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Families of Newtown shooting victims to receive $281,000 each

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Jan. 14, 2013: White roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are displayed on a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children in Newtown, Conn.AP

Families of the 26 children and educators killed in the Connecticut school shooting last year will receive $281,000 each under a final plan, released Wednesday, for dividing up $7.7 million in donations.

The families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will each get $20,000. Two staff members who were injured will get $75,000 each.

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation released the final plan after the draft proposal by a distribution committee of the foundation was recommended last week. The foundation's board approved the plan Monday.

"The board wishes to express its appreciation for the thorough and thoughtful efforts of the distribution committee," foundation Chairman Charles Herrick said.

Retired U.S. District Court Judge Alan Nevas, the committee chairman, thanked Kenneth Feinberg for his advice on how to allocate the $7.7 million to the 40 families.

"We went through a thoughtful and deliberative process which included private meetings with many of the families and received input at a public forum," Nevas said. "While no amount of money can serve to ease the pain experienced by these families, we feel confident in these recommendations and wish the foundation well in its continuing work to help the community of Newtown heal."

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother at their home before driving to the school and assaulting school children and staff, then killing himself as police arrived. His motive remains unclear.

The foundation was asked to divide up more than $11 million raised with the help of the United Way. The foundation 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.

At a public hearing last week, some questioned the process for arriving at the $7.7 million for the families and why all the money wasn't going to the victims. Some victims' families have said dealing with questions over how to distribute the money has caused them more pain.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy weighed in Friday with a letter expressing frustration with the process and calling for an independent party to handle the remaining nearly $4 million in donations. Malloy said he hopes families are not precluded from receiving additional money.

Patrick Kinney, a foundation spokesman, countered that the fund was created to help those most affected by the shooting, including families, surviving students and first responders and is best managed by local people who understand their long-term needs. He said the remaining money will be used for services to support the needs of all those affected by the tragedy, which doesn't exclude anyone who has already received money.

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