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The SIA grant provides opportunity to improve students' mental health, more

At its meeting Monday, Nov. 9, the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board approved the Student Investment Account grant application that will fund learning improvements throughout the district.

But the grant funding will be significantly lower than anticipated. Due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, the state reduced every district's SIA grant amount.

The Student Success Act — signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown last spring — is a reinvestment in public schools. Some of the act's funds go directly to districts through Student Investment Accounts (SIA). To receive SIA funds, the state requires each district write a non-competitive grant application detailing how the funds will be used.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Jennifer Spencer-Liams updated the board on the state of the SIA grant. The board approved the grant application in April but revisited it at Monday's meeting.

"The way this legislation was written, it not only required board approval of the plan to submit to the Department of Education, but it also requires board approval once the Oregon Department of Education is ready to enter into a grant agreement with us," Spencer-Iiams said.

The West Linn-Wilsonville School District had its grant reduced from an estimated $7.5 million to an estimated $2.4 million.

The funds will go toward efforts to reduce academic disparities, meet students' mental and behavioral needs and ensure that students stay on track to graduate. The district plans to do this by reducing class sizes, hiring mental health professionals and investing in a social-emotional learning curriculum, among other initiatives.

"We haven't changed our plan," Spencer-Iiams said. "We just are only partially funding some of those strategies right now and have had to suspend some of those strategies pending hopefully more funding in the future."

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