Sixty-three Southern California school districts have been awarded $106.6 million in federal funds for retrofitting work designed to prevent ceilings and light fixtures from falling on students, teachers and administrators during earthquakes.
The grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the largest single award made under the agency's National Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is designed to prevent damage and casualties.
Under provisions of the grant, the individual school districts must provide 25% of the total money, boosting the value of the program to $142.2 million.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will get the largest amount, $43.1 million, while $8.9 million will go to the Los Angeles Community College District. Other grants include $5 million to the Pomona Unified School District, $2.7 million to the Ventura Unified School District, $4.1 million to the Santa Ana Unified School District and $3.9 million to the Montebello Unified School District.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), in announcing the FEMA grant, noted that during the 1994 Northridge earthquake only the early hour of the 4:31 a.m. quake prevented injuries as ceilings collapsed in some classrooms.