The Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator told Gov. Greg Abbott that damage from the Oct. 20 tornado was not severe enough to warrant federal relief funding, according to the Dallas Morning News. Abbott will appeal the decision. Millions of dollars are at stake. Failure to document damage done to the Dallas ISD schools may have been a factor.
Here’s City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates’ take on it: “I am disappointed to say that FEMA rejected the state of Texas’ request a major disaster declaration. The impacted municipalities had a collective $18.89 million of confirmed damages, well short of the $38.5 million cut off. FEMA did not validate DISDs under-insured school losses which is what led to this shortfall. Governor Greg Abbott’s office, through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the City of Dallas are preparing an appeal of the denial. We have 30 days from March 31 to file an appeal with documentation that supports an excess of $38.5 million in damages, the State threshold for a FEMA disaster declaration.Today, the City of Dallas and TDEM received the damage estimates for TJ High School and Walnut Hill Elementary School, which, coupled with the estimates already received for damages to Cary middle school, will put us well over the $38.5 million threshold. Now that we have all the pertinent information, we will be working with FEMA to validate these estimated damages. Once complete, we will submit a formal appeal to FEMA and hopefully receive the disaster declaration we desperately need.”