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Panel Suggests Division Of $7.7M In Newtown Payments

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A public comment session at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, on how Netown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation should divide up $7.7-million among victims of the elementary school shooting. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

A public comment session at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, on how Netown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation should divide up $7.7-million among victims of the elementary school shooting. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN
Associated Press

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Preliminary recommendations on $7.7 million in donations collected after the Connecticut school shooting calls for giving $281,000 to each of the families of the 26 children and school educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

The families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the Dec. 14 shootings would each get $20,000; two teachers who were injured would get $150,000 between them.

A community foundation has been tasked with dividing up $11.4 million that was raised with the help of the United Way. The foundation previously decided to divvy up $7.7 million to the families and survivors and to have committees decide on uses for the remainder of the donations, including whether to use some of it for future mental health care and other needs.

The recommendations were released before a Thursday night public forum at Newtown’s Edmond Town Hall to discuss how to divide the $7.7 million. Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, special advisers to a distribution committee appointed by the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, made the recommendations.

“Is the money adequate? Of course not,” Feinberg said. “No amount is adequate to deal with these horrors. Money is a pretty poor substitute but that’s what we have. Solomon himself could not distribute this money in a fashion that would please everybody.”

The committee met privately before the meeting with some family members. A handful of people commented at the meeting, attended by dozens. Some questioned the process for arriving at the $7.7 million for the families.

“Why isn’t all the money going to all the victims? The intent was to give the money to the victims. We’re starting from a false premise and this process is re-victimizing the victims,” said Caryn Kaufman, who represents a coalition of prior mass shooting victims.

Jeffrey Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, praised the recommendation to provide money to the 12 children who survived the shootings because he said it recognizes the lasting trauma survivors suffer.

Some victims’ families have complained the process has caused them anguish by putting them in the difficult place of deciding how to divide the money.

The $7.7 million is expected to be paid out next month.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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