Students arriving from Houston could strain Austin school district

The school system in Austin, the capital city of Texas, faces a potential crisis as thousands of Harvey evacuees arriving from the Houston area look to enroll their children in Austin's schools.

Austin school district Superintendent Paul Cruz and Austin Mayor Steve Adler have scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to address how the district plans to accommodate students displaced from Houston, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Although the exact number of incoming students remains unclear, school leaders have said they are anticipating “thousands.”

Monday was supposed to be the first day of class for many schools in Texas but because of the flooding and other damage caused by Harvey, more than 160 public school districts and 30 charter schools were closed, the New York Times reported.

Houston is the state’s largest school district and the seventh largest in the nation, with about 215,000 students enrolled -- most of them from low-income families. Some schools hope to reopen by Tuesday, although damage to school buildings has yet to be assessed.

Students whose families fled from Houston will be able to attend schools in the areas to which they relocated because of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that took effect in 1987, the American-Statesman reported.

Issues with which the Austin district expects to deal in the coming weeks include overcrowding and a lack of funding.

Meanwhile, at least four school districts in south Texas -- Port Aransas, Ingleside, Skidmore-Tynan and Seashore Charter -- are closed indefinitely as the region deals with the impact of Harvey.