Education, News

Some welcome news for schools damaged by Hurricane Florence

Governor Roy Cooper has directed $25 million from the North Carolina Education Lottery Fund to help speed repairs to K-12 public schools damaged by Hurricane Florence in September.

The governor’s press office issued details in a statement Monday afternoon:

“Students need to get back to learning and educators need to get back to teaching, but many school districts can’t afford the repairs schools need,” Gov. Cooper said. “The lives of thousands of students, teachers and families are on hold and they need our help to recover.”

While many schools have reopened since Hurricane Florence struck last month, seven North Carolina school systems remain closed, keeping more than 130 schools out of operation and nearly 90,000 students out of class. Several affected school districts have depleted most of their contingency funds and need immediate financial assistance to repair roofs, flooring and electrical wiring, eradicate mold and mildew and replace furniture to get schools reopened.

The emergency funds will be administered by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Priority will be given to district and charter schools in Brunswick, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties that have immediate repair needs and are not currently in operation.

Some of the repairs should be reimbursable by federal disaster recovery funds. Transferring the money now gives schools quicker help and allows them to retain contractors to speed repairs.

Legislators return to Raleigh next week in a special session devoted to long-term recovery needs from the storm.

In Pender County, Topsail High School staff have been assisting with clean-up efforts at Cross Creek. (Photo: Pender County Schools Facebook page)

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