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MOOSE LAKE-The area's superintendent of schools says it could take $1 million to repair facilities after last week's flooding.
Administrators say they are staying confident that the schools will be ready for students next fall. But working fix–up costs into budgets, however, will leave the district treading water.
District Superintendent Tim Caroline, in charge of the facility for 720 students, says he still has trouble believing the weather.
"It was a sense of shock because none of us in the community had ever expected this kind of flooding," Caroline said.
Photos show the high water mark but a lingering smell and feeling of moisture threatens everything from the walls to library book collections, Caroline said.
"At this point in time we're not sure if they're going to be able to be saved," Caroline said. "What hurt us was we started to have flooding internally backed up from the sewer and the drains."
Some of those damages could be covered but most may not be. The district did not have flood insurance (only 3 people in Moose Lake did).
Like most of the community, the district needs to find other money for repairs.
"Initially I applied for a line of credit which is just a short term fix to get through the next 45 days or so," district business manager Linda Dahlman said.
The district also has $500,000 in its capital fund. The state, however, is withholding some of those payments as part of a decade budget battle compromises.
They also look to these options: Additional operating referendum monies, Aid Anticipation Certificates, Aid Advance, Calamity Bonds, Disaster Relief Statues, and FEMA.
All of the ideas are things the fiscally conservative district has not turned to before.
"This all new to everybody and even the state department, we've been talking to them and, there haven't been too many floods in Minnesota," Dahlman said.
"Schools were already strapped for funding," Caroline said. "And with this now it's going to be a very, very, very tough challenge."
But the superintendent makes one guarantee.
"We will be opening our doors on time. It's just going to be a busy summer," Caroline said.
Just to remove all the water from the school could cost about $100,000.
This school was originally built in 1935. Recently there have been two failed referendums to build a new one.