Disaster Relief and Federal Grant Funding

Refer to this page for information regarding federal grant funding related to disaster relief.

Hurricane Harvey

In late August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and traveled over the Gulf Coast of Texas. High winds, record amounts of rain, and flooding caused massive damage and affected millions of Texans, including Texas school children.

Local educational agencies (LEAs) in counties included in Governor Abbott's disaster declaration may have lost equipment or facilities. LEAs that received evacuee students were required to provide services on an emergency basis. In both cases, it is possible that federal grant funds may be used to help mitigate the effects of the disaster and improve student safety. In addition, some requirements applicable to the expenditure of federal grant funds may be eligible for waiver or extension.

The department has prepared the information and resources on this page to aid LEAs in the proper and allowable disaster-related expenditure of federal grant funds. These resources are directed specifically to LEAs impacted by Hurricane Harvey (either LEAs located in counties identified in the governor’s disaster declaration or LEAs receiving evacuee students).

With any further questions about Hurricane Harvey and the expenditure of federal grant funds, email grants@tea.texas.gov.

Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) FAQs 

Restart FAQs for LEAs

Restart FAQs for Private Nonprofit Schools

Impact on Federal Grant Funds: Guidance and FAQ

GCO has prepared a Hurricane Harvey Guidance and FAQ (V1, 09/14/2017) regarding the impact of the disaster on federal grant funds.

Procurement Process and Forms

One allowable use of a non-competitive procurement is a public exigency or emergency that will not allow for a delay in services, caused by the competitive solicitation process. In the event of an emergency, such as Hurricane Harvey, a grant recipient may choose to solicit a noncompetitive proposal from only one source to avoid delay in procuring items or services (2 CFR 200.320(f)(2)).

Local educational agencies (LEAs) in Texas affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey may need to use the noncompetitive proposal method of procurement to quickly purchase needed items or services. When using the noncompetitive procurement method, all costs must still be allowable under the specific program.

For example, an LEA that received damage from Hurricane Harvey may need to quickly replace or acquire materials or services that were damaged, destroyed, or lost in the storms.  Also, an LEA receiving a number of evacuated students may need to choose the noncompetitive procurement option to more quickly procure needed items or services to be able to serve the unexpected growth in enrollment numbers.

NOTE:

This type of noncompetitive procurement is only applicable during a short period of time after the emergency. It is not generally applicable after the immediate needs have been met.

LEAs that determine a need for noncompetitive procurement are not required to obtain prior approval from TEA. Local documentation on how the determination was made would be kept locally. However, if the LEA prefers to obtain prior approval from TEA as their documentation for auditors, appropriate forms are available below.

  1. For LEAs located in counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration that received damages in the storms, an automatically approved form is available for downloading. Submission to TEA is not required.
  2. For LEAs outside the counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration that enrolled evacuated students from Hurricane Harvey, a prior approval request may be submitted to the Associate Commissioner for Grants Compliance and Oversight.  Approvals will be processed within three business days.

Waiver and Extension of Federal Requirements

Texas intends to apply to the US Department of Education (USDE) for the waivers listed below on behalf of LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey. Before the application can be submitted, TEA must allow time for public comment.

Due to the need to provide timely flexibility to LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey, all comments on these proposed waivers are due by Friday, September 29, 2017, by email to grants@tea.texas.gov.

Once TEA reviews any comments received and makes any appropriate modifications, the comments will be submitted to USDE as part of the state’s waiver requests. When TEA receives USDE approval of the waiver requests, additional information will be provided to LEAs on the implementation of the waivers through a statewide To the Administrator Addressed letter.

Background

LEAs receive a variety of federal education funds based on statutory formulas. These funds have a period of availability of 27 months.

  • 2015–2016 carryover funds into 2016-2017 are only available for obligation through September 30, 2017.
  • 2016–2017 federal funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2018.
  • 2017–2018 federal funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2019.

Funds must be expended for allowable activities to serve the program’s intended beneficiaries. It is anticipated that LEAs will expend more federal funds in the 2017-2018 school year to serve the intended beneficiaries of the program areas with allowable uses of funds, in both affected LEAs and in LEAs that enroll evacuee students displaced by Hurricane Harvey due to needing to meet needs of students.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast region beginning on August 25, 2017, and heavily impacted LEA operations in over 300 LEAs. Sixty counties have been identified in the governor’s disaster declaration.

The state believes that the following waivers will provide LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey with greater flexibility to effectively implement their federal education grants to serve the intended beneficiaries.

Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Waiver

    TEA intends to apply for a waiver of MOE requirements under Section 300.203 of 34 CFR for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (IDEA-B) and Section 8521 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

      This waiver will allow LEAs who have large variances in expenditures of state and local funds due to events caused by a natural disaster to have more time to recover and return to normal levels of effort.  

      Title I, Part A Carryover Limitation Waiver

       

      TEA intends to apply for a waiver of Section 1127(a) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that limits carryover to 15% for Title I, Part A funds.

      This waiver would allow LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey to carry over a greater percentage of their 2016-2017 Title I, Part A funds to use during the 2017-2018 school year to meet new identified needs. 

      Extend the Period of Availability

      TEA intends to apply for a waiver of 421(b) of GEPA (Tydings Amendment) to extend the period of availability of FY2016 (School Year 2016-2017) federal grant funds to September 30, 2019, for the state and all of its eligible LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey.

      This waiver would extend the "life" of the funds for another year. This will allow the state and eligible LEAs to have more time to expend these funds to meet new identified needs.

      Extend the Liquidation Period

      TEA intends to apply for a waiver of 34 CFR 76.703 to extend the liquidation period for obligations made during the award period for FY 2015 (school year 2015-2016) for federal grant funds for the state and all of its eligible LEAs affected by Hurricane Harvey.

      This waiver would extend the amount of time eligible LEAs have to liquidate federal grant funds for obligations made during the grant period. This will allow eligible LEAs to have more time to receive goods and services that may have been interrupted by the natural disaster.

      Contact Information

      With questions about the impact of Hurricane Harvey on federal funds, contact the department as follows:

      Contact Information for the Department and Divisions