Progress in 9/11 Aid to NY Schools Several Costs & Losses Still In Question
Costs to the City's school system that remain unapproved by FEMA and unresolved include $103 million for make-up school days needed because of lost instructional time following the disaster, $40 million for mental health care to students who have experienced trauma and other after-effects 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 after 9/11.
"We made real progress today in getting this decision from FEMA, but the remaining costs to the system still need to be met for the sake of New York's school kids," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY). "FEMA officials have said they may not have the authority to provide assistance in these remaining areas, but Director Allbaugh has told me that if he doesn't have the authority, then he and the administration will ask Congress for it and I'm hopeful that FEMA and the administration will do just that."
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) and Rep. Maloney introduced legislation three weeks ago to direct funds to the New York Board of Education for make-up school days, health care costs related to 9/11, and other costs related to 9/11 (HR 4663). Rep. Sweeney, a member of the Appropriations Committee from upstate New York, then offered an amendment to the annual supplemental appropriations bill in the House to authorize funds for the New York City Board of Education to cover its outstanding costs from 9/11. While the amendment did not pass in committee, the inclusion of funds in the Senate version today gives New York's members of Congress a chance to work together to ensure that the funds are included in the final conference report agreed to by both chambers.
FEMA had to date denied requests to help the school system for these expenses, saying in some cases that it may not have statutory authority and in other cases that the Board of Ed. has not yet asked for the funds. In response to the latter response, Deputy Chancellor for the Board of Ed., Tony Shorris, wrote to Sweeney and Maloney detailing numerous correspondence with FEMA and public statements from FEMA relating to this funding request. Still, Chancellor Levy wrote personally to FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh immediately, detailing the Board's remaining costs and losses related to 9/11. The Shorris letter can be viewed at https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/allbaugh.pdf and the Levy letter can be viewed at https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/chancellor.pdf The Sweeney, Maloney legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Nadler, Towns, Serrano, Crowley, Rangel, Engel, and Meeks. Senators Schumer and Clinton had introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The bill can be viewed at https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/nycschools.pdf
With the support of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, the Senate Appropriations Committee included funds last week in the Senate version of the supplemental appropriations bill, to help New York's school system recover costs related to 9/11. Maloney, Sweeney, Schumer, and Clinton are now working to make sure these funds are included in the final conference report agreed to by the House and Senate.