WASHINGTON –U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate announced today the final agreement for the obligation of $1.84 billion dollars in funding for the state of Louisiana's Recovery School District (RSD) and Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) for the repair and replacement of public schools in Orleans Parish, including the City of New Orleans, damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
"Today, we are very pleased to announce that we have completed the final agreement to obligate a total of more than $1.8 billion dollars in funding for the state of Louisiana's Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board to repair and replace public schools damaged by Hurricane Katrina," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said. "This announcement reflects this Administration's ongoing commitment to cut through red tape, resolve disputes and strengthen coordination across all levels of government to expedite recovery in the Gulf Coast."
"New Orleans has made remarkable progress rebuilding and reforming its schools over the past five years. The hard work there has served as an inspiration and a model for reform for cities across the country," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "But there's still work to be done. With this new money, the Obama administration is supporting New Orleans schools so they can provide a world-class education to all students in the city."
This announcement is the result of a comprehensive agreement between FEMA, the State of Louisiana, RSD and OPSB for all eligible Public Assistance costs for these school systems and reflects the administration's ongoing commitment to cutting through red tape and ensuring close coordination across all levels of government in the ongoing recovery process.
The Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Recovery School Distinct (RSD), the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and FEMA developed an alternate project agreement to repair, replace, and rehabilitate the original 127 damaged campuses and, over an eight year timeline, return RSD and OPSB to operation with a total of 87 campuses.
The Obama administration recognizes that quality schools help provide a foundation for stable and prosperous communities, a foundation that is especially critical in communities working to recover from disasters. The administration also continues to work to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery nationwide, so that the Gulf Coast and all other regions of the country will be more resilient and better prepared for future disasters.
See the White House fact sheet for further background on Gulf Coast hurricane recovery and nationwide disaster preparedness and response efforts.
On Sunday, August 29, President Obama will travel to New Orleans, La., to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The visit will include remarks by the President at Xavier University of Louisiana.