Schools unsure how to use Measure 98 funds

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Schools unsure how to use Measure 98 funds

4:25 p.m. PST November 11, 2016

Salem-Keizer schools awoke Wednesday morning with the possibility of a $10.2 million gift headed their way — a gift from voters who approved Measure 98.

The Salem-Keizer School District stands to be the biggest financial benefactor from the measure, which passed Tuesday night.

The purpose of the measure is to boost and expand career technical education (CTE), drop-out prevention and advanced placement programs.

Though a substantial amount of money may be coming their way, district officials said, “It is too soon to know specifically how the money will be used.”

“We have a lot of possibilities, but we need to work through a planning process before we will know exactly where the money will go,” said Jay Remy, a spokesperson for the district.

Measure 98, formally called The Oregon State Funding for Dropout Prevention and College Readiness Initiative, requires the Legislature to appropriate at least $800 per high school student, per school year, for districts to create or expand college-level educational opportunities, career and technical education programs and drop-out prevention strategies.

The funding would come from a portion of unallocated revenue accrued in the past 10 years of economic growth, according to Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the Yes on 98 campaign.

The Salem-Keizer School District is estimated to receive $10.2 million, should the legislature not make amendments, which is the most of any district in the state.

The funding is based on “extended weighted average daily membership” — how many ninth through 12th graders are in attendance.

When asked if the districts plans to dedicate the money solely to career technical education, rather than the other categories they can use it for, Remy said, “We will consider using it for anything that is allowable. But it is too soon to make any decisions or rule anything in or out yet.”

Salem-Keizer has 6,000 of its 42,000 students enrolled in at least one career and technical education course, as of October.

Students take career and technical education classes primarily at the district’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) in Salem. The center opened up shop and started classes last fall.

The district has a drop out rate of about 3.8 percent, which is below the statewide rate of 4.3 percent.

The district already has a handful of dropout recovery and prevention programs, according to district officials, which include literacy centers, online resources, teen-parent programs and graduation coaches.

Central School District is in a simliar situation as Salem-Keizer — standing to receive money, but not yet having a plan on what to do with it.

Cec Koontz, business manager for the district, said they have not worked through their plans on the district level yet.

“A lot of the programming (other districts might use the money for) are things we already have,” she said. “We cannot use Measure 98 to pay for some things … it has to start brand new programs.”

Koontz said if cuts were to come up in the future, affecting their existing programs, the district cannot use Measure 98 funds to continue them.

“We are earmarking it for the future,” she said.

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist or on the Web at nataliepate.com

Estimated M98 funds by district

DISTRICT STUDENTS FUNDS
Cascade 5,838 $565,690
Central 1,220 $824,311
Dallas 1,291 $871,877
Gervais 519 $350,853
Jefferson 394 $266,096
North Santiam 831 $561,278
Salem-Keizer 15,128 $10.2 million
Silver Falls 1,453 $981,114
Woodburn 2,146 $1.4 million
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