Repair work throughout the summer has allowed just about all of the public schools in New Jersey that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy to reopen for the start of the new school year.
Gov. Chris Christie and Education Commissioner Chris Cerf traveled to Long Beach Island Wednesday to welcome students for the first day of classes at the Beach Haven School.
The 101-year-old elementary school just a block from the ocean sustained about $2 million in damage from flooding caused by Sandy.
Students are glad to be back in their own building after finishing the last school year at an elementary school a half hour away, said superintendent Eva Marie Raleigh.
“This is a small school. There are maybe eight to 12 kids in a class. So it’s very personal. It’s like being home. Now it’s just new and improved,” she said. “Their test scores have always been high, but there’s no ceiling we’re going to go higher.”
Only one school damaged by Sandy has not reopened. Repairs are still under way at the Long Beach Island elementary school, and students are not expected to return to that building until March.
“Virtually every school in the state immediately closed, 2,500 schools in total,” Cerf said. “So the fact that we’re down to one school that’s well on its way to completion is a testament to a lot of extraordinary work by a lot of people.”
In all, damages from Sandy to New Jersey schools has been estimated at $40 million.