Wildfires Burn Southern California; State Assistance Promised

Multiple wildfires have grown in Southern California due to increases in the Santa Ana Winds.

By Tuesday morning the Thomas Fire in Ventura has burned 45,000 acres and forced 27,000 people to evacuate

School closures have been issued until at least Wednesday for the following school districts:

  • Conejo Valley Unified School District,
  • Fillmore Unified
  • Hueneme Elementary School District
  • Mesa Union
  • Mupu Elementary School District
  • Ojai Unified
  • Oxnard Union High School District
  • Oxnard School District
  • Rio School District
  • Santa Paula Unified
  • Ventura County Office of Education
  • Ventura Unified

As well as for the following schools part of Los Angeles Unified:

  • Apperson Street Elementary School
  • Brainard Elementary School
  • Mount Gleason Middle School
  • Mount Lukens Continuation High
  • Mountain View Elementary School
  • Pinewood Avenue Elementary School
  • Pinewood Avenue Early Education Center
  • Plainview Academic Charter Academy
  • Stonehurst Avenue Elementary School
  • Sunland Elementary School
  • Verdugo Hills Senior High School

The California Department of Education has already vowed to help provide financial assistance for the districts affected by the wildfires.

“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,” said State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. “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 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 and identify other assistance. For example, CDE will work with any schools that want to apply for federal School Emergency Response to Violence grants to fund crisis counseling services, overtime for school staff and law enforcement, substitute teachers, and some reconstruction costs.

More information can be found on the CDE Wildfires webpage. School fire recovery resources can be found here.