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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 071-UDDT8-00; Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)
PW ID# 20948; Direct Result of Disaster – Legal Responsibility
Conclusion: Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP or Applicant) did not have legal responsibility at the time of Hurricane Katrina to provide primary school educational services; therefore, the transportation needs associated with establishing a new school, nearly seven years after the event, were not required as a direct result of the disaster.
Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana on August 29, 2005, causing catastrophic damage throughout Orleans Parish. A school building, which housed a KIPP charter school, suffered severe damage, displacing the Applicant’s educational services to a temporary facility. FEMA reimbursed Recovery School District (RSD) for transportation services to the temporary facility from 2006–2013. In February 2011, the Applicant received approval from the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to open a new charter school for kindergarten through 4th grade students. The school opened for the 2012-2013 school year at which time they entered into a Shared Services Agreement with RSD for the transportation services under a set fee schedule. The Applicant requested $364,299.00 in Public Assistance (PA) funding for transportation costs incurred during the 2012-2013 school year. In March 2015, FEMA prepared PW 20948 for the request and found the transportation costs ineligible because they were not required as a direct result of the declared event. The Applicant appealed arguing that KIPP existed at the time of Hurricane Katrina and was operating a facility performing a function, the provision of educational services, similar to the new charter school. The Regional Administrator denied the first appeal stating the Applicant did not offer primary school educational services prior to the declared event. As such, the service was not displaced by the declared event and the associated transportation services were not eligible. In its second appeal, the Applicant argues that FEMA regulations and policy in effect at the time of the disaster did not require an eligible applicant to offer the exact same services in order to be eligible for funding. Additionally, the Applicant comparatively argued that their costs should be eligible because FEMA reimbursed RSD for emergency transportation through the 2013 school year—even though RSD assumed control over the temporary facilities in November 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- Stafford Act § 403(a)(3)(D).
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.223(a)(1)-(a)(3), 206.225(d).
- PA Guide, at 25.
- In accordance with 44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a)(1), an item of work must be required as the result of the major disaster event in order to be eligible for financial assistance.
- The Applicant’s primary charter school did not exist at the time of Hurricane Katrina. Therefore, the associated transportation costs were not the result of the disaster.
- In accordance with 44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a)(3) and the PA Guide, applicants must have legal responsibility at the time of the event to be eligible for financial assistance.
- The Applicant was not legally responsible for the provision of kindergarten to 4th educational services for the 2012-2013 school year until June 2011, nearly seven years after the event.