The Iowa Department of Education stands ready to assist schools in preparing for, and responding to, disasters. Iowa Code defines "disaster" as man-made and natural occurrences that threaten the public peace, health, and safety of the people or that damage and destroy public or private property, such as:

  • Drought
  • Earthquake
  • Fire 
  • Flood
  • Hazardous substance accident
  • Nuclear power accident/incident
  • Tornado 
  • Windstorm

The term also includes attack, sabotage, or other hostile action within or outside the state. School administrators may contact the Department with questions and may access these sources of information.

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Funding & Disaster Recovery

A district could use a capital projects fund such as PPEL or SAVE for costs associated with new construction, repair, or remodeling. Maintenance costs, such as repainting, will be paid from the General Fund, and are not allowed in PPEL.

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Classroom Item Loss

Teachers and staff should contact their home owner insurance agents. In addition, they could contact their school administrators in case any personal items might be covered under the district’s insurance coverage.

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Emergency Levy Use

Upon the written approval of the SBRC, the school district may transfer money from the emergency levy fund to any other fund of the district for the purpose of meeting deficiencies in a fund arising within two years of a disaster as defined in section 29C.2, subsection 1, as a direct result of that disaster.

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Handling Long-term Disasters

Depending on the amount of expenditures, districts may need to amend their certified budgets if any of the budget control lines will be exceeded. Any work completed, but not paid for, would be recorded as an expenditure and payable on the district's records. Claims for reimbursement would be recorded as a receivable and a revenue if received within 60 days, or a deferred inflow if not received within 60 days.

The district or AEA may establish the disaster recovery fund (a special revenue fund) to account for the financial transactions related to disaster recovery that extend over more than one fiscal year, are normally accounted for in multiple other funds, and are not required to be accounted for in the emergency levy fund.

Establishment of a disaster recovery fund for a qualified disaster is not required of the district or AEA but is available for the convenience of the district or AEA in accumulating financial information necessary for FEMA or similar grants.

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  • Disaster Recovery FAQ - Answers questions regarding the definition of "disaster, environmental hazards, outstanding debt, records and reports, enrollment and tuition, accounting, School Budget Review Committee, AEAs and Juvenile Home classrooms, and transportation.
  • Iowa County Emergency Management
  • Technical Assistance - The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center at the U.S. Department of Education provides support to schools before, during, and after emergencies.


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