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Newtown victims' families question handling of donations

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NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -

In the months following the horrific events inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, donations from around the world helped raise millions for the victims' families, but now there is outrage and plenty of questions over how the money is being divided.

A panel given the task of breaking down the donations released its suggestions on what to do with the more than $11 million, and people are wondering why only roughly three-quarters of that money is going to those affected most.

"How did we get to $7.7 million?" said victim's spokesperson Caryn Kaufman at a public forum Thursday night. "Why isn't all the money going to the victims?"

That's the million-dollar question - or more specifically $7.7 million.

Created by the United Way and Newtown Savings Bank, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund raised more than $11 million in the aftermath of the second-worst mass shooting in United States history.

The foundation's director decided $7.7 million of that money would go to those impacted the most.

"Is the money adequate? Of course not," Victim Compensation Expert Ken Feinberg said. "No amount is adequate."

At the public forum in Newtown Thursday night, the panel broke down how the money would be handed out.

The families of the 20 children and six adults killed inside the school will each get $281,000.

The two teachers that were shot and survived will split $150,000 and the 12 surviving children who witnesses the tragedy will get $20,000 each.

The same people who helped distribute funds following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Boston Marathon Bombings and the Aurora, CO, theater shooting helped to create the plan. They said even they didn't think they'd only be working with three-quarters of the donations, and they said that's not the only issue.

"I'm amazed at how long it's taken to get this money out the door," Feinberg said.

A number of victims' families told Channel 3 Eyewitness News they're also wondering about the delay and why the full amount of donations isn't being distributed. But the head of the distribution committee said they're hands were tied by the foundation's board of directors.

So where is the rest of the money going?

WFSB was told the remaining funds will go to short- and long-term community needs, supporting programs to assist impacted families, school staff and first responders.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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