Student Investment Account

Grant School District 3 Superintendent Bret Uptmor stands in front of Humbolt Elementary School in Canyon City in 2019. Uptmor said Grant School District is working on securing $570,000 in grants aimed at addressing student mental and behavioral health, reducing disparities and academic achievement.

Grant School District officials and other stakeholders have been meeting since Jan. 30 to gather input from the community as they draft the district’s Student Investment Plan application.

The Student Success Act, signed into law in May 2019, and its Student Investment Plan is a huge opportunity for schools across the state, Grant School District Superintendent Bret Uptmor said.

“SIA is important because it will add additional funds to the district to provide supports where we have often felt resources were scarce,” he said.

Uptmor said, across the state, school districts have cut counselors due to a lack of resources.

“We could feasibly add back that resource to support students’ mental and emotional needs,” Uptmor said.

When the act is fully implemented, it will invest approximately $2 billion in early learning and K-12 education and roughly $500 million will go directly to Oregon school districts and eligible charter schools through the SIA.

Additionally, eligible school districts will get upwards of $500,000 to support students.

Uptmor said the four allowable uses of funds are class size, increasing instructional time, health and mental health needs and ensuring a well-rounded education.

He said the law requires school districts to meaningfully engage their communities to determine where they need to invest the funds, specifically surrounding the areas of meeting student mental and behavioral health needs, increasing academic achievement and reducing disparities.

Uptmor said he has been meeting with staff during the day at the high school as well as Grant Union’s leadership class.

“The community meeting was made up of parents, community partners and staff. The meeting was broadcast through social media, reader board and the automatic call system,” he said.

Uptmor said he hopes to have the plan completed and approved by the board no later than March 18.

According to the SIA 2019-2020 roadmap on the ODE website, the deadline to submit the SIA application is April 15. The SIA plans go into action in July, and ODE anticipates first payments for districts who completed grant agreements to go out Aug. 15.

He said he will send the plan to the Oregon Department of Education, and the state will let the district know if they need to make any changes from there. He anticipates getting final board approval in June.

“It is a complex grant with many moving parts,” he said. “We continue to get additional information from the state about the application process.”

Reporter

Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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