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FEMA Grants Nearly $3 Million For West Schools

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West Plant Explosion (credit: Getty Images)

West Plant Explosion (credit: Getty Images)

WEST (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — After denying an initial funding request by Gov. Rick Perry, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced a $2.8 million grant to help schools devastated by a plant explosion in West, Texas.

In June, FEMA denied a request for a major disaster declaration in West, saying the impact from the event is “…Not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration…”

The April fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people and wrecked three of the West Independent School District’s four schools. The district had sent most of the affected students to nearby Waco for classes.

On Friday, FEMA announced a grant that includes money for temporary classrooms and administrative buildings to replace those destroyed or damaged in the explosion.

“Getting students back to normal schedules and attending school in their own community is an important part of the recovery,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes. “These funds will help the district recover costs for adding the temporary facilities.”

Under a cost-sharing formula, FEMA reimburses the state for 75 percent of the total costs while the state covers the rest.

Federal officials previously rejected $40 million in disaster aid for the schools. Insurers had offered just $20 million of the district’s $59 million policy.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and FEMA say the agency has already provided more than 775 residents with $7 million in emergency assistance, and that more help to individuals will be provided.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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