Katrina One Year Later: Students Remain

8-28-06 Nearly one year after thousands of Hurricane Katrina students sought refuge in Oklahoma schools, a third of them remain. In some cases, local schools offered an education no textbook could provide.

Twelve-year-old Tiffani Taylor was living in a New Orleans suburb with her mom, step-dad, and two siblings when Katrina roared ashore. They grabbed everything they could and headed north to the place Tiffani grew up, seeking shelter in an Ardmore apartment complex.

Ardmore public schools welcomed about seven students. Only Tiffani and her sister Tiana came back this year. That's the trend among most schools in the area, including Durant, Madill, Gainesville, Sherman and Denison.

Officials say the minute students walked in the door, their immediate focus was caring for them and offering psychological support. And while they hope another disaster of this magnitude doesn't strike again, they're prepared to answer the call.

Tiffani's family was lucky. Their home sustained only minor damage, and they were able to salvage their belongings.

Schools that enrolled evacuees get about $3,200 per student from the state to support the cost of education.