Hyde County Schools to receive $4.9 million from NC Department of Public Instruction to assist Hurricane Dorian recovery
Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Submitted by Hyde County Schools
State Superintendent Mark Johnson and officials at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction informed Hyde County Schools that NCDPI would be providing $4.9 million to the school district to assist in the recovery from Hurricane Dorian. Hyde County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight was notified Tuesday morning, February 25 of the reallocation of funds from a 2018 $91.5 million appropriation by the General Assembly to the Department of Public Instruction for hurricane disaster relief.
Basnight explained: “These funds became available to us as a result of districts returning money they had been allocated for storm recovery, previous to Dorian. Those districts were able to use insurance, federal disaster relief and other funding sources to cover their recovery costs, which ultimately freed up this money to be reallocated to us, and I am so thankful they did!”
Cleaning up, tearing down and elevating of buildings is continuing on Ocracoke Island in the aftermath of the September 6, 2019 hurricane. The only buildings that are currently in use on the Ocracoke School campus are the second floor of the elementary classrooms and the carpentry shop below the WOVV radio station. All other classroom areas of the school, including the media center, do not have floors or walls below four feet as a result of flooding. Hyde County Schools is working to have a 10-classroom modular unit placed on the campus by April.
Ocracoke School is holding classes in three separate locations on the Island for different grade levels: the Lower Elementary School in the former day care facility, the Upper Elementary on the second floor of the elementary building and grades 6-12 in the NCCAT facility.
“We are extremely grateful to be able to use the Day Care and NCCAT facilities to provide ‘classrooms’ for our students on Ocracoke. A school day on Ocracoke would look much different if we did not have those two facilities. NCCAT Director Dr. Brock Womble and the staff at the NCCAT facility have welcomed us with open arms and we cannot thank them enough. They even prepare breakfast and lunches for our students every day,” Basnight said.
The current plans involve using the majority of the allocation to rebuild the portion of the Ocracoke campus where the administrative offices, middle school and high school classes were primarily housed.
Ocracoke School was not the only area of Hyde County Schools to receive damage from Hurricane Dorian. On the mainland, Mattamuskeet Early College has three classroom buildings with significant roof damage, as does the school bus garage. The district is hoping to designate the remainder of the assistance funds to addressing those areas.
In a statement, Basnight said, “On behalf of the students, staff and families of Hyde County Schools and most especially Ocracoke Island, please let me say how incredibly humbled and grateful we are for the ongoing support we have received from the staff at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction since Hurricane Dorian. This level of support reaffirms our desire and commitment to improve the educational opportunities for all students in our district because educating children matters.”