Oct 29, 2002
Press Release

New York, NY - The Bush Administration announced Tuesday that it would reimburse the NY Board of Education $80.5 million to make up for lost instructional time resulting from the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), who has been a leader in the fight to press FEMA for full reimbursement of expenses incurred as a result of 9/11, applauded the decision.

"I am happy to hear that New York's school children won't have to suffer because of Osama Bin Laden. I have no idea why this decision took so long, but I am glad FEMA decided to finally do the right thing. Now I hope they will quickly follow through on their promise to provide additional aid for mental health services for New York City school children," said Congresswoman Maloney in a statement today.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the NYC Board of Education submitted a memo to the City Administration and FEMA detailing the losses they incurred. They were told by FEMA that they were not eligible for assistance under FEMA guidelines.

A timeline for efforts for federal aid to New York City Schools after 9/11 follows. For a full history of Congresswoman Maloney's efforts to seek federal aid for NYC schools after 9/11, please go to:



(Prepared by the Office of Representative Carolyn B. Maloney)

Sept. 11, 2001 - Terrorists attack World Trade Center, deeply affecting New York City's school system, among other disaster-related impacts.

Sept. 21, 2001 - NYC Board of Education submits a memo to City administration, detailing losses from 9/11 at $136 million. The City then submits these and other reports on losses to FEMA.

Early October FEMA tells the Board that $102 million in losses from 9/11 are not eligible for federal assistance under FEMA guidelines.

October 29, 2001 - FEMA states that the school system would not be compensated for lost instructional time.

November 14, 2001 - New York Congressional Delegation, New York Governor's office, New York City Mayor's office, and New York City Board of Education draft amendment to FY02 Supplemental Appropriations bill , outlining the Delegation's proposed spending of the promised $20 billion. The "Walsh amendment" that is offered in the full committee mark up on November 14th contains provision for $110 million for the Board and provides authorization to provide that those funds are spent for lost instructional time. Amendment is not adopted.

May 3, 2002 - In response to FEMA inaction, Reps. Sweeney (R-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduce legislation (HR 4663) that directs federal authorities to provide assistance to the Board of Ed for the costs of make-up school days and other costs related to 9/11.

May 3, 2002 - Letter from Chancellor Levy to FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh details losses to the school system because of 9/11 and reiterates need for federal assistance. Letter is forwarded to FEMA.

May 7, 2002 - Board of Ed letter to Reps. Sweeney and Maloney details requests made for federal assistance to date, and the reasons for delays and inaction to date. Letter is forwarded to FEMA.

May 9, 2002 - Rep. Sweeney, a member of the Appropriations Committee from upstate New York, offers an amendment to the FY02 Supplemental Appropriations bill in Committee, to authorize the funds for the New York City Board of Education, but the amendment does not pass.

May 22, 2002 - Senators Schumer and Clinton are able to insert Report language in the Senate version of the annual supplemental bill.

June 3, 2002 - FEMA, after months of delays, finally provides the Board of Education with approximately $12 million for expenses out of $18.4 million requested for incurred costs because of the terrorist attacks, including environmental air testing of schools in close proximity to Ground Zero, improved air filters, and the purchase of replacement textbooks for students relocated from schools in the "Frozen Zone." However, numerous other costs remain unresolved.

June 5, 2002 - Reps. Maloney and Sweeney write to Director Allbaugh detailing costs of the City's school system that remain unapproved and unresolved by FEMA, including $103 million for make-up school days needed because of lost instructional time, $40 million for mental health care to students who have experienced trauma and other aftereffects from 9/11, $3 million in lost federal reimbursements the school system absorbed as a result of disruptions in cafeteria operations, and $1.9 million in transportation costs related to the movement of students.

June 7, 2002 - FEMA responds to multiple letters on the subject, saying it does not have statutory authority to provide assistance for the kinds of costs the school system absorbed because of 9/11.

June 2002 - Senator Clinton submits language for the FY02 Supplemental Appropriations bill to clarify the intent of Congress that FEMA provides aid to the Board of Education for make-up school days and transportation costs related to 9/11. However, the Bush administration, through FEMA or the Office of Management and Budget, does not publicly support Senator Clinton's legislative language. The legislative language would authorize FEMA to provide $102 million to the school system for these costs.

June 20, 2002 - Reps. Maloney and Sweeney write to Director Allbaugh again to clarify FEMA's position on whether or not legislative language in a Senate bill was sufficient to overcome the roadblocks identified so far by FEMA in providing the needed aid to the city.

July 11, 2002 - Members of the New York Congressional Delegation write to OMB Director Mitch Daniels, urging the administration to support efforts in the Senate to direct FEMA to allocate the funds for the school system.

July 11, 2002 - After two months, FEMA responds to Chancellor Levy's May 7, 2002, letter and does not request more information and refers to FEMA's letter of June 7, 2002.

July 16, 2002 - Mayor Bloomberg sends letter to OMB Director Daniels asking his support for the Senate efforts.

Director Allbaugh, in a meeting with the New York State Congressional Delegation, states, that the Board of Ed no longer exists and that he cannot provide the requested assistance since the Board of Education's request had changed.

July 22, 2002 - Rep. Maloney sends letter to Director Allbaugh stating that the Board does exist and that their request changed due to FEMA's delays in responding. Thus, the Board cannot extend the school year to make up for the lost instructional time.

July 23, 2002 -  The Supplemental Appropriations bill passes the House of Representatives without providing the necessary authority. The legislation does not include the necessary authority, because the administration objected to the language being added.

September 14, 2002 - Congresswoman Maloney holds press conference with Senators Clinton and Schumer to push FEMA to provide full reimbursement. Letter is sent to FEMA Director Allbaugh. To view the letter: 

October 17, 2002 - HR 5676, "The Disaster Relief for Our Schools Act" Introduced in Congress by Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Serrano. Legislation would return authority to the U.S. Department of Education for providing assistance to school districts following a disaster. In 1994, responsibility for disaster assistance officially was transferred from the Department of Education to FEMA under the Stafford Act.