Lufkin Adds Up Hurricane Expenses - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/08/05 - Lufkin

Lufkin Adds Up Hurricane Expenses

by Ramonica R. Jones

After Katrina and Rita hit, several Lufkin schools became shelters for hundreds of New Orleans and Gulf Coast evacuees. Three meals a day, clothes, cafeteria staff, and other shelter-related expenses added up to about $70,000.

Administrators were told they'd get 75 percent of the money back.

Superintendent Roy Knight said, "We're about to run out of expectations at this point in time. We jumped through a number of red tape [and] hoops and yet at every step, we're compounded by the fact that additional requests are made - questions of documentation - and quite frankly, we're at the frustration level now. At this point in time, our posture is we'll believe it when we see it."

Knight said the lack of reimbursement won't stop the district from helping out during another disaster. In fact, he was a little hopeful after getting a small check from FEMA.

"We've received a $10,000 check from FEMA related specifically to educational assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims; nothing yet in our major expenses with Hurricane Rita."

Money the district has already received will help pay for school uniforms, backpacks, and classroom supplies for New Orleans students now going to school in Lufkin.

Not being reimbursed by FEMA will have a negative impact on next year's school budget, but administrators say it's too soon to say how much the budget will be affected. You can help by contacting the governor's office.

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