Jindal visits St. John Parish

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Managing Editor

RESERVE — Congressman Bobby Jindal passed through St. John the Baptist Parish Friday, visiting with Parish President Nickie Monica and Superintendent of Schools Michael Coburn, accepting thanks for Katrina relief legislation he helped push through Congress just before Christmas.

&#8220We’ve just released $100 million to Louisiana, the first part of $1.6 billion,” Jindal said.

Part of that aid package is $6,000 per displaced student, to help offset expenses incurred when families relocated from the most stricken parishes and entered their children in local schools.

&#8220It’s not right to punish schools for being generous,” Jindal said, The St. John school system had suddenly admitted an additional 2,000 students, as families fled Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. &#8220The money should follow the students.”

Those funds will be channeled to the Louisiana Department of Education, which will dispense the relief funds.

That amount will be added to the $1,250 per child already received from the state Board of Elemenary and Secondary Education, Coburn said.

&#8220We were just ecstatic to have him here and thank him,” Coburn added of Jindal. &#8220He did a great job with that bill.”

Jindal added that $200 million will also be directed toward colleges, universities, community colleges and vocational-technical schools.

On the parish side, more funds are being promised Louisiana in the way of $6.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants, $2.7 billion for roads and bridges and $2 billion for health care needs.

&#8220I’m just down here, making sure everything is used well,” Jindal commented.

The Congressman added of the rebuilding and restoration efforts in Louisiana, &#8220This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make things better and stronger.”

In talking about the desire for displaced Louisianians to return home, Jindal said he has a 4-year-old daughter in pre-Kindergarten, who was moved from her usual school to one in Baton Rouge.

He asked his daughter if she wanted to go back to her original school or stay with her new environment. According to Jindal, she replied she wanted to go back to her original school.

Asked why, she reasoned, &#8220Because they let you pick what you want for lunch.”

Coburn welcomed the visit from Jindal, and said, &#8220It’s very good for our parish for him to see what’s going on around here.”