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State to Reimburse Springfield for Tornado-Related School Repairs

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – The state has announced that the City of Springfield will be receiving state help as it tries to rebuild two schools damaged in the tornado.

At an announcement Wednesday morning, the State Treasurer’s office announced that the Mass. School Building Authority plans on reimbursing the city for the costs associated with rebuilding the Brookings and Dryden Schools, both which were damaged during the tornado of 2011.

The state will reimburse costs that will not be fully covered by FEMA.

“There is no question that the people of Springfield will save millions as a result of this amendment.” State Treasurer Steve Grossman says.

Under state law, the state cannot pay for more than 80 percent of a school project, but just last week, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation allowing the Mass. School Building Authority to fund more than that 80 percent for schools that were damaged by a federally declared disaster between June 1, 2011 and August 1, 2012.

“Just days after the tornado hit, we visited these two schools and got a firsthand look at the damage that this natural disaster left in its wake. The MSBA is proud to stand with the City of Springfield and its children as we commit to fund and rebuild these two schools,” says Treasurer Grossman.

At Wednesday’s announcement, city and state leaders were careful to throw out estimates on just how much money they’d pay in compensation.

“We have to have FEMA in agreement with what their share is going to be before we figure all of this out.” MSBA Chairman Jack McCarthy says.

It’s a figure we may not know until months from now. Both projects are in the early stages, and bids are still coming in for the reconstruction of the Brookings School.

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