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Feds to provide grants to schools enrolling hurricane evacuees

The U.S. Department of Education will move forward with grants to schools in Florida and other states that took in children evacuees from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and then struggled with unexpected costs, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy‘s office announced Tuesday.

Under legislation Congress pushed through and approved in February, with Murphy’s backing, the department will be making grants of $8,500 for each enrolled student who was displaced by the hurricanes that tore through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last September. The grants are up to $10,000 per student for students with disabilities.

According to a release from Murphy’s office, school officials will be able to use the money to pay and hire teachers, purchase classroom supplies, lease additional classroom space, mentor students, and provide transportation services.

“Schools and communities in central Florida have welcomed displaced students from the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with grace and generosity, and this federal funding will give them the financial support they need to offer a high-quality education to both new and existing students,” Murphy stated in the release. “I’m proud I was able to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to deliver this much-needed support to our local schools. I will keep fighting to help displaced families and the communities that have embraced them.”

The Florida Department of Education will collect data from the state’s school districts; apply for funding from the U.S. Department of Education; and then distribute the federal funding it receives to the school districts based on their documented need.

Florida’s public schools reported enrolling at least 12,000 displaced students.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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