Jackson County Schools still recovering from Michael

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Marianna, FL (WTVY) Marianna High School Principal Carlan Martin knows too well how hurricanes impact school systems and he also knows recovery doesn't come quickly.

“I was in Hurricane Opal when I was in Crestview (Florida), so I had a little bit of an idea of how things were going to work, and I knew it would be a year, sometimes a year plus, time frame for things to get done,” says Martin.

In Marianna, every school sustained damage and some were nearly destroyed.

Damage to fences, athletic fields, walkways, and roofs are some of the problems school officials faced after the storm brought 100 mile per hour winds to the Jackson County city.

“When we returned back to school from the storm all of our walkways were gone. Our health clinic was blown away, two of our buildings had trees on top of them, several of our classrooms had a lot of water damage,” Marianna Middle School principal Eddie Ellis told WTVY.

A few miles east is the small town of Grand Ridge where that city's school received major damage.

One year and $12 million later, issues caused by the hurricane continue to present challenges to Jackson County.

“We just recently found out that Graceville High School’s roof was damaged by Hurricane Michael,” said Superintendent Larry Moore.
He predicts that will increase repair costs by another $4 million.

The good news is that money isn't coming from tax dollars but, instead, from insurance. Because of that, more resources can be used for students. .

“The Florida Department of Education has allocated additional funding for mental health counselors. That is really helping to deal with something for those immediate issues as far as mental health concerns,” Moore s aid.

Many students, many displaced, struggled to go to school after the powerful storm roared across the Florida panhandle. Often, they couldn't get there on time.

Because some couldn't make it to campus on time--or make it at all--Marianna High School's state rating dropped from an A to a C.

With resilience from students and teachers the system, as a whole, was able to maintain its “B” average.

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