CCISD responds to effects of NASA job losses on families
As Clear Creek school district starts to see effects of recent NASA job losses on students, district officials are raising awareness about resources available for families experiencing financial uncertainty.
The "Clear Creek ISD Cares" program, initiated in response to the 1,000 NASA job cuts on Oct. 1, offers advice about coping with job loss and information about the free or reduced-price lunch program and the free prekindergarten program.
The program also offers information on where to go for help with extracurricular activities and community services.
Additionally, if there is a change in living circumstances, the district is allowing students to remain at the school they have been attending.
"We know so many families are facing very difficult times," Clear Creek spokeswoman Elaina Polsen said.
"As a school system, it is critical for us to extend our hand to remove the stigma associated with asking for help."
While Polsen doesn't know the number of district families affected by the recent layoffs, she said NASA is one of the largest employers in the district, which counts about 38,000 students in 43 schools.
"There is a huge concentration of NASA families in Clear Creek and the surrounding school districts," Polsen said.
She said that while most of the resources listed in the district's care program are nothing new, it was important to put together a package to make families aware of what the district has to offer.
"This isn't information we would normally give children to take home," Polsen said. "We want children to maintain a sense of normalcy at school, even when things might be falling apart at home."
Changes in residence
Polsen said the district already is seeing much mobility among families struggling to pay their mortgages.
The district is allowing students to remain at their schools when their families have to downsize to an apartment within the district or move out of the district temporarily to stay with relatives or friends.
"We want students to remain at the school they've been attending," Polsen said.
Funds are available to help cover such things as uniform costs or instrument-rental fees for extracurricular activities, Polsen said.
Parents should contact the school counselor, coach or sponsor.
"We don't want children removed from activities because (parents) can't afford them," Polsen said. "We want to keep them connected to education."
While the NASA layoffs prompted the district's response, Polsen said a general economic downturn is being felt throughout the district, as evidenced by the three additional elementary schools expected to qualify for Title 1 funding next year.
Weber, Clear Lake City and Bay elementaries will be added to the list of Title 1 schools, which means they qualify for additional federal funding based on the number of students in the free or reduced-price lunch program and other family income related factors.
District Title 1 elementary schools in the district also include McWhirter, Stewart, League City, Whitcomb and Greene.
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