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No Spike From Ike

Schools across Texas’ Gulf Coast are still recovering from Hurricane Ike, which devastated the region when it struck Saturday. The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston’s schools will be closed for a week, due to power outages, but reopening dates for other districts in the area remain unclear.

The Texas Education Agency hasn’t encouraged school districts to start enrolling the thousands of displaced children across the state, as it did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to the Dallas Morning News. Since it is uncertain when schools that suffered damage from Ike will reopen, the decision to enroll is being left up to evacuated parents.

“We’re asking parents to be the ones to make the decision what to do, based on their own personal situations,” Ms. Culbertson, a spokeswoman for TEA, told the newspaper. “If they know they’ll be in shelter less than a week, then trying to enroll those kids would almost be ineffective.”

So far, communities hosting large amounts of displaced families aren’t reporting enrollment spikes related to the storm. The reasons for this apparent lack of interest is unclear, given the scope of damage to schools. TEA officials contacted 206 school districts and charter schools on Sunday to gauge the damage, but received only about 30 responses by midday Monday, citing power outages and downed phone lines.

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