After Katrina and the subsequent levee failures and flooding, more than 70,000 New Orleans-area students were spread across 46 states. The largest concentration was in Texas, with about 44,000. In Michigan, students enrolled in districts from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Legislature amended the school aid budget bill to allow for public schools to count Katrina students toward the $6,875 foundation grant districts receive for each student. The state, in turn, will receive $6,000 to $7,500 for each student from the federal government, depending on whether they received general education or special education services.
Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman from the Michigan Department of Education, said Michigan schools reported 571 relocated students in October of 2005. That enrollment number fell during the course of the school year, but there were still 379 students in Michigan at the end of the academic year. Ellis said she was not sure if the state would continue to keep track of these students as the 2006-2007 school year begins.
“At this point, it looks like the feds are only going to pay for the one year,” she said. “If these kids are still here in the fall, if their families have moved here permanently, then they’ll be included in the regular district count days and the schools will get a foundation allowance grant, just like any other student.”