 million to Texas public and private schools ravaged by Harvey.
About 112,000 students were displaced by the storm, according to the Texas Education Agency; 155 school districts have reported $907 million in damage to the TEA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as schools’ insurance will cover the bulk of the damage.
Some districts hit by Harvey are also facing declining property tax revenue. Texas education officials have already committed to spend an estimated $426 million in 2018 and 2019 to help school districts cope with increased costs and funding losses associated with declining enrollment. State lawmakers will have to decide next legislative session whether they want to appropriate an additional $860 million to help with funding issues, according to TEA estimates.