US awards $589M to Puerto Rico’s education department

April 30, 2018 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor says the island’s Department of Education will receive $589 million in federal funds to help defray costs related to Hurricane Maria.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that the money will be released under the federal Restart program.

The funds come as Puerto Rico prepares to close 280 public schools amid an 11-year recession and a drop in enrollment. Officials say that enrollment has dropped by more than 38,700 students since just last May and that nearly half of the U.S. territory’s schools are using only 60 percent of their capacity.

Puerto Rico currently has more than 1,100 public schools that serve 319,000 students.