Initiative Petition 65 analysis from ECONorthwest shows benefit to school districts

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - St. Helens High School Principal BG Aguirre briefs a room of students and parents about the school's new college preparation program called Advanced Placement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, in January. A initiative on the November ballot seeks to direct state funding towards education programs like this one that support college preparation.Scappoose and St. Helens school districts could receive upward of $500,000 each if voters approve a proposed initiative geared toward funding career and technical education and drop-out prevention programs, according to an analysis by financial planning and consulting firm ECONorthwest late last week.

In the analysis, ECONorthwest calculated how much revenue school districts across the state would receive if voters approve Initiative Petition 65 in November.

Initiative Petition 65, a $3 million campaign being driven by Oregonians for High School Success, aims to dedicate a portion of new state revenue to school districts across Oregon to help fund three key program areas. The ballot measure allocates one-sixth of new state revenue to career and technical education programs, college preparation and readi-ness programs, and high school dropout prevention programs.

The measure qualified Thursday, July 14, for the November general election ballot. The same day, ECONorthwest released its analysis indicating what financial benefit each district would receive based on the estimated weighted average daily membership of high school students in the 2014-15 school year.

Calculations showed the Scappoose School District would receive $578,122 based on estimated enrollment of 856 high school students. Similarly, the St. Helens School District would receive $817,000 based on an estimated enrollment of 1,211.

St. Helens School District Superintendent Scot Stockwell said if the initiative passed the district would be required to direct the revenue toward the three types of programs explained in the initiative.

“The three main areas of IP65 are career tech education, college credit offerings and dropout prevention,” Stockwell said in an email to the Spotlight. “As a district we are already doing some exciting work in those areas such as AVID, Willamette Promise, and our already strong CTE programs, yet we would need to wait for further guidance on how any additional moneys could be spent.”

In total, IP65 would require the state to allocate $147 million annually to school districts, including 1.5 percent, or $2.2 million, of funding that would funnel to the Oregon Department of Education for administration, according a draft impact statement from the state’s Financial Estimate Committee.

The initiative would also require the state to dedicate at least $800 per high school student, per academic year.

Scappoose Superintendent Stephen Jupe was unavailable for comment prior to press time Thursday.

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