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News

For Immediate Release
January 6, 2006


Grants available to Illinois schools serving children displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
President Bush signs Hurricane Education Recovery Act into law

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois public school districts may now apply for grants to help offset costs incurred while educating and assisting children displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year. Governor Rod Blagojevich ordered Illinois schools to open their doors to students displaced by the hurricanes and more than 1,000 evacuees from the storm-damaged areas enrolled in Illinois schools.

On December 30, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Hurricane Education Recovery Act. The legislation authorizes three new grant programs to assist school districts and schools in meeting the educational needs of students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The program also helps schools that were closed as a result of the hurricanes to reopen as quickly and effectively as possible.

Parents/guardians of displaced students enrolled in public school districts in Illinois do not need to take any action.

However, parents/guardians of displaced children attending recognized nonpublic (private) schools (listing here: http://www.isbe.net/accountability/pdf/np_directory_district.pdf) in Illinois must submit an application form to the public school district in which they currently reside or are temporarily staying. Application forms are available at: http://www.isbe.net/katrina/Hurr_Rel_Par_App_NonPublic.pdf. Relief grants for nonpublic students will initially be paid to the local public school district. The local public school district must then provide those funds to Emergency Impact Aid Accounts administered by the registered nonpublic school in which the displaced student is (or was) enrolled.

For more information regarding the rights of displaced students in nonpublic schools, please see the Hurricane Education Recovery Act at: http://www.isbe.net/katrina/Hurr_Educ_Recov_Act_0106.pdf.

The Hurricane Education Recovery Act provides financial support to schools of up to $6,000 per student and $7,500 per student served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Details of the Hurricane Education Recovery Act include:

  • Public school districts will be eligible for grants based on the number of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina or Rita who were enrolled in both public and registered nonpublic schools within their boundaries on four specific count dates: October 1, 2005; December 1, 2005; February 1, 2006; and April 1, 2006.
  • All affected public school districts must submit the Elementary And Secondary Education Hurricane Relief Program Application By Local Educational Agencies For Emergency Impact Aid For Displaced Students And Assistance For Homeless Children And Youth form available online at: http://www.isbe.net/katrina/Hurr_Rel_Public_District_App.pdf.
  • Public school districts will detail enrollments for the following four categories:
    • public students without disabilities;
    • public students with disabilities;
    • nonpublic students without disabilities; and
    • nonpublic students with disabilities.
    • The initial public school district application will include the enrollment counts for October 1 and December 1, 2005. The enrollments for February 1 and April 1, 2006 will be submitted at a later date as either an application amendment, supplement or follow-up report.
  • Registered nonpublic schools must inform parents/guardians of displaced students enrolled in their schools of the availability of the impact aid.
  • Public school districts will receive information regarding nonpublic students from the parents/guardians of the displaced students.
    • Parents/guardians of displaced students enrolled in registered nonpublic schools must submit an Application By Parent or Guardian For Emergency Impact Aid On Behalf of Students Displaced By Hurricane Katrina Or Hurricane Rita And Who Are Attending A Nonpublic School, available online at: http://www.isbe.net/katrina/Hurr_Rel_Par_App_NonPublic.pdf. On this form, the parent/guardian requests that the public school district make payments to an Emergency Impact Aid Account on behalf of the student and certifies that the student is a displaced student and was enrolled in the nonpublic school prior to December 30, 2005.
    • The registered nonpublic school in which the students are enrolled must complete a Certification By Nonpublic Schools For Emergency Impact Aid For Displaced Students, available online at: http://www.isbe.net/katrina/Hurr_Relief_nonpub_sch_cert.pdf.
    • By signing this Certification, the nonpublic school certifies that the displaced student was enrolled in the school on the designated count date and that payments to Emergency Impact Aid Accounts will be used only for the purposes permitted by the legislation.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will submit a completed application for impact aid to the United States Department of Education (USDE) detailing the following for each “count date”:
    • the number of displaced students enrolled in public schools;
    • the number of displaced students enrolled in registered nonpublic schools; and
    • a breakdown of those students with and without disabilities in each of the two categories above.
  • The USDE will then make four separate formula grants to ISBE based on the four counts ISBE reports.
  • The timelines for the initial application process are very tight. The USDE must publish a Federal Register notice, which it intends to do by January 12. Public school districts will then have only 14 days from the publication date to submit applications to ISBE. ISBE will then have only seven days to submit its application to USDE.

The USDE plans to provide more information soon regarding the application process. ISBE will post that information at http://www.isbe.net/katrina/default.htm as soon as it becomes available. For more information contact Darren Reisberg, ISBE’s Deputy General Counsel, at 312-814-2223 or by email at dreisber@isbe.net.

 

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777