BIRMINGHAM - More than 3,100 children displaced by Hurricane Katrina have registered in Alabama's public schools.
Educators say more students are still coming from Louisiana and Mississippi. For now, school leaders say they are concentrating on making kids comfortable and continuing their education. But the state, known for underfunded schools, must figure out how to pay for the new students. A state schools spokesman said the federal government may help cover some of the cost of educating displaced students.
In Montgomery County, where about 150 new students have arrived, a school spokesman said the biggest problem is classroom space. All but a handful of public school systems have enrolled at least one child displaced by Katrina, and 34 systems have registered 20 or more students. Private schools also are getting new systems, and Roman Catholic schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties have received about 170 new students.
Large numbers of Katrina kids have shown up in schools in south Alabama and in large cities. The coastal counties of Baldwin and Mobile have added 480 new students. Huntsville and surrounding Madison County have registered nearly 200 new students, and Birmingham-area systems in Jefferson and Shelby counties have added more than 630 students.In Tuscaloosa County, which already had 16, 200 students, gained 73 new ones from Katrina.