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Districts could see increase in funding due to new poverty formula


The State Board of Education has adopted a new method for calculating poverty, resulting in more funding for Woodburn and North Marion school districts starting in the 2014-15 school year.

Preliminary reports show that Woodburn will see an increase of $332,463.20 and North Marion an increase of $86,782.65.

On the flip side, while poverty increased in Gervais, its extended average daily membership (weighted) did not. Preliminary reports show the district losing $42,403.41 in funding.

In Mount Angel and St. Paul, poverty weights decreased. That amount means a drop of $27,979.06 in Mount Angel and $12,865.04 in St. Paul, according to preliminary numbers.

The board of education’s vote Thursday replaces the prior method of calculating poverty with an updated method using more current and accurate data. In the past, the data on poverty information had stopped being collected after 2000, so the state has been using the 2000 data for 13 years. The 2013 Legislature gave the State Board the authority to make this change in House Bill 2098.

“We have a funding formula that is structured around equity,” said State Board of Education Chair Samuel Henry in a press release. “However, the poverty data our system was using was out of date. This change will ensure that the districts with the highest numbers of students in poverty are receiving some additional resources to help meet those students’ educational needs.”

A district receives one funding weight per student as well as additional weights for students who fall in special categories, such as an English language learner, a student with a disability and a student in poverty. The new change simply updates the process by which the number of students in poverty is determined. Since there are more students in poverty today than there were in 2000, the amount districts receive for each weight has reduced slightly which also impacts district funding.

“We know that changes to the funding formula can be challenging, especially for districts who may be receiving fewer resources next year than they had been anticipating,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton in a press release. “But we also know that many districts in our state have not been receiving the resources they need to serve their students in poverty. This may be a painful readjustment for some districts, but it is a necessary step to ensure that we are getting funding out to the areas of greatest need and using the most current and accurate data available on student poverty.”