REDMOND, OR -- Local school districts continue to contend with the aftermath of several winter storms that hammered Central Oregon. Officials are hopeful this will be the first full week for students since mid-December. Between snow days and closures to inspect snow loads on roofs, Redmond schools lost eight days. A revised calendar attempts to recoup some of that student instructional time.
But, Superintendent Mike McIntosh says recouping the money spent during that time is a little more complicated. He tells KBND News, "We’re looking at all sources possible to defray some of those costs but this is unpredictable, unprecedented and costly. But, when you look at the result of no loss of life and no danger, it was all worth it." Massive amounts of snow caused hazardous road conditions and straining school roofs. "We hired a company to come in and pitch those out," says McIntosh. "I can’t tell you the number of yards of snow, dump truck loads of snow we’ve removed from roofs, but a tremendous amount in an effort to save those roofs and, to the extent possible, predict safety for our staff and kids."
And, those expenses are taking its toll. "It is killer for a budget that’s already lacking. We don’t put in a huge number for snow removal; we have snowplows on district vehicles and so on. So, we have reserve funds we’re going to use, we’re talking with regional coordinator Nathan Garibay about some FEMA relief, we’ve got some insurance claims on roof structural leaks due to ice dams and a few other things."
McIntosh hopes insurance will pay for facility repairs. He estimates removing snow from roofs cost the district about half a million dollars, and that doesn't include private contractors hired to clear parking lots. Roof clearing expenses are likely to come from reserve funds. Bend-La Pine Schools officials estimate they've spent more than a million dollars on snow removal. Both districts plan to ask FEMA for financial assistance.
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