Legislature allocates $7.4 million for school wildfire recovery
Friday, October 23, 2020
The Legislature’s Joint Emergency Board approved $7.4 million Friday, Oct. 23, for immediate relief for Oregon schools hurt by the September wildfires.
The Legislature could take up more wildfire recovery issues in November. Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod let slip that he expects Gov. Kate Brown to call a third special session in three weeks.
The board allocation Friday, which the Oregon Department of Education will distribute, is enough to meet the damage estimates of the 16 school districts and one public charter school that asked for money. Estimates included costs for cleanup, especially smoke damage, and resources to support families.
The McKenzie School District, which has some fire damage on its campus, had the largest estimate. The $3.4 million works out to about $17,000 per student, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office.
ODE will allocate the money based on ongoing needs as well as reimbursements districts will receive from insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
ODE is still working with the Southern Oregon Education Service District on its estimate of $23 million to replace buildings and equipment lost in Phoenix. ODE is collecting more information on expected insurance coverage and Southern Oregon ESD’s replacement plans before asking the emergency board for more money.
OSBA has created a Wildfire Resources page with links to where people can donate to help schools.