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Sen. Hutchison has good news for Texas schools

By J. Lyn Carl,

Washington, D.C. –

With bad news knocking on Texas' door with the approach of Hurricane Rita, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas delivered some good news to the state.

Hutchison's bill that passed the U.S. Senate today would provide Texas and other states that educate schoolchildren who are evacuees from Hurricane Katrina with federal emergency relief funds.

"The Senate has brought relief one step closer to the states who have opened their doors and their hearts to the victims of Katrina," Hutchison said in a statement. Many of the school budgets in those states already were shoestring budgets, she said, thus the federal funds will provide needed relief.

Hutchison's bill would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to transfer money to states for primary and secondary education needs relative to educating evacuee children.

According to the provisions of the bill, FEMA could transfer money from its disaster relief fund to the Secretary of Education to cover expenses such as buying textbooks for schools whose student populations increased because of the influx of evacuees. An estimated 45,000 such students are in Texas schools, said Hutchison.

To qualify for the federal emergency funds, schools must show the students lived in or were enrolled in a school in an area declared a disaster area as of Aug. 22.

More news links and relief effort resources from KERA

More news from KERA's NewsRoom