December 5, 2017
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Assistance Ready for Any Ventura County Schools Closed by Wildfire
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Tuesday that state assistance is ready to go for any schools closed by a raging wildfire in Ventura County.
High winds drove the Thomas Fire into the City of Ventura and by Tuesday morning burned 45,000 acres, destroyed 150 structures, and forced 27,000 people to evacuate. The fire continues pushing east toward Camarillo and north toward Ojai, closing at least 100 public schools and impacting more than 75,000 students
“Safety is the absolute top priority for students and their families, and I thank school officials for acting quickly to close any school sites due to evacuations or hazardous air quality,” Torlakson said. “The California Department of Education will help schools receive state funding and provide other support.”
State law allows local education agencies to apply for a waiver to hold them harmless from the loss of attendance based local control funding formula (LCFF) funding and instructional time penalties if they have to close schools because of a natural disaster such as floods, fires, or earthquakes.
Staff at CDE will also coordinate with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and identify other assistance. For example, CDE will work with any schools that want to apply for federal School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grants to fund crisis counseling services, overtime for school staff and law enforcement, substitute teachers, and some reconstruction costs.
Approval of school closures and material decreases in attendance may be requested by submitting two copies of Form J-13A (DOC). For more guidance on ADA relief, see the CDE’s Management Advisory 90-01 on ADA Credit During Periods of Emergency.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100