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Kentucky Department of Education visits eastern Kentucky schools impacted by flooding

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Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 19:40:11-04

BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX18) — Several eastern Kentucky schools are getting visits from Kentucky's Board of Education, the U.S. Board of Education, and FEMA after the floods. Leaders stopped by Breathitt County Schools today, where students returned to class this past Monday.

Kentucky's Commissioner of Education, Jason Glass, says, "Being here and seeing it ourselves has always been a goal. We didn't want to do that right away because we just would have been in the way. We really felt like now is a good time for us to come down."

Leaders from the KDE have already visited several eastern Kentucky schools over the last few days. Now, they say their goal is to help these school districts rebuild.

Glass says, "The legislature just gaveled out and appropriated over $200 million total aid. $40 million of that is for schools specifically. So the Kentucky department of education will be working with insurance and the federal government, trying to figure out what's the space where those needs aren't being met and how can we use the state funds in that spot to help make these districts come back whole if not stronger than where they were before."

Earlier this week, district leaders said it's been a smooth start to school. They understand many students were impacted by the floods and are focusing more on social and emotional needs. Now, they're happy to be getting support from these leaders, in their rebuilding efforts.

Breathitt County Superintendent, Phillip Watts, says, "It creates that hope that we can build back better than before. It just allows our community to know that people are still thinking about us and still trying to work with us to prepare to make improvements for the future."

An official with the U.S. Department of Education, James Lane, says they will look for more ways they can support schools in this community.

Lane says, "one example in the office of elementary and secondary education is the 'project serve' grant program. Which is a program that can help support schools in their recovery. Most commonly a lot of schools will use that to support the mental health of the students and staff impacted by the tragedy."

The Department of Education's commissioner says they will help school districts across this region get the funds they need to rebuild and support their student's needs.

"This region has just shown its strength in the way people have done that. They've stepped up to serve the kids and serve the whole community," says Glass.