House Bill 4102 provides relief to school districts affected by disasters
Gov. Rick Perry today announced the state has authorized more than $62.8 million to reimburse school districts for the cost of repairs incurred as a result of Hurricane Ike. The reimbursements are part of House Bill 4102, which provides relief for school districts impacted by disasters or other emergencies.
Before this bill, state law made no real provision for dollars lost due to structural damages, attendance declines or property value losses resulting from disasters. House Bill 4102 creates a means for schools to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred while rebuilding from storms like Hurricane Ike, Gov. Perry said. This bill saves schools from not only losing funding due to lower attendance averages, but also paying to repair and rebuild their facilities.
In addition to funding for Hurricane Ike losses, HB 4102 reimburses school districts that lost funding from closures due to the H1N1 outbreak last spring, or incurred damage during the 2008 hurricane season for the cost of repairs that are not recovered through insurance or federal payments. The Texas Education Agency will oversee distribution of the funds.
Smith Middle School is an example of the resiliency of our public schools. Although still rebuilding and repairing the structural damage caused by Hurricane Ike, classes are under way, students are here today and they are learning, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said. This funding will help restore the physical buildings, and give students safe and secure environments in which to learn.
Additionally, the bill ensures that districts that experience a decline in average daily attendance due to a disaster continue to receive funding for two years following the disaster. Funding for individual schools is determined based on a school's average daily attendance, which had previously not been accounted for during times of disaster, leaving school districts to cope with both costly repairs and lower funding after a disaster.
The bill also contains mechanisms to help school districts recover from the effect of lower property values on school finance formulas.