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Oregon schools might get reimbursed for lead testing

Oregon school districts, including local districts 4J, Bethel and Springfield, might get reimbursed for money spent on lead testing that took place this summer. At the time the districts commenced the lead testing, there was no guarantee from the state that they would receive funding to cover the cost of the tests.

According to a notice sent from Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor to Oregon superintendents, the Oregon Legislature has set aside $5 million to help schools pay for lead testing in drinking water. Charters schools are eligible for the funding, according to the notice.

The notice goes on to say that schools must meet a list of criteria in order to qualify for receiving the funds. The criteria include that the testing agency used must be accredited by the Oregon Health Authority, and that testing must have taken place between March 1 and December 1 of this year. 

4J estimated the cost of its testing would amount to $25,000 or more. Earlier this year, 4J found high levels of lead in the drinking water of a handful its schools, and subsequently decided to test drinking water in the entire district. 

According to current information available on the district's website, testing is still in progress in many schools throughout the 4J district. It is unclear how much repairs will cost the district once it is determined which fixtures need to be replaced.