Acadia Parish schools to receive grants
CROWLEY – In conjunction with local and state recovery efforts, six schools throughout Acadia Parish will receive public assistance grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for repair work done to the schools following Hurricane Gustav.
In September 2008, Gustav’s high winds and rain caused damages to three Acadia Parish high schools (Crowley High School, Rayne High School and Midland High School), two elementary schools (Branch Elementary School and Richard Elementary School) and one middle school (Armstrong Middle School). The six schools offer an educational home to nearly 2,400 students.
“While most people think of Hurricane Katrina when they hear about ongoing recovery efforts in Louisiana, the reality is that last year’s hurricanes, Gustav and Ike, also caused significant damages throughout the state – including damages to crucial infrastructure such as schools,” said Tony Russell, acting director of Louisiana’s Transitional Recovery Office. “In Acadia Parish, several public schools incurred damages from Hurricane Gustav, and FEMA’s recent funding will help ensure our future leaders have quality educational facilities in which to learn.”
“Children of all ages in Acadia Parish will benefit from restoring these schools, and it’s great that the work is being done well before the first anniversary of Hurricane Gustav,” said Paul Rainwater, Louisiana Recovery Authority’s executive director. “We remain committed to helping all of the parishes affected by both the 2005 and 2008 storms rebuild safer, smarter and stronger.”
In total, the six schools will receive $56,259 in federal funding as reimbursement for completed repair work, including repairs that were made to roofs and vents, ceiling tiles and covered walkways.
“For the second time in the past few years, we have applied to FEMA for assistance with funding hurricane related repair costs not covered by our insurance, and they have provided guidance to our district in completing the necessary paperwork, inspecting our schools, and ultimately covered a significant portion of the repair costs,” said Acadia Parish School Board Executive Director of Finance Mike Leonards. “With this assistance, funds that would have been spent on repairs were made available for educational purposes. While I hope that we do not need assistance in the future, our past experiences with FEMA have been positive.”
During his first day in office, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order directing the Louisiana Recovery Authority to be responsible for the state’s actions with regard to FEMA’s Public Assistance program. The LRA is working in conjunction with GOHSEP and its federal partners to identify ways to streamline the Public Assistance process and improve efficiency, with the ultimate goal of cutting in half the length of time that applications spend in the process.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations’ buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.