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FEMA Issues Final Denial To Joplin Schools - KOAM TV 7

FEMA Issues Final Denial To Joplin Schools

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

    FEMA has issued it's final appeal denial for the Joplin School District - which meant the district missed out on millions of dollars in potential aid.
    In total - the Joplin School District missed out on $67 million in federal aid, all because the district, didn't meet FEMA's deadlines.
Dr. Ron Lankford, Asst. Superintendent, Joplin Schools: "It seemed like that failing to meet the 60 day was the common, at least the common message for denial of all of it."
But Dr. Ron Lankford says the district, was prepared, no matter what FEMA said.
Lankford: "The district went ahead and planned all along as if they would not get the appeals."
Lankford says part of the issues involved in meeting the deadlines, was the disaster itself.
Lankford: "So it wasn't like a city losing a city hall, it was a school district that lost multiple school buildings, four buildings, displacement of a lot of students, and that's not even considering all of the other tragedy associated with it."
But the City of Joplin, met all those deadlines, and had to deal with destruction on a larger scale.
City Manager Sam Anselm says experience paid off there.
Sam Anselm, Joplin City Manager: "Having gone through what we went through in 2007 with the ice storms, we were pretty well prepared, our finance director and our finance department especially, they knew, sort of what to expect in 2011 when we had our tornado."
While the city had past experience, the district, did not, and Lankford says the scope of the destruction, played a part in missing the deadlines, which even Anselm says, can play a factor.
Anselm: "The scale of the disaster I think impacts an organizations ability to respond to a lot of the deadlines and the requirements for different federal agencies."
We did reach out to FEMA officials who told us the Stafford Act regulates the 60 day deadline for appeals, and that FEMA does not have the authority to provide any kind of extension.
     Lankford tells us that even though the district did not get the $67 million, because they were prepared not to receive assistance, the district is only paying out of pocket for around $4 million after insurance adjustments.
    Lankford added with the FEMA denials finalized, the district will now be able to receive reimbursement from the State Emergency Management Agency.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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