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FEMA: R-P didn't inflate flood damage to school

RUSHFORD — The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that Rushford-Peterson schools didn't overestimate damages its Rushford school received in the 2007 flood.

A citizens group called Rushford-Peterson Concerned Citizens, which opposed the school now being built, had said the district inflated the damage estimate and got too much money from FEMA.

Stan Gudmundson, one of the group's leaders, pointed to an aerial photo of the flood at its peak that shows floodwaters never reached the school, yet the district got about $1 million for it.

"The building was not in the flood," he said. "There was a trivial amount of damage.

Superintendent Chuck Ehler, however, said water, sewage, oil and chemicals seeped into some rooms, damaging drywall and destroying a lot of materials. The damage was well documented, he said.


FEMA agrees with Ehler.

"As a result of the severe storms and flooding in August 2007 (Disaster Number 1717) the Rushford-Peterson School District 239 was awarded a total of $550,991 federal share," FEMA External Affairs Officer Mark J. Peterson, said. "This total includes debris removal, protective measures and repairs. Based on the information provided to FEMA, the projects as written are an accurate reflection of the disaster damage."

FEMA paid 75 percent of the damages while the state paid the rest, Ehler said. The total was $739,562.75, he said.

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