It’s mid-October and kids in Port Aransas are finally going back to school in their own community. Classrooms have been closed in the Gulf Coast town since Harvey made landfall. Though Port Aransas Independent School District finally opened its doors, not all of the classrooms are quite where they need to be.
Schools were forced to close after Harvey because of extensive damage to the district’s facilities. Port Aransas kids have spent the first few weeks of the school year attending class in neighboring districts. Even as local schools return to operation, most students are in portable buildings, rather than their regular classrooms.
Sharon McKinney, the superintendent of Port Aransas ISD, says she has been advocating for funding and other help from the state, as the district works to get back on its feet.
“Working with insurance and finance and those kinds of things is kind of difficult to navigate through,” McKinney says, “just like it is for our community members and our business owners.”
McKinney says she told legislators in Austin last week that Port Aransas ISD could use support for mental health programs.
“Ninety percent of our students were displaced,” she says. “It’s a traumatic event for kids, and for our staff members, too.”
McKinney says some Port Aransas kids aren’t back in school yet because they don’t have a place to live.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.