State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) has negotiated a payment of $973,863.36 from the Microsoft Corporation to Paradise Unified School District to help with rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire. The money is leftover from the Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program, which was established after a $1.1 billion settlement in 2003 ordering Microsoft to reimburse California consumers for antitrust violations.
“Butte County educators and their communities suffered greatly during and after the Camp Fire. They have also worked heroically and selflessly toward helping students,” said Thurmond. “I’m proud of the work the CDE is continuing to do in assisting students and educators in Paradise and surrounding communities. This grant will help Paradise Unified rebuild schools and support its education infrastructure.”
Fourteen schools were damaged or destroyed during the Camp Fire in November 2018. The fire temporarily forced the closure of 99 schools and displaced 31,670 students. On December 3, 2018, 87 schools reopened with about 28,032 students returning to their school of origin and 2,208 students attending classes at temporary school sites.
Microsoft was ordered in 2003 to reimburse eligible California consumers $1.1 billion for antitrust violations. After the opportunity for reimbursement ended, a substantial settlement balance remained. The Superior Court of California ordered that residual funds be offered to California’s K–12 schools and districts for educational technology purchases through the Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program. After five K–12 Voucher funding distributions totaling $482.3 million were disbursed to California schools, $973,863.36 remained. Upon the CDE’s request, Microsoft agreed to distribute the remaining funds directly to the Paradise Unified School District, which will use these funds at its own discretion to rebuild and serve students.