Governor Extends Wildfire Order Assisting Schools

 Keenan Blog

Governor Extends Wildfire Order Assisting Schools

June 12, 2019

Last November, wildfires in Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties caused unprecedented devastation. Among the losses in the Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires were numerous schools severely damaged or destroyed, displacing thousands of students in the middle of their school year. Governor Brown’s November 30, 2018 executive order provided significant relief to the schools impacted by the fires. To help those schools and their students through the continuing recovery period, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on June 5, 2019 to extend statutory relief and continuity of education to the affected communities.

This new executive order extends most of the statutory waivers for impacted school districts, county offices of education and charter schools throughout the 2019-2020 school year. The waivers provide those local educational agencies relief from strict compliance with statutes and regulations that prevent, hinder or delay their recovery efforts. Included are provisions that facilitate use of funds to reconstruct cafeteria and kitchen facilities; enable the use of alternative sites for classroom-based charter schools; and allow governing boards to meet outside their jurisdictional boundaries.

Many of the waivers pertain to requirements for classroom facilities so that students can continue their education at temporary sites. Certain zoning regulations were suspended, and code upgrades won’t be required if the buildings are determined safe for use by the local building official. Construction of temporary facilities using only relocatable buildings on vacant land is also allowed. Districts with inaccessible or damaged facilities are permitted to continue using temporary sites outside their district boundaries. Classroom-based charter schools of the Paradise USD or the Butte COE are authorized to establish alternative sites anywhere in Butte County.

Because so many families were displaced in the Camp fire, residency requirements for the Paradise USD are still suspended.

For the current 2019-2019 school year, academic performance and physical performance testing requirements have been waived for the impacted districts, where a federal waiver has also been approved.

Governor Newsom’s executive order references provisions in Governor Brown’s original executive order from last year. The text of the November 2018 order can be accessed here.

Keenan’s IMReady team provides training in emergency response, continuity of operations, and recovery capabilities following a disaster or mass-casualty event. The IMReady team provided the Wildfire Disaster Assistance Guidance for California Schools webinar, to help school districts navigate state and federal relief assistance programs following these fires in 2018. The recording of that webinar can be found here.

About William M. Clayton, MS, CSRM, ARM-P, CPD
Bill Clayton joined the Keenan Loss Control team after 27 years in public service. Bill began his career in the U.S. Navy and served in combat in Vietnam and later served in Guam as a police officer, field supervisor, and U.S. Customs Inspector for the Joint Armed Forces Police Detachment. He’s had real-life experience as a first responder and emergency manager. His assignments included environmental safety officer and emergency manager, and nine years as the safety and loss control manager for a large school and community college risk management JPA.

Bill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, a Master of Science degree in Emergency Services Administration, is a Certified School Risk Manager (CSRM), and an Associate in Risk Management with a Public Entities (ARM-P) designation. Additionally, he’s earned the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Professional Designation (CPD). His extensive Federal (FEMA & Homeland Security) and California State training and experience in risk and emergency management, makes him a subject-matter leader on the IMReady suite of services provided for public entity clients to help them in preparing for unexpected critical incidents and events.