Springfield Public Schools finalized their grant agreement for the Student Investment Act grant agreement.
With all districts across Oregon receiving fewer funds than originally projected, districts could either re-submit their application and go through the process again, or adjust their list to fit into the budget. Superintendent Todd Hamilton said they went off their list of priorities that came out and identified from that list what they’ll move forward with.
“As we budget for next year and how to plan for that, we will look at the bigger picture again then make decisions based on that,” he said.
Assistant Superintendent David Collins said that the areas SPS is investing for this year is mental health support partnerships and raising the number of adults in their system, including teachers.
“These funds allow us to maintain and expand services and we’re still working on that,” he said. “We’re two to three weeks in but we will use all the services we’ve budgeted for.”
The board asked about if funds will be increasing next year. Hamilton said that the SIA amount is part of the legislative allocation and they will be convening to talk about the next biennium, so it’s an ongoing fluctuating discussion.
Hamilton also updated the board on enrollment. SPS is at about 5% below their enrollment projections this year, but having talked with schools of similar sizes around the state, everyone is seeing enrollment dips of around 5%.
He said it aligns with the number of families going to virtual charter schools, because Springfield’s charter has already hit its 3% capacity and they are declining enrollment.
Hamilton also added that kindergarten as a whole is down 2%, but in Oregon students don’t have to be enrolled until the age of six, which makes kindergarten optional. He’s expecting an increase of first graders next year for that reason, but they’re doing outreach earlier to “get solid numbers.”
Board Director Tod Mann expressed his surprise at the decline and asked how best to get children back. Hamilton said the district is already looking ahead to next fall so they can start to target families early.
Brett Yancey, Chief Operations Officer, also pointed out with the fires and housing developments coming in, that will also have a potential impact on enrollment.
“There are so many moving variables,” he said.