East Texas School Districts Will Enroll Children Of Evacuees

The Tyler Independent School District announced today it will start enrolling school aged children next week who may have relocated here following hurricane Katrina.

"We're staying positive," said Randy Ramirez who came from New Orleans with his wife and four children. "We put it in God's hands and we can't do nothing else. Everything in Tyler has been positive for us since we've been here and we are just trying to go where God leads us and so far things are, they're grim, but there's light at the end of the tunnel."

The light got a little closer for Ramirez and his family today. That's because starting next week, his children can go back to school.

"We believe it is up to us as a district to do what's best for these families and students, to our guests in our state who's education has been severely interrupted and postponed," said David Simmons, Tyler ISD Superintendent. TISD says it doesn't know how many students will be enrolling. But they say every school-aged child will be accepted.

"We are a large school district," said Simmons. "We serve approximately 17,500 students and almost 30 campuses, so we do believe we will be able to handle additional student loads that we will be getting." Right now, children at the shelters are trying to stay busy. Some play with toys, others play basketball in the gym, but parents like Ramirez say it's time to move on.

"We got to get them into school hopefully tomorrow," said Ramirez. "That way they can get themselves occupied and get their mind off what's going on." Ramirez realizes it may be a hard transition for his children, but knows its the best thing for them.

"As a parent, you are worried, but you just hope that everything turns out for the best," said Ramirez. "They are going to be out of school in New Orleans for awhile, so maybe this is the thing to do." The district says it will do everything they can to make that transition as easy as possible.

The school district also says it will provide transportation for those families that may not have it as well as free breakfast and lunch at the school. If you are interested in enrolling your children, stop by the Tyler ISD Administration Building. Enrollment will begin there Tuesday and go through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call the district for more information at 903-262-1000.

Also, the Jacksonville School District will start enrolling students tomorrow. If interested, stop by the Jacksonville ISD Administration Building or call them at 903-586-6511.

In Longview, members of the district will be at the Maude Cobb Activity Center, tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to enroll those children staying there. You can contact them at 903-381-2200.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com