Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction, expresses appreciation to Sonoma schools
State superintendent of public instruction, Tony Thurmond, expressed his appreciation and support to Sonoma County superintendents today for their responses to the recent Public Safety Power Shutoffs and the Kincade Fire. The meeting was held today at the Sonoma County Office of Education in Santa Rosa.
Bruce Harter, deputy state superintendent of operations at the California Department of Education, joined Thurmond at the meeting.
"We're in this together," said Thurmond. "When kids aren't in school what do parents do? They rely on schools for clean air, a safe place to go and many times food to eat. We know climate change is real and these are not political issues. "
Thurmond continued, "The impact on students has got to be our focus. Governor Newsom has put into the new budget $50 million of ongoing money for school-based mental health services to help students with post trauma factors."
During the meeting, Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools, shared his proposal to California legislators to approve state-funded "disaster relief summer school" for districts that lost class time due to recent fires and related power outages.
Addressing school leaders, Dr. Herrington remarked "As you know, the last few years have taken a toll on schools across California. In Sonoma County, some of our school districts have lost more than 30 instructional days since 2017 due to wildfires, poor air quality, flooding and public safety power shutoffs."
Dr. Herrington's plan would be optional for districts that were prevented from holding class for at least five days due to a natural disaster or Public Safety Power Shutoffs to hold a disaster relief summer school program funded by the State to help make up lost instructional time.
The 40 school districts in Sonoma County have lost a combined total of 258 instructional days this fall alone.