West School Restoration Fund Has $1M Target

West School was one of the most heavily damaged schools in the Long Beach district. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
West School was one of the most heavily damaged schools in the Long Beach district. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

As the Long Beach School School District works to sanitize and rebuild West School, the building hit hardest in Hurricane Sandy, a trio of West School mothers – Amanda Moore, Kourtney Guenego and Autumn Raubuck – established Project Westoration Dollar Drive, an ambitious effort to raised one million dollars by Jan. 31 to help restore their children’s school that sustained between $5 million to $6 million in flood-related damages.

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School officials said at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting that they hope the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the district for most of the costs, which includes cleanup crews gutting the first floor of all that came in contact with three-feet of floodwater, according to the Long Beach Herald.

Michael DeVito, the schools district’s chief operating officer, said the district is working ambitiously to reopen the school at the end of March. On Monday, West School students who were doubled up with students at East School after the storm were relocated to Lindell School.   

About the fundraiser project, which asks for donations of just $1 and is pulling in contributions from as far away as Australia, DeVito said:

“It’s a great effort on the part of those who are organizing it. It shows how much dedication — and pride — people have to their school community.”
According to the Westoration Dollar Drive website on Friday, the project has raised $7,359.

“A small board of concerned parents will be working closely with the school district to convert these raised funds into direct purchases for the classrooms of West Elementary,” the website states. “And then our children can return to their school and begin creating new special memories, projects and their futures once again.”

Laura Guenego, who donated $100 toward the project, wrote on the website about her donation: “For my grandchildren, Eile Lee Guenego, 1st Grade, and Lochlan Kekoa Guenego, Kindergarten. They miss their own school very much. Can't wait to be with their own teachers in their own classrooms.”

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