Under a draft proposal presented at a public forum on Thursday, July 11, the families of each of the 26 victims of the 12/14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings would receive $281,000 in donated funds.
Also, under those preliminary recommendations, the families of the 12 surviving children who were in the classrooms where the shootings occurred would receive $20,000 each. Also, two teachers who were injured in the incident would divide $150,000.
Those proposals for fund distribution would cover $7.7 million of the overall $11.4 million in donated money whose disbursement is being overseen by The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc. Those collected funds earlier were overseen by the United Way.
Alan Nevas, a former federal judge who heads a three-member fund distribution committee for the foundation, said that the panel would make a final decision on disbursing the $7.7 million by Monday, July 15. The committee met privately with some families affected by the tragedy just before the July 11 forum.
The July 11 session was held to solicit public comment on the proposed fund distribution.
Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who served as special advisers to the distribution committee, formulated the fund distribution proposal.
Mr Feinberg said that all claims for funds must be submitted by August 2. Checks would be issued to recipients by August 15, he said.
Mr Feinberg said that the tax-free funds to be distributed to the families are not adequate.
“No amount is adequate to deal with these horrors,” he said.
Another distribution committee would be formed by the foundation to decide how to disburse the remaining $3.7 million of donated finds for community purposes.
Several people spoke at the Edmond Town Hall forum.
Robert Accomondo, representing the charity known as My Sandy Hook Family Fund, said that many local residents wish that the workings of the foundation had been more “transparent” in determining that $7.7 million would be the amount designated for the families most directly affected by the tragedy.
Mr Nevas said the distribution committee was given the task of deciding how to distribute the $7.7 million by the foundation. The distribution panel did not decide on that $7.7 million amount, Mr Nevas stressed.
Jeffrey Dion, representing the National Center for Victims of Crime, endorsed the disbursement proposal that would provide funds to the families of the children who witnessed the crime.
Caryn Kaufman, representing a coalition of shooting victims in past incidents across the nation, asked why all of the $11.4 million in donated funds is not being given to the victims’ families. Those families should receive all of the donated money, she stressed.
Ms Kaufman asked how the remaining $3.7 million of the overall $11.4 million would be distributed.
In a statement, the foundation has said that the $3.7 million would be used for short-term and long-term community needs with priority given to programs that assist the most-affected families, first responders, and school personnel. A second fund distribution committee will soon be formed to consider such disbursements, according to the foundation.
The foundation was formed to oversee the distribution of money that had been received by the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. That fund had been jointly established by the United Way of Western Connecticut and the Newtown Savings Bank.