Wednesday, July 27, 2016
FEMA rejects Joplin R-8 requests for reimbursement, millions at stake
Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting was the first time district officials have acknowledged publicly that the federal agency is not seeing eye to eye with them on what expenses taxpayers should be expected to reimburse.
CFO Paul Barr said the district filed "a second appeal" to FEMA on the East project and in response to a question from board member Debbie Fort said the initial request for reimbursement on millions of dollars in "errors and omissions" had also been turned down.
The district's budget and its balances have been based on the money Barr has indicated month after month would be headed this way.
"Errors and omissions" is a phrase that includes items that were not originally in the plans district officials submitted to FEMA, including what Barr termed in a 2014 board meeting as "might-as-well spending," which he defined as spending that takes place because the district wanted to do it at some point and it "might as well" do it now.
Barr's reference was to items that had been added at Joplin High School, including extra tennis courts, artificial turf and lighting for all fields and practice fields, and a track at the high school, all items that had not been included in the original plans.
The documentation provided to the board Tuesday night did not include any information about exactly how much money the district is hoping to receive, but documentation provided for the March meeting indicated that the district had received $11.4 million at that time with an additional $17.1 million that has still not been paid. That amount included $207,708 for the East Middle School'Soaring Heights grounds.The documentation made no mention of which of the remaining $16.9 million falls into the "errors and omissions" category.