School insurance claim denied; some assistance coming

School insurance claim denied; some assistance coming

After a meeting with New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal on Thursday, Whitehall Central School District was made aware that its claim for damages to the junior/senior high school will be mostly denied.

Superintendent Patrick Dee said that NYSIR made the determination that the damages were a result of a flood and not the backup of the school’s sewer and drain systems, which was previously determined by the district and its engineers.

As of right now NYSIR is waiting for a report from its engineering firm, according to Dee, which “would identify the scope and cost of repairs.” The district is doing the same on its end.

“NYSIR has shown a willingness to work with the district and its professional adjuster to allocate a percentage of the water loss that came through the roof and walls of the building versus the percentage of the water loss that came through the roof and what NYSIR is calling, ‘flood,’” Dee said in an email Thursday night.

The school suffered these damages after severe storms hit Whitehall and hit the junior/senior high school hard on Aug. 24. Dee has said that the entire school was impacted by standing water ranging from a few inches to a few feet in some places.

This is not the response that Dee had anticipated, but NYSIR will be advancing $1 million to the district to allow it to go ahead with the mitigation of damage. Dee said that NYSIR is also considering the provision of portable classrooms and offices which will allow the school to begin bringing students back for in-person instruction while the repair process is ongoing.

Dee said they aren’t going to go down without a fight and that the district is going to “strongly advocate” for all the coverage that the district, their professional engineers and others believe they deserve.

“While this is not the preliminary decision that the district was hoping for or expecting, it is a step forward as NYSIR has now shown a willingness to work with the district,” Dee said.