Broward schools estimate $8 million in storm damage

South Florida SunSentinel | BBy Scott Travis | April 17, 2023

Broward schools face an estimated $8 million in damage from last week’s rain and flooding, the district reports.

That’s significantly higher than the $2 million the district estimated last week. The school district will be applying for aid from FEMA.

District maintenance crews worked during the weekend to get all schools open Monday, even those with heavy damage, spokesman John Sullivan said. All schools were closed Thursday and Friday due to damage and flooding that made some school locations inaccessible last week.

“With the level of rain that fell in a short period of time, getting to those buildings immediately proved to be challenging, but even under those circumstances our teams were able to deploy quickly and efficiently worked throughout the weekend,” Sullivan said. ‘Our custodial workers are maintenance workers worked overtime to return all our schools back to normal for today’s reopening.’

The heaviest damage was at nine schools in the Fort Laudedale and Hollywood areas, Sullivan said.

They are Attucks Middle, Olsen Middle, Parkway Middle, Seagull Alternative School, Steven Foster Elementary, Stranahan High, Walker Elementary, Westwood Heights Elementary and Whiddon Rogers Education Center.

“There was water intrusion and some of those schools, ceiling tiles that had to replaced, leaks that had to be addressed, floors that had to be either replaced or repaired, drywall had to be repaired,” Sullivan said. “Typical repairs when you are facing a weather event that produces so much water.”

Board member Sarah Leonardi visited several of the affected schools and was impressed with the progress.

“All the principals I talked to said they’d never seen a response like this from the district,” she said.

It’s unknown yet whether Broward students will have to remake the two days that were missed last week. Interim Superintendent Earlean Smiley has asked Education Commission Manny Diaz to waive the days.

“There’s a challenge with making up the days at this point of the year,” Sullivan said. “You’d be looking at a situation where we’d have to add a date past the last day of school. So we’re really asking the state to waive the time loss due to the historic rainfall that we received.

The district is still waiting on an answer.

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