Parents upset with slow pace of recovery at two St. John Parish schools

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 5 at 10:40 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

ST. JOHN, La. -- Frustrated parents in St. John Parish pressed school board members for answers Thursday night.

For over a year, East St. John High School and Lake Pontchatrain Elementary School have sat empty and damaged from Hurricane Isaac.

Parents are very frustrated. They want to know is when the work on the two schools will be started, and when it will be finished. Although parents got some answers, it wasn't quite what they wanted to hear.

“This is ridiculous and I’m totally upset and I know you guys probably feel the same way,” said parent Cliff Turner.

Fed-up parents stood up and demanded answers from the St. John Parish School board members about why no repairs have been done to either East St. John High School or Lake Pontchatrain Elementary School.

Severe flood damage during Hurricane Isaac forced the schools to close.

“They can’t get nothing done, executive sessions and nothing gets done,” said parent Donald Rudolph. “A year and we are still waiting.”

Parents finally got some answers Thursday night.

“We are going to move forward with the high school first. There are some things we still need to settle with FEMA for the elementary school,” said school board member Russ Wise.

The board unanimously decided to go with a recommendation made by All South Consulting Engineers.

Instead of filing for an appeal with FEMA for more money, the parish is going a different route. Using the Alternative Procedures Pilot Program, a result of superstorm Hurricane Sandy, to get the funds needed to move forward with repairs.

“I am going to make you a promise. We will have students back in the high school by the start of next school year,” Wise said.

It’s a commitment echoed by Superintendent Kevin George.

“We will not rest until we get you back into those buildings. Everything that we do, everything that we do, is focused on getting those kids back into those schools,” George said.

The board will meet again in two weeks on Sept. 19, and parents say they will be there checking in on the progress now that the school board has decided on a course of action.

 

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