An arbitration panel in Mississippi says the Federal Emergency Management Agency should pay the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District an additional $6.9 million for Hurricane Katrina damage to three schools.
The district wanted the money to repair damages at schools. It had already received $59 million.
According to the arbitration opinion, FEMA had said there was no proof Katrina caused some of the damage to roofs and windows. FEMA also claimed siding could be repaired instead of replaced.
The arbitration panel disagreed. It said the damage were caused by the 2005 storm.
The building was re-inspected last June.
The panel ordered FEMA to pay for the replacement of metal roofs at a high school and middle school, windows at the middle school and elementary school and siding at the high school.
“This decision is a milestone for continued rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast,” said Mark Garriga, an attorney for the school district. “There was no dispute that the scope of devastation visited on the Bay-Waveland School District by the eye of Hurricane Katrina was massive in scale.”
The arbitration panel found a FEMA architect didn’t inspect the roof himself, but relied on the opinion of a roofing contractor who examined the roof soon after the storm and said it could be repaired rather than replaced.
“There was ample testimony that the leaking from the roofs started shortly after Katrina and has continued at the affected schools, presenting a source of danger to staff, students and visitors,” according to the panel’s ruling.
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