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Measure 98 would provide Estacada school district an annual $1.17 million

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A statewide measure on the Nov. 8 ballot would give the Estacada School District $1.17 million per year to be used for college readiness, career technical education and dropout prevention.

Measure 98 would mandate that unallocated funds in the state budget go to schools to help increase the number of students that graduate each year and better prepare them for success after high school.

The funds each district would receive are determined by their extended weighted average daily membership. This number is based upon the number of students in the district and also considers factors such as students with disabilities, students who are English language learners and students living in poverty.

A recent study by economic consultants at ECONorthwest found that based on this number, the Estacada School District would receive $1.17 million a year if Measure 98 passes. Nearby, the Oregon Trail School District would receive more than $1.1 million a year and Gresham-Barlow would receive $3.3 million per year.

Peter Zuckerman, Yes on 98 communications director, said it’s important to improve graduation rates in high schools across the state, which the measure would help achieve.

“Oregon has the fourth worst graduation rate in the country,” he said. “We need to do something about this and help more students finish high school.”

In the 2014-15 school year, the state had a four-year high school graduation rate of 73.82 percent. That same year, the Estacada School District had a four-year graduation rate of 38.45 percent. When considered by itself, Estacada High School was at 74.64 percent. The district’s Summit Learning Charter’s early college program was at 26.62 percent and Summit’s web academy was at 35.21 percent.

One reason Zuckerman believes the measure will encourage students to stay in school is because it will keep them engaged by supporting career technical education as well as traditional academic programs.

“The best way to prevent students from dropping out is to have programs that they’re interested in,” he said. “Those who are vulnerable to dropping out are often hands on learners.”

Career technical education, Zuckerman continued, can also help students make connections with other courses.

“A student might not see a real-world use for math, but if they take auto shop, they’ll see that they’ll use it quite a bit,” he said.

At Estacada High School, career technical education programs include automotive, culinary, business and manufacturing courses. Currently, the only one to receive federal funding is the automotive program.

“If (Measure 98) is passed, we would be able to boost some of our emerging CTE programs and allow more students to be fully prepared to enter the workforce,” said principal Ryan Carpenter.

Both Carpenter and Scott Sullivan, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, believe additional supports to better prepare students for college would be valuable.

Sullivan said it would be valuable to “strengthen core academics so students can go and be more competitive at these four year colleges. The students who go are seeing success, and we want to get more of our students there.”

Zuckerman believes the measure will encourage high school students to stay in school and further cultivate their passions through programs that interest them.

“High school should be for everybody,” he said.

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