West I. S.D. to receive $2.75 million from FEMA - KXXV Central Texas News Now


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


West I.S.D. announced on Wednesday that they will receive $2.75 million dollars from FEMA to help in theconstruction 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 millionthat 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 toput all of our students here in West ISD beginning August 26th of this schoolyear."

Dr. Crawford says there are afew restrictions the school district will have to follow with the incoming funds. West I.S.D. can only use the moneyon 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 districtfaces 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 dollarsinto a structure that will be a permanent structure. So whatevertemporary 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 getrebuilt these facilities will have to disappear."

The school district plans to usethe money on 20-plus temporary classroom buildings, a temporary cafeteriaand 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 thefinancial help.

"Those decisions havealready been made, and we have been waiting for the actual dollars to be wiredto 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 eligibleto receive more money for temporary facilities if needed.

The school district is also working toget 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 reviewingthe state's appeal to declare West a "major disaster", but Dr. Crawford isoptimistic all those funds will come in to help the school district createa permanent home.

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

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