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Draft Plan Unveiled for Investments in Student Success

Plan to invest new school funding • Community forums March 5 and 12

Eugene School District 4J has unveiled its draft proposal to invest new state revenue starting in the 2020–21 school year to bolster the success of all students in and out of the classroom.

The district has spent several months analyzing student data, reviewing research, and seeking community input at public forums, small group meetings, targeted community events, and online surveys, to inform development of the plan to best support student success.

Major components of the plan include making significant investments to improve early reading skills; hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes in targeted grades; adding more mental health and behavioral supports for students; and providing full schedules for high schoolers. Through the investment plan, the district would hire nearly 100 new staff members and make other investments to support student success in the coming years.

Community members are invited to review and share your thoughts on the proposed investment plan that has been developed with your input.

Community Forums: Student Success Investment Plan
• Thu., March 5, 7–8 p.m., South Eugene High School (RSVP or invite friends)
Thu., March 12, 7–8 p.m., River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School (RSVP/invite)
Childcare and Spanish interpretation will be provided 

The new revenue is the result of the Student Success Act, a new business tax that Oregon lawmakers approved last year. 4J anticipates having about $12.5 million per year available for direct investments to support student success, after accounting for funds distributed to charter schools and costs to administer the program. The investment represents about 6% of the district’s annual operating budget.

School districts must spend the additional revenue to address health and safety needs, reduce class size, increase instructional time and provide a well-rounded education. A key goal of the Student Success Act is to reduce academic disparities for historically underserved groups, including economically disadvantaged students, students of color, students with disabilities, and students learning English as a second language.

The details of 4J’s draft investment plan include:

ADDRESS HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • Increase supports for behavior, social emotional learning and mental health by hiring school psychologists, elementary student behavior support coordinators, middle school behavioral EAs, and a behavioral consultant
  • Create regional wraparound support teams including mental health supports, social workers and nurses, to support students experiencing crisis, chronic absenteeism or social and emotional problems that require care

PROVIDE WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION

  • Implement comprehensive programs to improve students’ reading skills by 3rd grade
  • Launch a pilot program to increase access and inclusion for students experiencing disabilities
  • Support emergent bilingual students who are learning English as a second language
  • Enhance the NATIVES program, which provides tutoring, summer camp and cultural programming, to improve Native American students’ attendance, achievement and high school graduation rates

REDUCE CLASS SIZES

  • Add teachers to reduce class sizes in 1st and 2nd grade
  • Add teachers to reduce middle school core class sizes

INCREASE INSTRUCTION TIME

  • Expand 4J’s BEST afterschool program to two more Title I elementary schools with a large number of economically disadvantaged students
  • Provide Title I summer school access to all eligible elementary school students
  • Expand middle school students’ summer learning opportunities
  • Provide a full day of school for all high school students (supported by High School Success funds)

Superintendent Gustavo Balderas and district administrators shared an overview of the draft investment plan to the school board in a work session on Feb. 19, 2020. The plan will be discussed in more detail at the school board meeting on March 4 and presented for board approval on March 18.

 

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