WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves announced $40,563,208.73 of federal flood recovery resources to repair damages from Louisiana’s Great Flood of 2016 at three schools. Those schools are Denham Springs Elementary School (DSES), Southside Elementary School (SES), Southside Junior High School (SJHS). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocation will be distributed through the Livingston Parish School Board.
“The 2016 Flood has been an absolute strain across our communities and for many families, having both their homes and schools flood. Grants such as this one show the recovery process isn’t just picking up debris from the side of the road. It is literally rebuilding entire community structures over many years while also hoping bureaucratic hurdles don’t slow down the progress. I am proud to have helped them secure these long-overdue FEMA grants to help get the schools much-needed funding to rebuild,” Graves said.
“I stood with hopeful optimism next to former Superintendent Rick Wentzel while demolishing Denham Springs Elementary, and with great anticipation working with current Superintendent Joe Murphy while planning for Southside Elementary and the return of Livingston’s storied education reputation. These exceptional leaders and former School Board President Buddy Mincey have been important forces shaping Livingston’s promising future,” Graves bellowed.
The legislation removed a huge penalty that was imposed on each flooded school building to be limited to a one-penalty-per-facility limit, meaning several million more could be awarded from FEMA. Livingston Parish schools, for example, the overall reduction was nearly $21 million and when the Graves’ language was applied, the deduction was reduced to $3 million – saving the Livingston Parish schools $17.8 million in recovery funding with the Graves’ provision.