Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

School district braces for Gulf Coast evacuees

September 8, 2005

Administrators in the Basehor-Linwood School District are preparing for the possibility that additional students -- now without schools because of Hurricane Katrina -- soon could enroll in classes.

Whether any students from the Gulf Coast already have enrolled in Basehor-Linwood could not be confirmed as of press time Wednesday. However, district officials said speculation from various schools throughout the district indicated between five and 10 students soon could enroll.

The timing of those potential students' enrollment could present a problem for the school district. State aid payments, based on a per-student formula, will be determined by the district's head count Sept. 20.

"As long as they trickle in before September 20 we'll get funding for them," said Don Swartz, director of business operations. "After September 20, you would get no aid for them, barring any special arrangement.

"Whether that will happen or what those special arrangements might be, nobody knows. The state doesn't even know the answer to that."

While Basehor-Linwood administrators are discussing circumstances around the Hurricane Katrina evacuees' need for an educational home, some district educators are urging the public to help find an actual home for those left homeless from the natural disaster.

In a blanket e-mail sent out last week, Basehor-Linwood High School teacher David Svoboda asked those with "a spare room, extra bed, even a decent couch" post a housing offer on the Web site, www.hurricanehousing.org for refugees seeking shelter.

"I just posted my own offer," Svoboda wrote. "I hope you will, too, or pass this on to people you know in the southeast.

"Housing is most urgently needed within reasonable driving distance (about 300 miles) of the affected areas, especially New Orleans. Though we're nearly 1,000 miles away, I felt that this was the least I could do."

Other schools in the district are participating in Hurricane relief as well. According to the school district, Basehor Elementary School and BLHS are collecting goods and donations for victims of the tragedy in the Gulf.

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