The Bay (Fla.) school district, hit hard last year by Hurricane Michael, will receive a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide students with mental health services.
The Education Department has announced that the district will use Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant to to hire social workers and paraprofessionals.
“Hurricane Michael caused major disruptions to the lives and daily routines of students, parents and teachers alike,” says Betsy DeVos, education secretary. “While the state has recovered from most of the physical damage caused by the storm, many in Bay County are still working to recover emotionally. This SERV grant will help fill that need.
The storm struck Bay County in October 2018 and caused significant damage to the area in and around Panama City.
The Bay school district, which had about 28,000 students before the hurricane, had 3,679 fewer students in Michael's aftermath.
Because of facility damage and the precipitous enrollment drop, the district has temporarily closed three of its elementary schools. Administrators estimate that the district will lose $12.4 million in revenue for 2018-19 because of the enrollment drop. For 2019-20, the estimated revenue loss is $24.8 million.
Last week, the Bay district announced that students in all of its non-charter schools will be offered free breakfast and lunch every day at school.
The Panama City News Herald reports that federal officials have approved funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program.