» Thou­sands dis­placed may en­roll in area schools. Metro &State,

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Melissa B. Taboada mtaboada@statesman.com

Austin school district lead­ers are pre­par­ing to en­roll up to thou­sands of stu­dents dis­placed by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

It is un­clear how many stu­dent evac­uees the district will take in, school lead­ers said, but the district is pre­par­ing for a sub­stan­tial num­ber.

School Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Cruz and Austin Mayor Steve Adler will hold a Thurs­day morn­ing news con­fer­ence dis­cussing en­rolling evac­uee stu­dents. The news con­fer­ence is set for 9 a.m. in the gym at Lib­eral Arts and Science Academy/LBJ High School, where evac­uees have been tak­ing shel­ter.

Prin­ci­pals al­ready have been no­ti­fied that stu­dents may be­gin en­rolling now.

“Austin ISD will con­tinue to wel­come all stu­dents, in­clud­ing any evac­uees who are in Austin for the fore­see­able fu­ture,” said Ed­mund

Oropez, the district’s chief of­fi­cer of teach­ing and learn­ing. “We are do­ing all we can to en­sure all stu­dent needs are met and that there will be min­i­mal lapses in their school year.”

Schools pum­meled by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey could re­main shut­tered for weeks, pos­si­bly months, dis­plac­ing stu­dents across the state.

Har­vey forced the clo­sure of more than 200 school dis­tricts for at least a day, but dozens re­main closed. Four school dis­tricts and a char­ter school are closed in­def­i­nitely: Port Aransas, In­gle­side, Skidmore-Ty­nan and Seashore Char­ter.

As with other ma­jor nat­u­ral dis­as­ters that shut down schools for weeks, in­clud­ing wild­fires in the Pan­han­dle and Hur­ri­canes Rita and Ike, dis­tricts are of­fered waivers by the state for days missed.

The Dal­las district al­ready has opened three schools ad­ja­cent to the mega-shel­ter at the Kay Bai­ley Hutchi­son Con­ven­tion Cen­ter to Har- vey evac­uees.

Un­der the McKin­ney-Vento Home­less As­sis­tance Act of 1987, par­ents can en­roll their chil­dren in the pub­lic schools of the ar­eas where they take refuge.

“These kids can go ahead and start get­ting en­rolled and go back to school and have some kind of nor­malcy,” said DeEtta Cul­bert­son, Texas Ed­u­ca­tion Agency spokes­woman. “But ba­si­cally it’s go­ing to be de­ter­mined by the par­ents on where their chil­dren are and what they want to do.”

RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICANSTATESMAN

Cody Belcher, 17, of Vic­to­ria, waits out the hur­ri­cane Satur­day at the Wil­helmina Delco Cen­ter in Austin. Par­ents can en­roll their chil­dren in the pub­lic schools of the ar­eas where they take refuge.

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