School sues barge company over flood damage

By Alyssa Donovan

June 25, 2013 Updated Jun 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM CDT

MARSEILLES, Ill. -- Severe flood damage from April has the school district's superintendent seeking retribution and compensation.

Marseilles Elementary school district 150 has filed a lawsuit against Ingram Barge Company.

The school wants to hold the company responsible for $6.4 million in damages that occurred when 7 barges crashed into the Illinois River lock and dam on April 18th.

School Superintendent JoEllen Fuller says it's only right to seek compensation from the barge company.

"We're a small community, we're a small school," Fuller said. "We just want to hold who is accountable responsible. We don't have a lot of finances available and we just want to make it okay."

Ingram filed for protection in May, requesting to be restricted to the value of the towboat and the barges, or $4.2 million.

But Fuller says that amount will not even cover the school damages let alone the homeowners that have been displaced.

"Some of my employees homes were affected and I know what they had to go through and come on. 4.2 is not enough," Fuller said.

The flood took out several classrooms in the school, a music room, and the entire gymnasium.

Fuller says the gym alone is estimated at $250,000 worth of damage.

"We're trying to take care of the kids who are now homeless and have lost everything. There's just so much that we have to stop and think about," she said.

One of the biggest losses in the building was the cafeteria.

Out of the 630 pre-k through 8th grade students nearly 70% depend on the school for breakfast and lunch.

Classes begin on August 21st and Fuller says for the next six weeks the cafeteria will be the number one priority.