Teachers, students replacing school supplies after Cedar Ridge fire

(Cedar Ridge High School classroom Jan. 17)
(Cedar Ridge High School classroom Jan. 17)

NEWARK, AR (KAIT) – The Cedar Ridge School District inNewark has reopened all but one section of its high school three weeks after anearly morning fire there.

Cleaning crews have thrown away a lot of supplies thatsustained fire and smoke damage since then.

The insurance company is now working with the school toreplace everything it lost, but the coverage will not likely extend to thesupplies that the teachers and students bought themselves.

This particularly affects Shanda Wood and PrisscillaCallahan, the two teachers that lost just about all their supplies during thefire on January 11.

"I have a few items that I actually was able to take with methat mainly came from my office area, the storage, not necessarily in theclassroom," said Wood, who teaches business and computer classes. "We threwmost of that away."

Wood says it is her understanding that the insurance companywill be unable to replace all the items that she and Callahan have personallybought, which includes extra school supplies for their students.

"I try to buy binders for the students, pens and pencils,"said Callahan, who teaches computer classes. "We're from a very poor districtand so we try to have stuff for the kids who aren't able to purchase those."

She estimates that she lost about $500 of her suppliesduring the fire. For Wood, it is closer to $1,500.

Both say they could file claims through their homeownersinsurance to try and recoup those costs, but they risk having their insurancerates raised.

"My main thing is not necessarily my personal stuff," Woodsaid. "It's my community and these kids who can't afford the school suppliesthat they require."

Many students, like junior Spencer Reaves, had to clean outtheir lockers following the fire because of smoke damage and soot.

"I had to throw away a lot of stuff," Reaves said. "A coupleof binders I could keep and still work and weren't too affected by it, but alot of stuff I did have to throw away."

Reaves was able to replace his supplies, but some of hisclassmates cannot.

Those are the ones who depended on teachers like Callahanand Wood that now have nothing to offer them.

"I do understand that the insurance we'll kind of give thema generic price on what we think some of [those supplies] cost," Wood said, "butthat's just a process. We need to have these kids learning now."

A special account has now been set up by First CommunityBank of Batesville.

People can make donations to the account that will help theteachers replace their supplies as well as the students who lost theirs.

The account will stay open until February 22 to collectdonations, and then it will be closed. The account number is 4007092.

Once the account is closed and the money is totaled, Woodand Callahan plan to take some of their students on a field trip to Jonesboroto buy school supplies that will then be distributed to their classmates inneed.

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