The Louisiana State Bond Commission this week approved the sale of $50 million in revenue bonds to help the Calcasieu Parish School Board resume work on those schools damaged last year by two hurricanes.
Construction has been halted because of delays in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“A year after two devastating hurricanes, Calcasieu Parish is struggling to rebuild because FEMA works at the pace of a snail,” Treasurer John Schroder said in a release on Friday. “Students are trying to learn in schools with leaky roofs. This bond issue will allow repairs on schools to resume.”
In 2020, hurricanes Laura and Delta inflicted extensive damage on schools in Calcasieu Parish. The school board used $40 million in insurance proceeds, $20 million in school board general fund money and $100 million in bond proceeds to begin initial repair work.
So far, FEMA has remitted $116,000 of the school board’s $300 million in reimbursement requests.
Hurricane Laura hit southwest Louisiana on Aug. 27, Hurricane Delta made landfall on Oct. 9 and on Oct. 28, Hurricane Zeta struck southeast Louisiana. According to the Insurance Journal, the cost of the insurance claims from these three hurricanes was $7.7 billion in the state.
In January, Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote to President Joe Biden requesting an additional $3 billion in aid to help pay for recovery in communities affected by hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta in 2020. The governor also asked the White House for a reduction in the cost-share required by the state and local governments affected by these storms.
“I hope our federal delegation can successfully convince FEMA to accelerate the recovery from the 2020 hurricanes. We cannot forget southwest Louisiana,” Schroder said.
Last month, Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana causing an estimated $18 billion in damage there.
Bloomberg News has reported that Louisiana’s congressional delegation has urged Congress to pass emergency funding legislation to help the state recover from the storms.