The St. Bernard Parish, La., School Board will receive a final payment of $148.3 million for rebuilding efforts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The payment will bring the district’s total FEMA funding to $500 million since Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area in 2005.

The amount had been in dispute because the agency reimburses school districts on a project basis, and St. Bernard wanted to reduce its campuses to nine from the 15 it operated before the storm.

FEMA originally offered a final payment of $88 million, but a law sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., allowed a lump-sum reimbursement that also reduced the district’s penalty due to its consolidation efforts.

“By providing a lump-sum payment and reducing penalties, we are empowering our school districts to rebuild smarter and stronger than before,” Landrieu said in announcing the FEMA grant.

The agency said the St. Bernard district is the first in Louisiana to be in full recovery from the 2005 hurricane.

The additional funding also accounts for higher construction costs than originally estimated.

Superintendent Doris Voitier said the reconstructed district will now have one high school instead of three.

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