GREGORY-PORTLAND (KIII NEWS) - There are now more than 1,000 extra students who have enrolled in the Gregory-Portland Independent School District as a direct result of Hurricane Harvey.
The storm left their own schools in shambles, yet Gregory-Portland is one of several area districts that have stepped up to give displaced students a way to attend class.
With their own schools destroyed or extremely damaged by Hurricane Harvey, many of those displaced students will be unable to return for months.
Of course, with more students comes a greater need for school supplies, so a supply drive was held Wednesday.
The Portland Chamber of Commerce gathered thousands of dollars worth of school supplies and also set up a GoFundMe account. Chamber officials said cash donations are preferred and they may need up to $20,000 to cover costs.
"The money coming in would be better spent because then we can reach out to the schools and see exactly what their needs are, and be able to get what they need instead of 4,000 things of crayons," Chamber President Colette Walls said.
District 43 State Rep. J.M. Lozano is holding a town hall meeting Thursday at Gregory-Portland High School to try and help those students and their parents get any of their questions or concerns answered by the state agencies charged with helping them in their recovery from Harvey.
"It's a town hall to get people in one centralized location in terms of state agencies," Lozano said. "TWIA will be there. TEA will be there as well. We have a tremendous amount of students who are temporarily attending other school districts. The TEA will be there to answer questions as well."
Transportation for those students is another big concern for State Rep. Todd Hunter.
"We've run into issues we've never seen, like what do you do with the homeless?" Hunter said. "Well almost everyone is homeless in certain areas right now, so we need to get them transportation for their kids to schools in the surrounding areas."
District officials said they are looking into possibly bringing in portable buildings and hiring extra teachers to handle the extra students who are now enrolled in their schools.
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