Reeling from a fire-ravaged autumn in which “disaster days” have already cost some 800,000 students days and even weeks of instruction, California educators are asking the state to address one of the most sweeping consequences of climate-fueled wildfire: the now-annual mass emergency closures of schools.
In Sonoma County, where some schools have lost nearly 40 instructional days in two years to wildfires, floods and power shutoffs, one superintendent is leading a lobbying campaign for “summer disaster relief” school funding to underwrite summer school in fire country. In Butte County, another has told lawmakers that pre-emptive blackouts forced him to choose between educating kids in the dark or risking $107,000 per day in attendance-based state money.
On the rural North Coast, a state senator and former school board member says he’s planning to push for school-based microgrids in 2020 so classrooms have backup the next time utilities cut the power to avoid sparking another inferno.
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