The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded $3 million in Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grants to Connecticut ($250,000), New Jersey ($1.25 million), New York ($500,000) and New York City ($1 million) to assist with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The widespread damage of the storm was particularly devastating to these communities.
Project SERV grants provide critical support to districts that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded more than $31.5 million to 104 grantees, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and New York City, since the grant program began in 2001.
"Project SERV grants provide key support to students and communities as they continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "These funds help the learning process continue and make resources available to students and educators who may still be dealing with the trauma of last fall's devastating hurricane."
The three states--Connecticut, New Jersey and New York--will identify school districts and schools that were hardest hit by the storm. New York state's funds may go to any district except New York City, as it is receiving a separate grant. All four grantees will use the funds to provide education-related services where the learning environment has been disrupted due to the storm's effects. These services may include mental-health assessments, referrals and services; leasing of space to substitute for damaged buildings; emergency transportation; temporary security measures; and overtime pay for teachers, counselors, law enforcement and security officers, and other staff. Within 75 days after receiving their funds, the grantees will submit reports to the Department describing the basis for distributing the funds and the activities that are planned.