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Governor Cooper Requests $1.5 Billion Hurricane Recovery Package; Calls For Facility Funds And Other Support For Damaged Schools

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday his proposed state funding plan for Hurricane Florence relief and recovery, which includes specific funding for educational facilities damaged by the storm. The $1.5 billion funding package was recommended in light of an estimated $13 billion in damages statewide from Florence.

The total damage assessment includes a preliminary estimate of $297.3 million in economic impact across education sectors throughout the state, with $267 million in damages to K-12 public school facilities and equipment, according to the Governor’s specific report on educational impact. Excluding charter schools and institutions of higher learning, this impact assessment represents 656 schools, serving 385,000 students across 31 local education agencies.

Governor Cooper anticipates $174.1 million in education impact will be covered by federal and private sources of funding, resulting in $123.2 million in unmet losses to education. The Governor has requested $74 million in funding from the state to help close the gap on this education recovery deficit. Governor Cooper previously announced he will be sending an additional $25 million in funds from the North Carolina Education Lottery Fund to speed up recovery for schools, with priority given to schools with immediate repair needs. “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.”

The Governor is urging the General Assembly to make an initial down payment of $750 million, or half of the total state relief package he has outlined, when lawmakers reconvene October 15th to address additional Hurricane Florence-related issues.

Elizabeth Yelverton