Clear Creek Independent School District trustees in November approved $1.8 million to pay for consultants, contractors and replacing synthetic turf at two high school football fields in Hurricane Harvey-related expenses. Altogether, Harvey recovery could cost the district about $19 million.
The board of trustees on Nov. 27 agreed to hire consultants to recover insurance money and secure Federal Emergency Management Agency money to pay for Harvey damage.
“You’re trying to do it as soon as possible, but you want to do it right,” Board President Page Rander said.
The district’s board of trustees approved a $300,000 contract with Houston-based Disaster Recovery and Risk Solutions to find the money from insurance and FEMA the district needs to cover the cost of repairs. The company also will reconcile what the insurance covers with what FEMA can pay.
FEMA money would also cover the company’s $300,000 fee as an administrative cost, district officials said.
The district already has begun requesting insurance money and has applied for FEMA Public Assistance Funding to cover out-of-pocket costs related to the storm, officials said.
Harvey displaced teachers and students and, in varying degrees, damaged every school in the Clear Creek Independent School District, officials said.
Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in Rockport, about 200 miles south of Galveston County. It dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some parts of this county, swelling creeks and bayous and flooding an estimated 20,000 homes in the county and devastating some neighborhoods.
The damage to district facilities is between $18.9 million and $19.4 million, Superintendent Greg Smith said at a Nov. 6 state Senate Education Committee hearing in Houston.
“Harvey also left 2,700 students homeless,” Smith said. “That number will probably increase.”
Clear Creek has spent about $54,000 on substitute teachers while its employees try to rebuild, Smith said.
Ready to mobilize
The board of trustees also renewed a $750,000 contract for disaster recovery services with Blackmon Mooring of Houston Inc. and Mooring Recovery Services Inc. that ends Nov. 30, 2018.
The companies will work on Harvey repairs and also will be able to mobilize if another natural disaster or emergency hits in the coming year, district officials said.
The district has already spent $110,709 in the contract that just ended, officials said.
Among Harvey-related expenses the board approved was replacing synthetic turf at Clear Springs High School and at Veterans Memorial Stadium at a total cost of $751,938. The board approved a contract to replace both turfs with FieldTurf, a company headquartered in Canada.
Floodwater damaged the synthetic turf at both Clear Springs High School and Veterans Memorial Stadium, causing it to move and stretch and the stone subgrade to move.
Insurance adjusters said repairing the turfs is covered, but the district is still waiting to learn what the deductible will be, officials said.
The estimated completion date for the Clear Springs High School field is January 2018 and the completion date for Veterans Memorial Stadium’s field is May 2018, district officials said.
The board also passed a policy in November that would allow the superintendent to pay employees during an emergency up to 10 days.
Before Hurricane Harvey, the superintendent didn’t have that authority, district spokeswoman Elaina Polsen said. It was the board that had to approve pay for teachers who weren’t able to work because of a disaster.
“Trying to get a quorum during Harvey would have been difficult to do,” Polsen said.
The policy change won’t cost any money to implement, but will help employees during natural disasters and emergencies, officials said. It will make sure teachers and staff get paid.
“It’s one of the last things you want to worry about when you are already worried about your home,” Rander said. “You need to have that in place.”