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PRESS RELEASE

December 21, 2004

Jacob Dipietre
(850) 488-5394

MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush Awards $12 Million for School Districts Severely Impacted by Hurricanes

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush today awarded more than $12 million to aid the most heavily impacted school districts from the 2004 hurricanes. The district relief was provided through a budget amendment signed by the Governor. Along with facilities damage, many families, teachers and essential personnel in these communities have been displaced as a result of hurricane related damages.

"This has been a difficult hurricane season for all Floridians, and many families have made great sacrifices as a result," Governor Bush said. "Our schools are an essential building block to our communities, and it is a priority to get them back on track. This additional funding should help these school districts that experienced the greatest impact recover, as well as assist students and teachers in reclaiming their normal lives."

The school districts receiving funding include:

Charlotte County School District $3,930,038
DeSoto County School District $304,502
Escambia County School District $3,303,788
Hardee County School District $373,107
Indian River County $318,755
Martin County School District       $1,052,373
Osceola County $707,933
Santa Rosa County School District $860,602
St. Lucie County School District $1,236,493

"Even during these difficult times the education community has stepped up to great challenges," Education Commissioner John Winn said.

"Our schools have served as shelters, our teachers as volunteers, and maintenance workers have done tremendous work to get our schools back online. These efforts, along with Governor Bush's commitment, have helped our communities rise and our schools quickly place the focus back on student achievement."

After the impact of each hurricane, Governor Bush quickly made education a priority. The Governor signed several Executive Orders beginning the waiver process to provide districts flexibility in making up missed school days, administration of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and other financial deadlines. The Department of Education has worked closely with affected school districts seeking waivers and providing guidance to get the school year back on track.