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TEA Correspondence

A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.

June 5, 2007

To the Administrator Addressed:

The purpose of this letter is to address concerns raised by some school administrators regarding the use of school buses in the event of a mandatory evacuation related to an approaching catastrophic hurricane or other unforeseen hazard.  Section 418.017 of the Government Code, authorizes the Governor to “use all available resources of state government and political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with a disaster.”  Public schools are required by state law to respond to requests for resources during a time of declared disaster.  An important lesson from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is that it is imperative that those individuals with special needs or a lack of transportation be evacuated from surge zones prior to the arrival of tropical storm winds.  To do so will require the use of public school buses.

On January 28, 2004, Governor Rick Perry, by Executive Order, designated Mayors and County Judges as the Emergency Management Directors for their respective political subdivisions in accordance with sections 418.102, 418.103, and 418.105 of the Texas Disaster Act.  Furthermore, the 79th Legislature provided Mayors and County Judges the authority to call for the mandatory evacuation of their political subdivision. 

Public schools are required by state law to respond to requests for resources during a time of a declared disaster.  School administrators are directed to work closely with local first responders and Emergency Management Directors in their areas to ensure public school resources are made available in the event that a disaster may require the need of public school buses for evacuation and school facilities for temporary shelter.  Both of these public school resources can play an
extremely important role in protecting the life and well-being of Texans from all hazards. 


Shirley J. Neeley, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Education

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