Almost a year after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, displacing many families on that island, the Hillsborough County Public Schools will be reimbursed by the federal government for helping K-12 students displaced by that storm. 

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., announced on Monday that the federal government is reimbursing Hillsborough County Public Schools $1.4 million for hosting around 1,500 K-12 students from Puerto Rico, of whom around 70 percent have stayed for the 2018-2019 school year. 

“Hillsborough teachers, caseworkers and the school district aided students and families from Puerto Rico to ensure that their education was not disrupted in the wake of one of the most serious disasters in American history. I am very proud of their dedication to the education of these students and support for families,” Castor said on Monday. 

“Students were seamlessly placed in the classroom the same day they showed up to school to enroll without burdening families with proof of school records or other documents they might have lost in the wake of Hurricane Maria,” Castor continued. “This was the first step in re-establishing normalcy and recovery for these displaced families.”

Castro also noted on Monday that the federal government is reimbursing the University of South Florida (USF) around $171,000 for its efforts to help displaced students. 

Originally part of a federal budget act signed into law by President Donald Trump in February, the funds were allocated by the U.S. Department of Education to Florida last month to distribute to local districts. 

First elected to Congress in 2006, Castor is set to continue to serve in Congress. Castor faced no opposition in last month’s primary and she faces no opponents in November’s general election. She represents parts of Hillsborough County including most of Tampa. 

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