Public assistance funds obligated to help local schools recover from Hurricane Katrina have topped $30 million in Mississippi, state and federal emergency management officials reported.
The grant awards were announced by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
School districts and educational institutions will be able to use the obligated grants to assist with debris removal, rebuilding their schools and for replacement of necessary equipment. Thousands of students of all ages have benefited from FEMA’s assistance in getting the schools back on line. FEMA’s Public Assistance program continues to work with schools on grants for more projects as the rebuilding effort continues.
“Schools are the heart of the community for many throughout Mississippi,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi recovery. “FEMA is proud to be able to help in providing the tools and funds through the Public Assistance program so students can have a safe, comfortable environment to continue to learn.”
Some examples of Public Assistance funds going to education include the Harrison County School District, which has been obligated more than $600,000 for replacing thousands of text books, repairing damaged roofs and mold remediation. The Bay St. Louis School District has been allocated more than $6.1 million dollars for building repairs. The University of Mississippi was obligated almost $600,000 for infrastructure repairs and emergency protective measures. Pass Christian School District has been obligated more than $14 million to help rebuild the Pass Christian Middle School which was demolished by Katrina.
“With federal and state coordination, Mississippi schools are making strides in rebuilding so students throughout our state can move forward with their education, and their lives can begin to return to some sense of normalcy,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham.
MEMA administers the Public Assistance programs for the state of Mississippi to reimburse eligible entities for costs incurred during disaster response and recovery efforts. Local governments, state agencies and private non-profit organizations across Mississippi use the funds to restore their communities and rebuild critical infrastructure.
Public Assistance grants reimburse not only school districts, but also local governments and certain private non-profit organizations for expenses related to a disaster. Government agencies, special districts and private non-profits can apply for disaster assistance by filing online at www.mississippipa.org.
The deadline to apply for Public Assistance is Jan. 29, 2006.
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