Crook County School District to use Measure 98 funding to boost graduation rates and trade education

When Measure 98 funding comes available, Crook County School District administrators have a tentative plan for spending it.

The proposed total of $365,700 will be used to meet Measure 98's requirement of increasing high school graduation rates.

"Obviously, it's kind of a rough proposal at this point because we still don't know how much money is going to be allocated," Crook County High School Principal Michelle Jonas said. "So what we basically did was come up with our wish list, I guess, if you would, trying to come up with what our priorities would be."

At the top of the list are three CCHS positions to expand the AVID program, offer graphic design and art classes, and create a dropout prevention coordinator position.

Last November, Oregon voters approved the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act of 2016, known as Measure 98. It identifies three specific areas where districts must direct Measure 98 funds: establish or expand career and technical education programs in high schools; establish or expand college-level educational opportunities for students in high schools; and establish or expand dropout-prevention strategies in high schools.

Funds will be available for the 2017-18 school year to districts that serve students in grades nine through 12. Funding is noncompetitive and will be based on the extended weighted average daily membership of high school students. Districts must submit a form to the Oregon Department of Education by June 30.

Jonas worked with CCHS Assistant Principal Joel Hoff and CCSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Stacy Smith to identify items that have been desired for some time that also fit with the Measure 98 requirements.

Top priority was $103,000 to expand the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, a global nonprofit organization that strives to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college or other post-secondary opportunities. Currently, CCHS offers AVID to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The expansion will allow CCHS to add a section for seniors as well as a second section for freshmen.

Second priority would be $92,000 for a full-time certified art teacher who could teach not only art classes but graphic design classes as well, which meets the Measure 98 CTE requirements.

Third on the proposed list would be $75,000 to create a certified dropout prevention coordinator position, who would work with students, families and community partners to encourage students to attend and stay enrolled in school.

Also on the list, the district would like $25,000 to expand the natural resources instruction and $20,000 to upgrade the culinary arts facilities to industry standards.

They've requested $3,000 to continue the CCHS Garden/Orchard Project, which allows around 20 at-risk incoming freshmen to earn half of an academic credit by working in the FFA garden over the summer and demonstrating proficiency on a summative assessment about their learning.

Jonas would like to create a CTE Honor Society at CCHS and asked for $2,700. This program is designed for students who are likely to go into a trade career.

"When we went to the national CTE conference, it was one of the presentations that we went to and heard about the schools and the success using this program," Jonas said. "No one in Central Oregon is currently offering this honor society, so I'm kind of excited to give this a start."

The district has requested $40,000 to continue a Rotational Work Crew at CCHS and start one at Pioneer Alternative High School. Students take their core academic classes in the morning and do physical labor in the afternoon, earning elective credits.

"It's been really successful for students that cannot physically sustain sitting for that long and being in a classroom," Jonas said.

Should the district get enough Measure 98 funds, they'd like $5,000 to pay for childcare for parenting students to be able to continue going to school.

CCSD Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan said they came up with the $365,700 amount by calculating about half of what Measure 98 would have provided, at $434 per weighted average daily membership for students in high school.

"We don't think it's conservative or aggressive, but we don't know for sure," Logan said. "Since it is dependent on the legislative budget, it could be either more or less."

There are a few more items that administrators have identified, such as increasing construction and welding classes, but they have not yet estimated the cost.

"We will know the funding level after the state budget is adopted," Logan said.

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