AFTER SENATORS PUSH, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES OVER $24 MILLION FOR OWEGO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FEDERAL FUNDING TO REPLACE ELEMNTARY SCHOOL DESTROYED IN TROPICAL STORM LEE
brSchumer Announces $24,122,975 Obligation Finally Coming to Owego Apalachin School District Through FEMA Discretionary Funds Funding Provides Elementary Schoolchildren New and Safe SchoolbrbrbrFEMA Initially Denied Application to Replace School, But After Schumers Push, FEMA Agreed to Reverse Course in June 2012 Todays News Means Funding Will Flow to School DistrictbrbrbrSchumer: While It Took Too Long, FEMA Funds Mean It Will Soon Be Back to School for Owego Elementary Studentsbrbr
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that Owego Apalachin School District has received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) obligation totaling $24,122,975.40. The funds will be used to construct a new building to house the Owego Elementary School, which sustained heavy flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Lee. This award is authorized under section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act. During the incident period between September 7, 2011, and September 11, 2011, the Owego Elementary School was flooded with approximately 18 inches of water as a result of rains associated with Tropical Storm Lee. FEMA initially denied the district's application to fund the school's replacement, but Schumer weighed in to get the agency to reverse course and has worked closely with the school district to manage the processing of its Project Worksheet (PW) in order to obtain as much federal funding as possible for the school district.
In June 2012, Schumer that FEMA had agreed to fund the replacement of the floodridden Owego Apalachin School District facilities, including the elementary school, following a meeting in May between Schumer and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Schumer highlighted the troubling pace and attention towards repairs in the Owego Apalachin School District, which experienced severe damage to five of its seven buildings during the storm, four of which were rendered uninhabitable. Today's news means that this funding has been obligated and will now flow to the Owego Apalachin School District.
"Even though Tropical Storm Lee was almost two years ago, we are still doing the hard work of rebuilding in those communities, like Owego, impacted by the severe rains and flooding. Today's award marks a major step in that process, though it took far too long" said Schumer. "Owego Apalachin School District can now move forward with the construction of its new school building with the help of the federal government to minimize the burden on local taxpayers. Most importantly, parents and students can rest at ease knowing long bus commutes have an end in sight, and soon students will be back to their neighborhood school."
"Once again, at a critical juncture, Senator Schumer has intervened successfully on behalf of Owego Apalachin Schools. We would not have arrived at this point, where we can actually begin building our new school, without his help," said Dr. William C. Russell, Superintendent of Schools. "I know he shares our sense of urgency to bring our children back to Owego in their own school. We're now able to move full steam ahead on our building project, and are one big step closer to accomplishing that primary goal."
The funds were awarded under Section 406 of the Stafford Act, which provides for Hazard Mitigation discretionary funding. The purpose of Section 406 mitigation funds is to promote measures that reduce future loss to life and property, protect federal investment in public infrastructure and ultimately, to help build disaster resistant communities. After Owego Apalachin's initial application, Schumer weighed in and argued that their PW for Owego Elementary School met the qualifications for Section 406 mitigation funds and that they should be obligated.