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FEMA Approves $2.6M For Pinellas Schools Hurricane Irma Shelter Expenses


Public schools across Florida opened their doors to residents last year during Hurricane Irma evacuations.

Pinellas County Schools were recently reimbursed more than $2.6 million by the federal governrment for the cost of food, fuel, staff, custodial supplies and floor coverings.

Alberto Pillot, spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said it's hard to predict how long it'll take to finish paying out all the money for their Public Assistance program.

"They have more than 1,000 government entities and nonprofits across Florida that are seeking that public assistance,” Pillot said.

FEMA’s Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program with FEMA reimbursing applicants no less than 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining covered by a nonfederal source. FEMA approved 100 percent of the total costs of this project. The federal portion is paid directly to the state, which disburses funds to the agencies, local governments and nonprofit organizations that incurred costs. 

The Public Assistance program is available in all 67 Florida counties through the federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Irma.

In the past, many Florida counties and school boards applied for FEMA reimbursements as separate recipients.

Now, counties must reimburse school districts, then ask FEMA for the money.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.