• St. Johns County schools sending FEMA hefty bill for costs from hurricanes

    By: Lorena Inclan

    Updated:

    The St. Johns County School District is hoping to get paid back all, or at least part of, the money it spent during hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

    The aftermath from Irma at Mill Creek Elementary, for example, left the district needing to repair parts of the roof and the canopy over the walkway.

    Paul Rose, facilities and operations executive director, said none of the damage impacted students.

    “We lost all the parent pickup loop walkway canopy so it was completely flattened to the ground,” Rose said.

    The district’s headquarters in downtown flooded during Matthew.

    “That was significant that’s been our largest facility damage that we’ve incurred due to the storm,” Rose said.

    Most if not all the damage has been repaired, but now the work begins to try to get FEMA to reimburse some of those expenses.

    “We qualify for public assistance funding for damages that we sustained as a result,” said Rose.

    According to Rose, so far the estimated costs for Matthew are just over $2.6 million and for Irma it’s around $850,000.

     “We’re pursuing appropriate reimbursements for the responsibilities we have as a school district, one to operate shelters,” Rose said.

    The district is still working to submit receipts and paperwork. They’re expecting to get anywhere from 75 percent to 100 percent back, but most of all, they're hoping for a break this hurricane season.

     “We are absolutely ready, we’re hoping for the best and they leave us alone for a few years,”  Rose said.

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