AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced the state has provided $8.6 million to Bridge City Independent School District to assist in the construction of a new elementary school campus, replacing two schools badly damaged by Hurricane Ike. These funds are part of House Bill 4586, appropriated to the Trusteed Programs in the Office of the Governor as additional funding beyond the general disaster relief provisions of HB 4102.
“This community was hit hard by Ike a year ago, and I want these students, teachers and parents to know the rest of Texas is standing with them as Bridge City rebuilds,” Gov. Perry said. “We look forward to cutting the ribbon on a new school, one that will ably serve its mission of preparing our young people for the challenges of the future.”
Sims Elementary and Hatton Elementary were decimated by Ike’s storm surge, which flooded the entire Bridge City area. During the storm, Sims was under 4 feet of water, while Hatton held 2 feet of water. The schools are also both aging and do not meet several current codes and standards, making it more cost effective to build a new school, rather than simply rebuilding.
The state amount covers a shortfall between what insurance and FEMA will pay to construct a new school. Total construction costs are estimated at $20.7 million.
“I am grateful to Governor Perry for working with the South East Texas delegation and the community of Bridge City to secure this needed funding,” Sen. Tommy Williams said. “These dollars will help ensure the children of Bridge City will have a safe learning environment and help them to return to their normal lives after experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Ike.”
“These funds are important to the Bridge City community, giving parents peace of mind that their children will have a safe and productive learning environment while at school,” Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton said. “During these difficult times, I am extremely pleased that these schools will be rebuilt without raising taxes or needing any additional bond revenue.”
The Texas Education Agency has opened a second HB 4102 application process period. Districts were previously only able to apply for funds relating to qualifying unreimbursed physical damage. Now, districts can also apply for funding to replace revenue lost related to declining property values or lost enrollment due to disaster.