The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 7, 2014

104 county students displaced by storms

Foundation fund available for storm relief donations

— The updated number of displaced county students from the April 28 storms has nearly doubled from last week, according to Limestone school officials after Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Blue Springs Elementary School and Clements High School have verified 104 students without permanent housing after EF3 twisters destroyed or heavily damaged at least 272 residences countywide on April 28.

Dr. Tom Sisk, superintendent of Limestone County Schools, said all homeless students are eligible to receive backpacks filled with school supplies, which are being provided by the Limestone County Department of Human Resources.

“We have 55 displaced students at Clements and 49 at Blue Springs, and those are the same names we gave to DHR for backpacks and supplies,” Sisk said.

Friends of Limestone County

The central office is accepting donations for storm relief through its revitalized foundation account, the Friends of Limestone County Fund. The nonprofit fund reopened this week and drew a quick response from the community.

“The first day some $1,800 was donated toward our affected students, and this money will be expended by (Principal Keith) Hairrell at Clements and (Principal Randy) Hamilton at Blue Springs,” Sisk said.

The superintendent said the tax-deductible, monetary donations would be used to replenish needed items for students, such as sneakers, blue jeans and pillows.

“You may send any monetary donation to any school, the central office or Compass Bank, and it will be deposited into this fund,” said Karen Tucker, spokeswoman for the school system. “The money will be accessible by the principals at these two schools to help those affected.”

Christmas in May 

New toys or clothing will be accepted in a new disaster-relief project patterned after the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Sisk said the donations will be taken at any of the school system’s 13 campuses, with the gift being distributed to a student impacted by the storms.

“We have people that don’t want to give money but want to give a toy, and this program will allow them to anonymously buy the item and then take it to a school office,” he said.

Sisk also said Blue Springs and Clements were both granted waivers from the state Superintendent of Education, Dr. Tommy Bice, to exempt from standardized testing this spring.

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