City schools get more hurricane relief funding

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Brookhaven School District received nearly $100,000 morelast week in the second round of federal funding for hurricanerecovery efforts in education, according to the state Department ofEducation.

The district received more than $133,000 in first round fundingof the Hurricane Katrina Education Recovery Act (HKERA) through theImmediate Aid to Restart School Operations in January. The districtis also receiving $173,625 through the HKERA Impact Aid forDisplaced Students program.

Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett welcomedthe additional monies to help the district accommodate the influxof displaced students from the storm. The funds will be used “toexpand some of the instructional tools to help particularly thosestudents from Louisiana to integrate into the Mississippicurriculum,” Barrett said.

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“It will also help them to master the benchmarks that areassessed in the Mississippi state testing program,” Barrettsaid.

The computer software will also benefit local students and isdesigned to “closely track and monitor their progress throughoutthe year,” she said.

A small portion of the grant funds will help to offset increasedtransportation costs and tutoring services, she said.

“We’ve had to expand some bus routes to accommodate them,”Barrett said.

The district’s student population swelled by approximately 212children immediately following Hurricane Katrina’s destruction ofthe Gulf Coast Aug. 29, she said.

“Most of those have left now, but we still have about 80students and many of them plan to stay,” Barrett said.

The superintendent said she did not expect to get any money inthe second round with the departure of so many students.

Brookhaven was the only local district to receive the Restartfunding, but other area districts did receive funding in thedisplaced students program.

Other districts receiving funding, and the amounts theyreceived, included:

* Copiah County School District: $77,062

* Franklin County School District: $28,687

* Hazlehurst School District: $58,125

* Lawrence County School District: $74,250

* McComb School District: $183,937

* Mississippi School of the Arts: $7,500

* North Pike School District: $65,625