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Gov. Rick Scott calls for funding to harden schools in rural districts

Liberty County schools will get $6 million in the first allocation.
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
The coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Thursday (10/11/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times The coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Thursday (10/11/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Published Nov. 2, 2018
Updated Nov. 5, 2018

Financially strapped rural Florida school districts are in line to receive additional funding to ensure new construction meets hurricane shelter standards.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that he has asked the state Department of Education to sent additional money to the districts so they can strengthen their buildings to withstand future storms. Several schools were destroyed in Hurricane Michael as it blew through the Panhandle area in October.

The Liberty County school district, which is building a new high school, is slated to get up to $6 million toward that project as part of Scott's executive order. The department will review other construction projects to determine if funding is needed for hurricane hardening.

"Today, to continue our work to make sure our communities rebuild better and stronger than before, I am directing the Florida Department of Education to provide critical funding to make sure that families in rural areas have strong shelters available close by to keep them safe," Scott, who is in a tight battle for a U.S. Senate seat, said in a news release.

UPDATE: The Florida Education Association has pointed out that the $6 million allocation to Liberty County that Scott made his press statement about actually appeared in the state budget adopted in the spring (see page 8), and as such could not have been tied to Hurricane Michael.