FY19 Puerto Rico USVI Hurricane Relief
In March 2019, DESE began issuing $15 million in state funding to assist districts serving students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands displaced by the fall 2017 hurricanes.
DESE allocated these funds based on each qualifying district's fiscal year 2019 foundation budget per pupil. This rate was adjusted by each district's Chapter 70 aid as a percent of foundation so that the supplemental funding reflects the same level of state support that districts are receiving. The adjusted rate was converted to a daily rate by dividing by 180 days.
We assume that each student enrolled as of October 1, 2018 will be enrolled for the balance of the school year so the total days attributed to each displaced student equals the number of days that they were enrolled up to and including October 1 plus the balance of days remaining in the school year not to exceed 180. These students are now being counted in each eligible district's foundation enrollment for fiscal year 2020.
Based on October 1 data, there are 2,011 displaced students enrolled in the Commonwealth, which equals a total entitlement of $17.6 million. We are prorating this amount by 85.2 percent to stay within the limits of the appropriation.
These funds should be treated like grant funds and deposited in a separate account so that they can be spent without further action on the part of the local appropriating authority. We will also pre-populate these funds in the state grants section of the fiscal year 2019 End of Year Financial Report. While we encourage districts to fully expend these funds in fiscal year 2019, any unspent funds can carryforward to fiscal year 2020.