New York City has proposed spending $200 million in emergency funds to make critical repairs to public school facilities damaged last month by Hurricane Sandy.
The plan announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg calls for an appropriation of $200 million to the city's Education Department to repair buildings and roofs, remediate flood damage and install new boilers and electrical systems. The proposal must be approved by the City Council.
The proposal also calls for $300 million to the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation to repair damaged hospital buildings.
The city says in a news release that the spending plan represents only a portion of what will be needed to address storm-damaged facilities.
Bloomberg, along with City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Comptroller John C. Liu, announced the emergency funding at P.S. 207 Rockwood Park in Howard Beach, Queens. It is one of 23 school buildings that house a total of 37 schools that have been closed for repairs. The P.S. 207 campus will need new oil tanks and electrical wiring.
"Our city has never experienced a storm as destructive as Hurricane Sandy, and financing for these repairs is as necessary as is it urgent," says Mayor Bloomberg. "These school buildings and public hospitals are resources that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on every day—and we are not waiting for federal aid to begin the work of repairing and re-opening them."
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, also present at the announcement, added: "A key indicator that our city is getting back on track is students' getting back to class in their school building. This generous capital investment in the repair effort demonstrates a commitment to the success of our students and the communities hardest hit by Sandy."
Students, teachers and staff whose schools cannot reopen have been reassigned to temporary sites until their buildings are restored.
"This city and its volunteers have done a tremendous job of responding to the needs of those of us who have been impacted most by Sandy," says Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the Council Education Committee. "Undoubtedly, there is still much to do, and this is another great example of prioritizing resources to speed up the process of helping us rebuild our lives. Giving the affected communities back their public schools and hospitals will greatly help bring back a sense of normalcy and stability to our most vulnerable....Our children are especially eager to get back to their schools so that they can resume their routine and feel safe again."