West I. S.D. to receive $2.75 million from FEMA - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WEST

West I.S.D. to receive $2.75 million from FEMA

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West I.S.D. announced on Wednesday that they will receive $2.75 million dollars from FEMA to help in the construction of temporary facilities.

On April 19th, two days after the explosion, FEMA issued an Emergency Disaster Declaration for the town of West. Since then, West I.S.D. has been waiting for FEMA to give them immediate financial assistance to help the school district get their students back on their campuses.

"At 2.75 million that will help pay for Phase One of the West I.S.D. "Rise Up" campaign," West I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. "That is to put all of our students here in West ISD beginning August 26th of this school year."

Dr. Crawford says there are a few restrictions the school district will have to follow with the incoming funds. West I.S.D. can only use the money on educational facilities such as, but not limited to, science and computer labs, so they won't be allowed to finance the reconstruction of any extracurricular facilities.

But the biggest obstacle the school district faces is that they can only build temporary facilities with the money they receive. That's because Category B funds for emergency disaster relief will not allow permanent buildings to be built with that money.

"You cannot put these dollars into a structure that will be a permanent structure. So whatever temporary facility we put up here qualifies under this Category B funding from FEMA," Crawford said. "Over time, in the next two or three or four years once our schools get rebuilt these facilities will have to disappear."

The school district plans to use the money on 20-plus temporary classroom buildings, a temporary cafeteria and a temporary structure that would serve as a second gym. Dr. Crawford says the school district has already decided where these facilities will go, they were just waiting for the financial help.

"Those decisions have already been made, and we have been waiting for the actual dollars to be wired to West I.S.D. so we can actually begin funding those projects," Crawford said.

Although West I.S.D. is only receiving $2.75 million they are still eligible to receive more money for temporary facilities if needed.

The school district is also working to get money from their insurance company, and they are waiting to hear how much of the $10 million from the state's Rainy Day fund they will receive.

FEMA is currently reviewing the state's appeal to declare West a "major disaster", but Dr. Crawford is optimistic all those funds will come in to help the school district create a permanent home.

"I have extreme confidence that this is just an initial sign that FEMA will stand right beside us, along with the federal government, along with the state of Texas, and help the school children of West I.S.D.," Crawford said.

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