Perry, Letcher schools reimbursed $7M for cleanup projects

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $7 million in Public Assistance funding to reimburse the Perry and Letcher County school systems for three disaster cleanup projects that resulted from last summer’s historic floods.

During July 2022, severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides created an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public.  As a result, Letcher County Public School District and the Perry County Board of Education became inundated with flood waters throughout their districts.

In Letcher County, one project provides $2,653,732 in federal funding.  During August, the school district hired contract workers to perform post-disaster cleanup and restoration at five locations throughout the district: Fleming Neon Middle School, Letcher County Board of Education/Alternative School, Martha Jane Potter Elementary, West Whitesburg Elementary, and Whitesburg Middle School.  This project was funded at a 100% federal cost share, so FEMA is reimbursing all eligible costs.

The second Letcher County project involves  $2,846,535, after the school district hired contract workers in August and September to perform at the same five locations.  In this case, the federal share of 75% will be contributed by FEMA and the remaining non-federal share of 25% will be contributed by other sources.

In the other project, $1,504,401 in federal funding was awarded to the Perry County Board of Education for flood remediation efforts at Buckhorn School. The school board used contract workers to remove water and moisture, damaged contents and building materials, as well as mud and silt that had been deposited throughout the building.   All surfaces were sanitized and treated with antimicrobial solution as a means of preventing mold growth and protecting the building from further damage.  The federal share of 75% will come from FEMA, and the remaining 25% from other sources.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state and local governments, so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters.

The federal cost share is paid directly to the state, to disburse to the school systems that incurred costs. Following the state’s review process and receiving appropriate documentation, they will provide funds to the sub-recipients on a reimbursable basis.