The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report on School Districts in Socially Vulnerable Communities Faced Heightened Challenges after Recent Natural Disasters.This report was done in response to Since 2017, there being over 300 presidentially-declared major disasters have occurred across all 50 states and all U.S. territories. Many of these disasters have had devastating effects on K-12 schools, including those in socially vulnerable communities for whom disaster recovery is more challenging.
The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 included provisions for GAO to audit issues related to certain recent disasters. This report reviews (1) the extent to which school districts that received key federal disaster recovery grants served students from selected socially vulnerable groups, (2) the recovery experiences of selected K-12 school districts in socially vulnerable communities, and (3) the extent to which Education's Restart program supports school disaster recovery.
GAO analyzed disaster-related data from FEMA and Education including data on Restart grants and program documentation, and reviewed relevant federal laws and agency guidance. GAO also collected information from five school districts in three states, selected for demographic diversity, elevated rates of social vulnerability in their community, and receipt of Restart grants. In addition, GAO interviewed officials from FEMA and Education.The full report can be found here: Disaster Recovery: School Districts in Socially Vulnerable Communities Faced Heightened Challenges after Recent Natural Disasters | U.S. GAO
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