Louisiana Department of Education launches Hurricane Preparedness Commission

The Louisiana Department of Education is launching The Protect Louisiana Schools: Hurricane Preparedness Commission.
Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 6:28 AM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Two category four hurricanes slammed into Louisiana in the last two years, causing major damage to schools. Now, school leaders are preparing for the next big storm.

The Louisiana Department of Education is launching The Protect Louisiana Schools: Hurricane Preparedness Commission (PLSHPC), which will focus on a public school’s plans before, during and after a hurricane.

“In 2020 we had impacts with Laura and Delta in Southwest Louisiana. In 2021, Ida put 300,000 kids out of school in Central and Southeast Louisiana,” State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley said.

The commission is made up of education leaders across the state.

“We may take the time to use some of the expertise in the field across the state and develop a playbook so that future leaders in school systems might have an advantage, if they have to deal with a storm in the future to go ahead and already have some of that information collected,” Brumley said.

One of those on the commission is local to Southwest Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus.

“I’ve been through both Rita and now through Laura and Delta, so a lot of historical perspective on how things work...and so they’re pulling together that group of people to discuss those issues and formulate a plan for the future,” Bruchhaus said.

The commission is tasked with coming up with a playbook for schools when a storm starts brewing in the gulf.

“We can share that expertise and that knowledge with everybody else that might not have gone through this and might have a future option of going through it,” Bruchhaus said.

The plans should cover things from infrastructure to operational best practices. It aims to provide modern recommendations for schools to be better prepared and on what to do following a disaster.

In terms of recovery in Calcasieu Parish schools, Bruchhaus said repairs are still underway at various schools and facilities. CPSB has bid about 100 of 130 projects and is in a position again where they are waiting on FEMA reimbursements to bid the rest.

PLSHPC is comprised of:

  • Catherine Cassidy, Principal, Southside High School
  • Doris Voitier, Superintendent / BESE Member, St. Bernard Parish Schools
  • Joel Dillon, Manager of Executive Operations, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Karl Bruchhaus, Superintendent, Calcasieu Parish School Board
  • Kelli Oertling, Principal, Lakewood Elementary
  • Kendricks “Ken” Brass, Louisiana State Representative, District 58
  • Mark Abraham, Louisiana State Senator, District 25
  • Philip Martin, Superintendent, Terrebonne Parish School District
  • Sharon L. Clark, Charter Director, Sophie B. Wright High School ● Spencer Harris, Principal, Springfield High School
  • Talé D. Lockett, Chief Executive Officer, Algiers Charter School Association
  • Trevis A. Thompson, School Safety Officer, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
  • Tiffany Delcour, Chief Operations Officer, NOLA Public Schools
  • Mark Richards, Lecturer, Emergency and Security Studies Program, Tulane University
  • Dr. Kimberly L. Foster, Dean, School of Science and Engineering, Tulane University
  • Dr. Elizabeth Matthews, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering & Science, Louisiana Tech University
  • Dr. Carol J. Friedland, Associate Professor, Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management, Louisiana State University

For more information, click HERE.

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