School closures during NorCal wildfires cost district $3M

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School closures from NorCal wildfires cost district $3M
Photo: Cal Fire

The devastating Northern California wildfires in October have had far-reaching consequences.

For one, the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) says it lost $3 million in state funds because it closed down schools on Thursday, Oct. 12 and Friday, Oct. 13 due to poor air quality resulting from the fires.

As defined on this California Department of Education website, most California school districts receive state funding based upon school attendance.

An effort is underway to reclaim the $3 million in lost funds. At its meeting Wednesday, the WCCUSD Board of Directors approved the district’s request to fill out and send a Request for Allowance of Attendance form.

Form J13A, as it is formerly called, is meant to recoup funding that is lost when an emergency forces school closures.

The form will be submitted to the County Office of Education followed by the California Department of Education.

At the time of the North Bay fires, WCCUSD Superintendent Matt Duffy said the decision to close the schools was not made lightly. Continued warnings about poor air quality left little choice, he said. Surrounding school districts including Vallejo, Benecia and Vacaville similarly decided to close schools.

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