School districts around the state are hosting community input sessions and working to complete continuous improvement plans to receive a portion of funding from the Student Success Act.

Schools in Roseburg and Douglas County are no different.

In May, Gov. Kate Brown signed the Student Success Act, which will provide more money for public schools in the coming year. The additional revenue will come from a commercial activity tax of 0.57% on gross receipts for most businesses that make more than $1 million in a fiscal year, beginning in 2020.

“We can finally invest in an education system that will ensure every single student in our state is on a path to realizing their dreams for the future,” Brown said in July. “What we have come together to do over the past few months will be felt by students, teachers and schools for years to come.”

The measure will be fully funded for the 2021-2023 biennium, but schools will see an increase in funding this biennium. ODE estimates the new tax will bring in $900 million for the 2019-2021 biennium.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, key investments for the current biennium include fully funding the State School Fund, which includes funding for career technical education.

Roseburg Public School expects to get between $3 and $4 million. The Oregon Department of Education is still filling positions to help streamline the process, and school districts will have to wait to see how much money will be distributed to each district.

ODE put out a timeline, which has been adjusted a few times, for school districts to follow.

Districts will hold community listening sessions until the end of the month, complete a Continuous Improvement Plan by Dec. 6 and develop an application for a Student Investment Account in the first two months of 2020. In March and April, districts will start to submit applications for the Student Investment Account and continue with more community engagement at the end of the school year.

School districts are asked to seek input from the community about reducing academic disparities, meeting students’ mental and behavioral health needs, access to academic courses, time allowed for teachers to collaborate and keep students on track to graduate and establishing and strengthening partnerships.

Roseburg Public Schools held two community listening sessions where about a dozen people gave their input on how to spend the money.

Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon said the district is in the process of rewriting its strategic plan and community input will help move the district forward.

“Education is inexplicably linked to the health of our community,” Cordon said.

Community members brought up changing the start times of schools, adding more career technical education in the middle schools to get kids excited about education and working with partners in the community, among other things.

When it came to deciding where to spend the money the majority of people in attendance found health and safety needed to be the priority of the district.

Roseburg community members will also get a chance to complete an online survey, which is available online.

Principals in the district are also presenting information to staff, and staff members have been asked to fill out a survey. Principals will also be interviewing students and parents to get more information.

“We want to get some genuine information,” RPS Director of Teaching and Learning Michelle Knee said. “You can get information from a survey, but it’s always nice to have conversations with people and get more information.”

Other school districts around the county will be holding community meetings as well.

Sutherlin School District will hold two meetings as well. The first one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sutherlin High School and the second for 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at East Elementary School. Glide School District held its first meeting Monday in the high school cafeteria, while a second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Diamond Lake Resort. North Douglas School District will hold meetings at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at North Douglas High School.

When fully implemented, the measure is expected to generate an addition $1 billion statewide for education each school year. From the statewide fund, $200 million goes directly to the State School Fund for additional support for districts.

The remaining funding will be split in three ways.

At least 20% will go into the Early Learning Account, which may include parenting and early head start.

Student Investment Account will receive at least 50% in funding, which focuses on behavioral health needs, and increase academic achievement and reduce academic disparities for students who have historically experienced disparities in schools, such as students of color, students with disabilities, emerging bilingual students and student navigating poverty, homeless and foster care.

The remaining 30% is for statewide education initiatives, which includes funding the High School Success Act, also known as Measure 98, as well as an expansion of child nutrition programs, school safety, as well as other initiatives to improve opportunities for historically underserves student groups.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, the Student Investment Account would have approximately $475 million in grant money for all school districts and eligible charter schools available for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Oregon Department of Education is still working to identify targets to measure growth and success.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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