Teachers, students replacing school supplies after Cedar Ridge f - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Teachers, students replacing school supplies after Cedar Ridge fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wood says it is her understanding that the insurance company will be unable to replace all the items that she and Callahan have personally bought, 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 district and 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 supplies during the fire. For Wood, it is closer to $1,500.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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