A number of Iowa school districts are busy working to track down students displaced by tornadoes or flooding during the summer break. Funding from the state is based on enrollment, so if a district faces a sudden drop in students this Fall, the budget could suffer.
The director of the Iowa Department of Education, Judy Jeffrey, is encouraging districts to find out which students are returning and which ones have moved away for good. She says even if a student returns at mid-year, the district can count them in the Fall enrollment. However, the district will have to share that money if the student plans to attend a different school temporarily.
Jeffrey says most small districts have students that moved out of town to live with relatives, but will return to the district once their family’s home is rebuilt. Cedar Rapids Superintendant Dave Markward faces the toughest challenge…more than 18-hundred students in his district were displaced by flooding.
"I know that he will be able to take his busses into the surrounding communities where the kids are living and bring them back to Cedar Rapids to be educated," Jeffrey said. "So there’s all kinds of creative ways that people are thinking about not harming the district in the future because of the way our financial formula operates."
A report issued last week by the Department of Education shows Iowa schools suffered over 60 million dollars in flood and storm damage. The Waverly-Shell Rock School District has 260 displaced students, Wapello 120 and Dike New Hartford 100.
The Applington Parkersburg High School was destroyed by a tornado and 50 students will have to attend classes in other buildings. Mason City, Cedar Falls, Tipton, Columbus, Union and Mediapolis also reported students that won’t be able to attend school at their normal building this fall.