St. John school officials try new route for flood repairs - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

St. John Parish school officials try new route for flood repairs

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Reserve, La.- Thursday night, St. John Parish school leaders announced they are applying to a program developed in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy in an effort to move forward on much needed school repairs.

Officials said they are submitting an application to the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, rather than appealing the amount of money FEMA allocated to the district following Hurricane Isaac.

"The School District has decided not to pursue an appeal for either East St. John High School or Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School at this time.  We instead are submitting an application to FEMA's Alternative Procedures Pilot Program, which FEMA developed as a result of Super Storm Sandy," Superintendent Kevin George said. "This program will allow the School Board to maximize the available FEMA funding, while giving us the flexibility to repair these facilities in a manner best suited for the district's post-Isaac needs.  We believe this process is best suited to the repair these school and will result in a more timely return to normal operations."

Thursday, parents in Saint John Parish voiced frustrations at a school board meeting over delays in rebuilding several flood-damaged schools.

School district officials said FEMA has vastly underpaid for damages to East Saint John High School and Lake Concatenating Elementary.

However, parents argue that now, more than a year after Hurricane Isaac, they're tired of the hardships caused by the closed schools.

Some parents said school administrators should begin using money they already have in hand from FEMA to begin making repairs.

"There's finger-pointing going both ways. You know, so we don't know what to believe any more," said Cliff Turner, a parent.

"My house flooded during the storm. I lost a Toyota. I don't expect FEMA to pay me for an Astin-Martin when I lost a Toyota. You take what they give you and you make it work," one woman said.

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