November, 16 2018
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Assures Schools Closed Due to Hazardous Air Quality that State Funding Will Continue
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today reminded educators who close schools because of dangerous air quality that they can apply for a waiver to ensure they do not lose funding because of a drop in attendance. He also pledged that they would be assisted by administrators from the California Department of Education.
State law allows schools to continue to receive state funds from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) if they have to close because of a natural disaster such as floods, fires, earthquakes or other extraordinary conditions, such as hazardous air quality.
The California Department of Education does not keep precise numbers of school closings, but schools are closed in 22 counties.
“The tragic wildfires in California that have caused so much heartbreaking destruction and loss of life are continuing to harm some of our schools and communities,” Torlakson said. “I want to thank school districts for acting to protect educators and students, and to let them know that the California Department of Education will assist them in any way that we can. Safety must come first for students, teachers, and staff.”
Torlakson also encouraged schools facing poor air quality to keep students indoors during recess and meals. Air quality information is available at the AirNow website, and wildfire information is available from the CAL FIRE website.
Approval of school closures and material decrease in attendance may be requested by submitting a Form J-13A. For more guidance on the J-13A submittal and approval process, see the CDE Form J-13A web page. More information about recovery resources is available from the CDE School Disaster Recovery web page, and at this CalOES California Wildfires web page. Find more information regarding health and the effects of smoke and ash on the CalEPA Fire Response and Recovery web page. Any impacted school or local education agency can contact EmergencyServices@cde.ca.gov to connect with the CDE team.
Counties where one or more schools are closed:
Contra Costa County
Los Angeles County
San Francisco County
San Joaquin County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100