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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 033-UA9MA-00; Louisiana Department of Education
PW ID# 5421; Temporary Facility
May 12, 2010
Disaster Recovery Division
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
State of Louisiana
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Re: Second Appeal–Louisiana Department of Education, PA ID 033-UA9MA-00,
Temporary Facility, FEMA-1603-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 5421
Dear Mr. DeBosier:
This is in response to a letter from your office dated October 2, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Louisiana Department of Education (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $663,693 for developing and maintaining a temporary website for the Distant Diploma Program.
As a result of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita many Louisiana families with school children relocated outside Louisiana and enrolled their children in out-of-state schools where they were temporarily residing. The Applicant developed a web-based distance diploma program (Distant Diploma Program) that allowed displaced Louisiana high school students to take the Louisiana Graduation Exit Exam (GEE). The Applicant awarded a two-year contract for $663,693 to Pacific Metrics Corporation to develop and maintain a temporary online version of the GEE from November 2005 through October 2007. The Applicant requested reimbursement of this cost from FEMA. FEMA obligated PW 5421 for $16,479 on May 1, 2006, for security services at the Applicant’s office in Baton Rouge and for moving furniture from Belle Chase High School to storage. The PW did not include the cost of the website because FEMA determined that cost to develop and maintain the website represented increased operating expenses, which are not eligible under the Public Assistance Program.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on August 13, 2008, which the Grantee transmitted to FEMA on April 7, 2009. The Applicant argued that the temporary web-based GEE site should be an eligible reimbursement under Category B because it represents a temporary facility (classroom) for displaced students who were unable to attend or graduate from an
out-of-state school district and who sought a Louisiana high school diploma.
In a letter dated May 20, 2009, the Acting Regional Administrator determined the work and cost to develop and maintain the GEE did not meet the definition of eligible emergency protective measures and was not eligible for reimbursement under the PA program. The Acting Regional Administrator also concluded that the Applicant did not submit the first appeal within the regulatory 60-day timeframe pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206 (c), Appeals, Time Limits.
In its second appeal submitted July 31, 2009, the Applicant reiterates the same position it claimed in the first appeal. The Applicant states that the development of the virtual GEE testing facility met all the eligibility criteria for a FEMA-eligible temporary facility as it provided displaced Louisiana high school students a mechanism with which to complete requirements to obtain a Louisiana high school diploma. Support documents include a copy of Article VIII Section I of the Louisiana State Constitution, a copy of No Child Left Behind Summary Description, and a copy of an article titled “New Orleans Student Receives Louisiana’s First Distance Diploma.”
Title 44 CFR §206.206(c) states that applicants must file appeals within 60 days of receipt of notice of the action being appealed. FEMA obligated PW 5421 on May 1, 2006. The Applicant submitted its first appeal on August 13, 2008, over two years after the regulatory deadline for submitting its appeal. Therefore, the appeal is not valid.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Applicant and grantee did not submit any compelling information to support changing the Acting Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal. Therefore, I am denying the appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Cc: Tony Russell
FEMA Region VI