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Thursday, May 26, 2016
Albany must help with local school repairs

The suffering of children is often overlooked when adults discuss the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. While there is justifiable focus on rebuilding homes, replacing cars, getting hospitals back in service, restoring businesses and fixing roads and utilities — even on designing new boardwalks — less attention is paid to the catastrophic impact Sandy had, and continues to have, on our schools.

Several school districts in our area are faced with the tremendous task of rebuilding schools and district infrastructure, replacing equipment and restoring the educational environment students and teachers depend on. Many repairs have already been completed, but paying for the work is still a critical issue.

We think Albany has a responsibility to help, and has the federal funds to do it.

Lawrence High School was the most heavily damaged of that district’s five schools. Flooding from Sandy created two sink holes, left the auditorium a huge mess and wreaked havoc with the electrical system. The high school has been closed since Jan. 15, and its students, teachers and administrators were relocated to the middle school. As a result, the district’s fifth- and sixth-graders had to be moved to two district elementary schools.

In the Long Beach district, the high school gym was severely damaged, and there was widespread flooding in the middle school and Lido Elementary. Lindell Elementary took on water as well, and East Elementary’s gym floor needed major repairs. The flooding in West Elementary was up to four feet deep, while the administration building and Blackheath Pre-K are beyond repair and will be condemned.

In Oceanside, there was millions of dollars’ worth of damage, with elementary schools 4, 8 and 9E, and the middle school, 9M, hit hard. Most musical instruments were lost, many interactive whiteboards needed to be replaced, and textbooks and library materials were wiped out. The boiler in School 8 was destroyed, and there were damaged walls and floors everywhere.


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