Katy ISD: Hurricane Harvey cost district $30M in damage claims, $374M in property value loss

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More than a year after Hurricane Harvey hit the Greater Houston area, Katy ISD’s financial department has estimated the direct costs to the district from the flooding event.

KISD Chief Financial Officer Chris Smith and KISD Business Manager Anne Faichtinger presented a report of these figures the board of trustees at its March 25 meeting. However, Smith stressed the full cost of the disaster may never be known.

According to the report, KISD’s damage claims—which included damages, emergency protective measures and shelters, Faichtinger said—totaled $30.3 million.

The district received its full limit from insurance of $25 million to pay for the claims, and it expects to eventually receive $4.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Faichtinger said. The remaining $600,000 in claims was paid by the district.

Hurricane Harvey also lowered the district’s revenues due to losses in property values, Smith said. A reappraisal process determined 2017 property values decreased $374 million across the 8,900 properties affected by the storm and subsequent flooding in the district’s boundaries.

Smith said this value audit was submitted to the state comptroller in January to get some of this money back.

KISD did receive some additional state funding because of Harvey, Smith said. The state gave the district $5.8 million despite a drop in enrollment and about $21.9 million in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years because all students received free or reduced lunch during September and October of 2017.

Additionally, by taking advantage of a tax swap, the district received about $25.9 million in its general fund revenues for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

KISD also received more than $7 million in other disaster grants to help pay for teacher salaries, transporting displaced students, asset tracking and technology to store files, according to the report.

Although the finance and operations department recorded all the damages and costs from Hurricane Harvey, there are many indirect expenses that cannot be calculated, Smith said.

“We don’t know and there’s no way to quantify some of the things that this district had to go through, such as 10 days of lost instruction, the property value loss on our ’18 property values,” he said and added other factors included stunted enrollment growth, loss of new residential and commercial growth, and an increase in insurance premiums.

Nevertheless, Smith expressed optimism for the future.

“We’re by and large are over the hump on [Harvey] and [can]put Harvey to bed and look forward—move forward—as that thing is in the past,” he said.

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Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jen has written about business, politics and education since 2013. Prior to CI, Jen was the web producer at Houston Business Journal.
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