Louisiana – The Superintendent of Education in Louisiana, Cecil Picard, urged school systems to find placement for the 150,000 public school students displaced by the Hurricane. He expects New Orleans schools and neighboring St. Bernard Parish to shut down the public school system for the entire year. Once flood waters recede it may be that some schools no longer exist. Picard said districts should be flexible in applying teaching licenses so teachers in Louisiana districts that have been displaced can teach in other stated accepting displaced students. The superintendent said FEMA money is available for 75 percent of the cost of adding portable buildings. These buildings are to be used for displaced students. Hopefully federal officials will be persuaded to waive the 25 percent local match. In Lafayette, East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Caddo parishes are being asked to absorb roughly 135,000 students. These four parishes have the largest shelters in the state. Lafayette Parish public schools have more then 50 percent of students in portable classrooms.

For any questions from families or teachers, the state education officials can be reached through the superintendent’s office hot line, 1-877-453-2721 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.