New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta announced a fund raising effort to help schools and communities hit by Hurricane Harvey on the gulf coast of Texas.
Houston and surrounding areas were slammed with more than 50 inches of rainfall after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and the recovery is expected to take years in some communities. So far at least 30 deaths have been attributed to the storm.
“As this catastrophic storm ravages Houston and southeast Texas, NYSUT stands with educators, students and their families in mourning the heart-breaking losses there,” Pallotta said in a statement. “Along with my fellow officers, I am extremely worried about conditions for teaching and learning when the floodwaters finally recede.”
The Houston Independent School District is Texas’ largest school district and provides facilities for more than 200,000 students. The school board has announced, along with most school districts surrounding Houston, a cancellation of what would have been the first week of school. They will remain closed through September 5 to allow for waters to recede and the clean up effort to begin.
“NYSUT is today activating its Disaster Relief Fund to receive donations and urges members and locals to contribute generously,” Pallotta continued. “NYSUT will coordinate with its national affiliates — the AFT and NEA — to make sure that our union brothers and sisters and affected communities, receive whatever help and relief we can provide as they try to get back on their feet during the long recovery period ahead.”
The 600,000-member state teachers’ union will coordinate with national unions the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in forwarding donations to areas hit hardest.
Donations can be made here.