Portal enables donors to help Harvey-stricken schools
State Capital Highlights
AUSTIN — Texas Education Commissioner Morath on Oct. 17 announced that school systems needing instructional materials — either because of enrollment of students displaced by Hurricane Harvey or from property damage caused by the hurricane — can create an online list for donors to access.
Potential donors can find the lists through the Texas Education Agency’s Instructional Materials Assistance web page: https://tea.texas.gov/Academics/Hurricane_Harvey_Instructional_Materials_Assistance/.
“From the initial days of the hurricane, many people have stepped forward wanting to help.
The TEA Instructional Materials Assistance web page provides a way to see what school districts truly need and then allow for those needs to be met,” Morath said.
Morath called the electronic system a type of “wedding registry” where school districts can post their instructional materials needs.
Donors can elect to fulfill a district’s needs list completely or in part, and the agency’s educational materials ordering system updates the list to help avoid duplication of supply donations.
To date, 14 school districts have created needs lists in the system. The materials on those lists total approximately $1.2 million.
The system has paired three potential donating districts with three districts in need. One district has already indicated all its identified needs are filled.
Declaration is renewed
Gov. Greg Abbott on Oct. 20 issued a proclamation renewing his ongoing disaster declaration for 60 Texas counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Lone Star State in late August.
Disaster counties include: Aransas, Austin, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton, Wilson, Angelina, Atascosa, Bastrop, Burleson, Bexar, Brazos, Caldwell, Cameron, Comal, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Jasper, Kerr, Lee, Leon, Madison, Milam, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Washington and Willacy.
Abbott suspends rules
Gov. Abbott on Oct. 16 extended for 30 days a temporary waiver suspending vehicle registration and inspection rules for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
The extension allows Texans who reside in any of 48 counties included in the federal disaster declaration to avoid penalties for failure to timely register a vehicle or obtain a vehicle inspection.
Debris removal continues
The Texas Division of Emergency Management on Oct. 20 reported that nearly 7.5 million cubic yards of Hurricane Harvey debris had been collected so far.
The Texas Department of Transportation, individually, reported on Oct. 16 that its employees had removed more than 10 million cubic feet of debris in the four districts most impacted by Hurricane Harvey since landfall Aug. 25.
From Corpus Christi to Beaumont and towns in between those cities, TxDOT crews, composed of more than 600 employees working in weekly rotations, have worked to help clear roadways and help citizens in their ongoing recovery efforts.
Of the 25 requests for debris removal TxDOT has received, work has been completed in 10 counties and cities, the agency said.
TEA releases reports
Preliminary Texas Academic Performance Reports are now available online at tea.state.tx.us, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Oct. 17.
These reports provide campus-level, district-level, regional and statewide details of academic performance with information about staff, programs and demographics.
Final ratings following the resolution of district appeals of preliminary academic accountability ratings are scheduled for release on Nov. 16.
Zika data is reported
Information posted by the Texas Department of State Health Services on Oct. 17 shows that some 429 individuals residing in Texas were on the federal Centers for Disease Control’s Zika Pregnancy Registry.
The registry includes pregnant women with laboratory evidence of Zika infection and their infants, regardless of laboratory evidence.
To be reported as a Zika disease case in pregnancy, the pregnant woman must have had at least one clinical sign or symptom compatible with Zika and also have a positive Zika test result, according to the DSHS.
Former justice dies
Texas Supreme Court Justice Ted Z. Robertson, 96, who served on the high court from 1982 through 1988, died at his home in Dallas on Oct. 13.
Robertson served as a Dallas County probate and juvenile judge and as a state district judge in Dallas County before he was elected to the Texas Supreme Court.