NC House Passes Bill Providing Relief To Ocracoke School As FEMA Denies Individual Aid For Hurricane Dorian
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a bill providing calendar flexibility and compensation authorization for Ocracoke School, which experienced unprecedented damage during Hurricane Dorian in early September. The bill was unanimously passed a day after Governor Cooper received notice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), stating his request for Individual Assistance for Hurricane Dorian victims had been denied. While Governor Cooper has 30 days to appeal the federal decision, state lawmakers have quickly attempted to provide nonmonetary relief in the meantime. The bill passed by House lawmakers states if a local school administrative unit closed for more than 18 days due to Hurricane Dorian, the local school board may require students and staff to: (1) make up missed instructional days; (2) waive the missed days up to a total of 20 days; or (3) implement a combination of both. The bill also allows employees who missed work due to the hurricane to be paid as if they had worked during those missed days. Even though the bill still awaits approval in the state Senate, it is seen as a positive step on the road to recovery for Ocracoke School, which reopened for students on Monday.