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Frequently Asked Questions

 
Student Investment Account  
 

Last Update: May 2021

This page is updated frequently to include responses to your most frequently asked questions about the Student Investment Account. If you are unable to find what you’re looking for, please email SIA Info.

Q: What’s most important to keep in mind when planning for the Student Investment Account? 

A: The most important thing to keep in mind is the bigger horizon of what can happen for the students, families, and educators in each Oregon community. We are at the beginning of a new era of education in Oregon - which will only be true if we live, practice, and lean into a forward stance. How can we build and nurture the coherent, equitable, and powerful educational system we’ve always wanted? Between changes in federal law, from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the changes in state law, districts have the most significant window of opportunity to lead and drive transformative change for Oregon’s students and communities in at least 30 years. One of the most challenging aspects of stepping into this opportunity is to shed the compliance-based habits that have impacted ODE and school districts across Oregon. The Student Success Act’s Student Investment Account (SIA) funds are non-competitive grants focused on providing supports and building capacity, including the right amount of challenge and accountability for the oversight of public dollars.

Q: What is the difference between an SIA Plan Amendment and SIA Plan Adjustment for the 2021-23 biennium?

A: An SIA Plan adjustment is when a grant recipient plans to continue implementing their original three-year SIA plan with minor adjustments to the planned activities or expenditures. Adjustments also encompass when recipients will be shifting to one of the tiered plans submitted in the original SIA application.

An SIA Plan amendment is when a recipient needs to make a major change, such as implementing new strategies or defining new outcomes, that shifts the three-year plan away from the original three-year SIA plan. For recipients changing their district-charter school relationship, please refer to the scenario table on pages 6-7 in the Charter School Guidance to determine if that changed relationship necessitates a plan adjustment or amendment. 

Q: We are finalizing our SIA Plan Adjustment or Amendment for the 2021-23 biennium. Where will we submit our narrative responses and attachments?

A: These items can be submitted via a Smartsheet Form, which will be released on May 1, 2021 via email from the SIAinfo@state.or.us inbox. A preview of the items grant recipients will be required to submit can be found in Appendix B of the Supporting Quality Implementation guidance. Additionally, SIA Narrative Plan Template is a helpful resource to begin drafting responses that can then be copied into the form and the required budget template will also need to be completed prior to submission.

Q: What parts of my SIA application do I need to post publicly on our district’s or charter’s webpage and/or make available in the main office?

A: Initially, the full SIA application, plan, and budget need to be posted. If artifacts include pictures or videos, they should have media releases from participants before being shared. If that is a barrier, please note on your public posting that some artifacts aren’t shown to protect privacy, and also note this when you submit your application. 

After receiving the SIA grant agreement, districts and schools are also required by statute to post the agreement on the school website. Grant amendments are recommended to be posted alongside the original grant agreement.

Finally, the annual progress report and annual financial audit are also required to be posted and available in the main office. 

Q: What are the expectations for maintaining SIA documents on our district or school website?

A: The SIA is rooted in community engagement and transparency. In keeping with this spirit, districts and eligible charter schools are required to post important documents including their SIA plan, budget, and grant agreement to their websites. The SIA team shares the following as guidelines for all SIA documents posted to recipient websites:
  • Original plans and budgets (board approved) should be maintained on the district website. Once the original plan and budget is updated through adjustment or amendment in the spring of 2021, it should also be posted alongside the original plan and budget until the full application cycle is completed again in spring 2023, and at that time, the new board approved plan and budget can replace the earlier versions on the district website.
  • SIA grant agreements should also be maintained on the district website until the full application cycle is completed again in spring 2023. If the grant agreement is amended, ODE encourages recipients to post it alongside the original grant agreement on the district website.
Some districts have a Student Success Act/Student Investment Account webpage that is dedicated to posting information about community engagement activities and events, the legislation and the documents referenced above. Other districts have a “Documents” link where these items can be found. While districts and eligible charter schools have discretion as to where they post these documents, they should be easily searchable and accessible (one to two clicks away from the main webpage).

Q: Our district is currently working on our SIA plan update to be submitted during the May 1 - June 30, 2021 window. Can you clarify whether board approval is required for SIA plan updates for the 2021-23 biennium? 

A: For the 2021-23 biennium, grantees who received SIA funds will only need to submit a plan update to the original three-year plan. In our Supporting Quality Implementation guidance released in December 2020, we included a preview of what will be required to be submitted for plan updates in Appendix B. As part of the SIA plan update, grantees will be required to provide narrative responses to describe how community engagement has informed either their adjusted or amended plan as ongoing and meaningful community engagement is foundational to the SIA. Since grantees will be updating the original three-year plan that was previously approved by the governing board as opposed to creating a new four-year plan as originally anticipated pre-COVID, the SIA plan update is not required to formally go before the board for approval.

Q: My district has adopted an equity lens. Is it acceptable to use ours, rather than ODE’s?

​A: Yes, absolutely. To meet application requirements, each applicant must upload the equity tool/lens they applied as well as share a narrative response for how it was used throughout their process. ODE’s equity lens is provided as a tool for applicants who may not already have an adopted equity lens for their district.

For the SIA plan updates to be submitted by June 30, 2021, recipients will need to indicate if they used the same equity tool/lens. If a new equity tool/lens was used, it will need to be uploaded to the form. Recipients will also be required to provide a narrative response as to how the tool/lens was applied during the SIA plan update process. 

Q: How should we submit changes if ODE requested additional information in order for our SIA application to meet application requirements? 

A: When you are ready to submit changes or additional information to add to your original application or plan update, you can send it directly to your Application Manager or to the general SIA inbox - SIAinfo@state.or.us​

Upon reviewing the additional information provided, your Application Manager will reach out to confirm that you’ve met requirements or notify you if any other information is needed.

Q: What are the requirements for developing a complete SIA plan for new SIA applicants? 
A: The SIA requires eligible applicants to engage in a planning process to inform the SIA plan and application development. A preview of the full SIA application is available in Section Two: Prepare & Plan for Application Submission for applicants who will be applying for the first time by June 30, 2021. The SIA planning process must: 
  1. Take into account the input from the community, including school employees, and the focal student groups named in the act along with parents and families of those students; 
  2. Include data collected to make equity-based decisions that are disaggregated by focal student groups; 
  3. Include an analysis of the potential academic impact on all students and the focal student groups; and 
  4. Consider the recommendations from the Quality Education Commission (QEC).
In addition to documentation of the planning process above, the SIA requires eligible applicants to develop an SIA plan that includes: 
  1. A plan for the use of SIA funds
  2. Which allowable uses in Section 9 will be funded with grant moneys; and 
    • Which of the allowable uses will be designated to meet students’ mental and behavioral needs; and 
    • A description of how the allowed uses will be used to meet students’ mental and health needs; increase academic achievement for students; and reduce academic disparities for focal students groups in Section 9
  3. A budget for how funds will be used
  4. Alignment with your Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP)
Each ESD region has an SSA Liaison who can support new applicants with community engagement and plan development.

Q: Does my school board have to approve my SIA plan?
A: Yes, The SIA requires eligible applicants to obtain approval of the SIA plan by the school board at an open meeting following: 
  1. An oral presentation of the SIA plan at an open meeting (not a consent agenda item); 
  2. Opportunity for public comment; and 
  3. The availability of the SIA plan on the district webpage and at the district office. 
This process must happen before the SIA plan and application is submitted to ODE. It must also include signed district-charter agreements being included in a district’s application. Once an application is accepted by ODE, the final plan and grant agreement must again move through the same process of board approval. 

Q: My district is very small. Will ODE support small districts joining in a consortium? 
A: We hope that every school district in Oregon will participate in the Student Investment Account and benefit from the Student Success Act. For very small districts, those who meet the qualifications of ‘floor funding’ (at or below 50 ADMw) and where they see benefit in partnering with neighboring districts, ODE will allow for applying in a consortium for SIA funds. If a consortium will reach a number higher than 100 ADMw in total, a request to apply in a consortium must be received and approved by ODE’s Office of Education Innovation and Improvement prior to application. Applications from a consortium still must be approved by each partnering school district’s board and meet all other application requirements.
Q: Who is eligible to apply for Student Investment Account (SIA) grant funds?
A: The SIA defines eligible applicants for funds as:
  1. Common school districts and union high school districts; and
  2. Public charter schools that meet the requirements of eligibility​​ within the law or reach agreements to apply as part of their sponsoring district’s application. A list of eligible charter schools that can apply independently and as part of a district will be released before each application cycle as eligibility can vary. Virtual charter schools are not eligible for Student Investment Account funding.​​

Q: How can SIA grant funds be spent?
A: To receive grant money from the Student Investment Account (SIA), all Oregon school districts and eligible charter schools will be expected to meet the planning, needs assessment and authentic engagement requirements. All grant requests must have a spending plan focused in any, some or all of the allowable uses that are detailed in HB 3427. The categories (Reducing Class Size; Instructional Time; Health and Safety; and Well-Rounded Education) are helpful from a communications standpoint and the bullet points under each category are those outlined in the law and may be used as strategies to advance equity by reducing and eliminating disparities and by increasing health and well-being for students.

Q: What are some examples of how SIA funds can be used?
A: School districts are encouraged to review the allowable uses as they engage with students and families from the priority populations and staff to discuss and inform and develop their SIA plan and application to ensure it meets the spirit and intent of the law.

Reducing Class Size

  • Use evidence-based criteria to ensure appropriate student-teacher ratios or staff caseloads;
  • Increasing the use of instructional assistants.

Instructional Time

  • More hours and/or days.
  • Summer programs; before or after school programs.
  • Technological investments that minimize class time used for assessments administered to students.

Health & Safety

  • Social and emotional learning, trauma-informed practices; student mental and behavioral health.

Well-Rounded Education

  • Developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive early literacy practices and programs in pre-K through third grade.
  • Culturally responsive programs and practices in grades 6-8, including learning, counseling and student support that is connected to colleges and careers.
  • Broadened curricular options at all grade levels including: Art, Music, PE, STEM, CTE, engaging electives, accelerated college credit programs, including dual credit, IB, AP, Life Skills, TAG, dropout and prevention programs, and transition supports.
  • Access to licensed educators with a library media endorsement.

In addition, grant recipients can and are encouraged to utilize SIA funds to support their ongoing community engagement efforts.

Q: ​Is (fill in the blank for your district; for example, hiring a family liaison or improving engagement in and access to extracurricular activities, sports, and afterschool programs) an allowable use of SIA funds?

A: The law provides quite a bit of flexibility within the four allowable use areas, so in order to spend SIA funds on a (for example, a family liaison) your district would need to demonstrate in your SIA application how the focused investment:
  1. Meets the specific goals of the Student Success Act,
  2. Is incorporated into one of the allowable use areas (reducing class size, instructional time, health and safety, well-rounded education, ongoing community engagement),
  3. Contributes to meeting the required performance growth targets and is informed by the community engagement, needs assessment, and equity lens.

​​​​​​​​
Q: My district has gone through our continuous improvement planning process and would like to purchase curriculum with SIA funds. The curriculum is aimed at providing developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive early literacy practices and programs in pre-K through third grade. Is this an allowable use of funds?

A: Your districts’ focus on third grade reading fluency is a key target of the legislation and on track with the intent of the law. When considering the use of funds for curriculum, it is important to consider what informed this need:
  • Needs Assessment from continuous improvement planning
  • Focal engagement of targeted students and families
  • Engagement of staff
The district teams should take appropriate steps to review disaggregated data and apply an equity lens to ensure the curriculum is responsive to the students in the focal groups mentioned in the law. The district should also have a plan in place for implementation that includes staff training and support.

Q: My district wants to use the new money for teacher salaries. Is this allowed?

A: Your school district must be able to demonstrate how a targeted decision to increase teacher salaries meets the specific goals of the Student Success Act, is incorporated into the allowable uses (reducing class size; instructional time; health and safety; and well-rounded education), contributes to meeting the required performance growth targets, and is informed by the community engagement, needs assessment, and planning processes described in this document and the law. Students should be receiving additional support through the use of these funds.

Q: We are interested in using SIA funds for counselors. How do we think about counselors funded through a combination of general and SIA funds? 

A: The law requires applicants to be able to track and report on all SIA expenditures separately from general funds, which should be noted in your SIA budget and financial reporting. This is an allowable expense for SIA funding, however the District must be able to demonstrate how a targeted decision to fund counselors meets the specific goals of the Student Success Act, is incorporated into the allowable uses (reducing class size; instructional time; health and safety; and well-rounded education), contributes to meeting the required performance growth targets, and is informed by the community engagement, needs assessment, and planning processes described in this document and the law. 

Q: Can I use SIA funds to build or expand facilities?

A: HB3427 clearly states that facility improvements directly related to improving student health or safety are allowable. 
However, beyond that, whether SIA funds can be used to build or expand facilities hinges on several variables - it is not a clear cut yes or no. In order to be considered an allowable use of SIA funds, the SIA application would need to: 
  • Identify how building or expanding facilities meets the intent of the SIA,
  • Describe community engagement and input that elevates the need to build or expand facilities,
  • Articulate how an equity lens was applied in choosing this strategy to address equity-based disparities of student outcomes, and 
  • Provide the context to show there is a true lack of space to execute the strategy and that building or expanding facilities is necessary to implement the strategy.
ODE staff reviewers will rest their assessment on a district’s ability to address these variables in their SIA application.

Q: My district has a specific or unique question about the use of grant funds. Where can we direct our questions for a timely response?
A: We encourage districts to please send questions to SIAinfo@state.or.us​ for tracking and responses. Questions about possible allowable uses will continue to be added to this FAQ section. 

Q: What are the requirements for community engagement?
A: The Student Success Act requires all eligible applicants for Student Investment Account funding to engage their communities, including school employees and particularly students of color; students with disabilities; emerging bilingual students; and students navigating poverty, homelessness, and foster care; and other students who have historically experienced disparities in our students schools and the families of students within these focal groups. 
Deepening and sustaining a more robust community engagement beyond the minimum statutory requirements is necessary to fully realize the core goals and strategies in district SIA plans. The new Community Engagement Toolkit released in April 2021 shares information about a more robust community engagement process, including strategies you may consider implementing in your district or school.

Q: My district has an established process for engaging stakeholders. What should we consider as we move forward?
A: Begin by finding ways to create the conditions for meaningful and authentic engagement with your community and amongst the staff, educators, students, families, and leaders in your district. Review your existing plans and priorities, and use the opportunity to determine where you want to share a focus for the next three years, as well as how you can best support and improve the health and learning conditions for students.

Q: My district recently collected input through a district-wide visioning and/or strategic planning process. Is it necessary to engage my community again in order to meet the requirements to apply for Student Investment Account funds?
A: In order to meet the requirements outlined in the law, your district may wish to consider conducting additional engagement of the focal students and families, who are the focus and priority of the Student Investment Account and broadly, your staff. You’ll want to take the “focal engagement” input and integrate it with your overall community input you gathered initially along with the other process steps outlined in the bill to develop your SIA plan for funds.

Q: What are the requirements for my district to facilitate a needs assessment?
A: The SIA requires eligible applicants to conduct and use the needs assessment process within your Continuous Improvement Plan. School districts are encouraged to show evidence for how they collected community input in the five priority areas:
  • Reducing academic disparities;
  • Meeting students’ mental or behavioral health needs;
  • Providing access to academic courses;
  • Allowing teachers and staff sufficient time to collaborate, review data and develop strategies to help students stay on track to graduate;
  • Establishing and strengthening partnerships.
​Q: What’s the best way for school districts to build capacity around this work?
A: We encourage school districts to identify staff, students, parents, families and community partners who are interested in joining a core team focused on implementation of the Student Investment Account plan in your district to build support for this work.


Q: Is there a process in the future to align the CIP and SIA applications? How should districts proceed in reconciling expectations and/or existing districts’ plans and processes required by state and federal law? 
A: ODE will provide further guidance and support to consolidate state processes and, possibly, federal processes in regards to what districts are asked to produce, track, and report on. For now, while not ideal, we do hope districts will look to build coherence across different initiatives and processes within their plans for SIA, CIPs, ESSA planning, and other important programs ranging from Perkins plans to High School Success (Measure 98). Please feel encouraged to pursue directions that meet the aims and spirit of the Student Success Act and advance a more seamless system within schools, districts, and at the state-level. 

Q: The criteria used by ODE to evaluate SIA applications names that applicants must consider their CIP in SIA planning. How will ODE evaluate this requirement?
A: The SIA application includes an assurance that the applicant has “aligned its SIA plan to its CIP.” In addition to this assurance, during review and evaluation, ODE staff will have access to the applicant’s CIP.

Q: I’m a little confused about how the CIP and the SIA plan intersect. Can ODE clarify?
A: The CIP is a state requirement as described in ORS 329.095 that was historically submitted through a tool known as Indistar. CIP submissions had been on a “pause” since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The “pause” was intended to reduce administrative burden on school districts and support ODE’s stewardship of state and federal funds while promoting continuous improvement processes for school districts. The “pause” was lifted and new requirements set into motion that required all districts to submit a CIP by December 6, 2019.

Q: What are the components of a Continuous Improvement Plan? And what exactly do I need to submit to ODE to meet state requirements and access federal funds?
A: Oregon law requires school districts to develop a continuous improvement plan, often referred to as “the CIP.” The Continuous Improvement Plan submission process requires all districts to submit three discrete inputs:
    1. Vision
    2. Mission
    3. Goals/Strategies
    4. Action Steps; and
    5. Routine to Monitor Progress

Q: How will I know my CIP has been approved?
A: Districts will be notified when their Priority Plan (the Big 5) and Supplemental Questions (the Supplemental 10) satisfy federal requirements. For districts with CSI/TSI schools, the Big 5 will be reviewed alongside a submitted budget; the supplemental questions will be reviewed alongside Title IA budget narratives to ensure they meet federal requirements. If additional information is needed, ODE staff will contact districts. For questions about the CIP, contact Tim Boyd

Q: Does my school board need to approve my CIP?
A: Boards are not required to approve CIPs. It is a suggested best practice. Boards are required to approve SIA plans ahead of application submission.

Q: Can you help my district understand the distinction between goals that my district develops for the CIP and the Longitudinal Performance Growth Targets (LPGTs) needed for the SIA plan?
A: CIP goals are broad and district wide and beyond the focused scope of SIA. District CIP goals were likely created before district SIA plans and may relate to the subsequent LPGTs required for the SIA. The LPGTs will help measure academic growth of students within defined metrics. Further guidance will be provided by ODE on this process. ODE will ask that applicants submit draft longitudinal performance growth targets at the time of application, but review of applications will not be contingent on these targets and school boards will not be required to approve these targets until they are mutually determined by districts and ODE.


Q: Are charter schools eligible to apply for SIA funds?
A: Virtual charter schools are not eligible to apply for SIA funds. Non-virtual charter schools must meet certain criteria to apply for funds independently or as a part of a school district’s application for funds. For more information visit ODE’s Charter School Page​. More information can also be found in Charter Guidance for the 2021-23 Biennium.

Q: What is the process for charter schools to participate with their school district?
A: To meet requirements for SIA funds, the district and the charter school(s) must enter into a district-charter agreement for the distribution of SIA funds or the provision of services. The agreement may also include any accountability measures for the public charter school required by the district. Components of these agreements should include:
  • Charter School SIA Adjusted or Amended Plan 
  • Exchange of Services 
  • Distribution of Funds 
  • Administrative Costs 
  • Accountability 
  • Reporting Progress 
  • Additional Components to Consider
Any agreements entered into by a district and charter school regarding the SIA grant will become part of the district’s SIA grant agreement with ODE.

Q: Is it the district's decision to invite charter schools into their SIA plan? 
A: Yes. Districts may invite charter schools to participate in the district SIA application. However, the district will not receive any funds attributed to the ADMw in the charter school if the charter school does not participate. Additionally, the intention is for SIA funds to support all students in your district, and including your charter schools may help improve outcomes for students who will matriculate into other district schools in the future.

Q: For clarification: can districts decide if they want/don’t want charter schools to participate in the SIA process? 
A: Yes. Districts may invite charter schools to participate in the district SIA application. 
However, if the district invites one of their charter schools, they must invite all non-virtual charter schools sponsored by the district to participate. Basically, the district can’t be selective with which charter schools it invites. The district can have different agreements with the participating charter schools based on the school’s performance and operational stability. Additionally, the intention is for SIA funds to support all students in your district and including your charter schools may help improve outcomes for students who will matriculate into other district schools in the future.

If a district doesn’t include eligible charter(s) or an eligible charter school declines participation, the district’s preliminary allocation amount will be reduced to remove the eligible charter(s) allocation amount. 

Q: If we have a small district and a charter school, how does that impact funding?
A: Funding is the same for districts and charter schools. It is based on the ADMw attributed to the district or the school at the same rate per ADMw. If the charter school is participating, the district must establish an agreement with the charter school regarding the distribution of funds, services, reporting, and accountability measures. The charter school and the district may collaborate on the engagement process and the overall SIA plan as much or as little as they agree to. If a charter school is included within the district’s application, then ODE must have a signed district-charter agreement on file before we can execute a grant agreement.
 
Q: Is the charter funding separate from our allocation or should we plan to carve it out of our funding? 
A: The district estimates published by the Department include any non-virtual charter schools within your district boundaries. For planning purposes, your district should subtract the amount attributed to the charter school(s).​

Q: How will SIA applications be evaluated? 
A: For first time applicants, the evaluation and review process for SIA applications is detailed in Section Three: How Applications Will be Evaluated with the recognition that some aspects of the process, such as the panels, have changed for this year. All applicants will be expected to meet the requirements outlined in the law. A simple and standard review tool will be used by ODE to determine if an applicant meets the following requirements: 
  1. Planning Process and Community Engagement
  2. SIA Plan and Budget
  3. Public Review and Board Approval
For grant recipients submitting SIA plan updates due by June 30, 2021, a team of ODE staff will meet to review and approve SIA plan adjustments and amendments. The purpose of this review will be to ensure 1) adjustment or amendment completion and 2) clearly defined use of funds that meet the intent of the law. Recipients will be notified if additional information is needed after the review. As a reminder, grantees will be required to continue engaging with their community, with specific attention to their focal group students and families, as well as use an equity lens when considering input to make adjustments or amendments to the SIA plan for the 2021-23 biennium. For a full list of the requirements for SIA plan adjustments and amendments, see Appendix B of Supporting Quality Implementation.​ 

Q: How will plans be reviewed to ensure SIA funding is being used to impact historically underserved communities? 
A: Each new application will be reviewed by two ODE staff members who have participated in an SIA Grant Application Training. ODE Reviewers will review individually and then with a joint assessment to ensure applicants meet the requirements of the law, which includes engagement and input from students and families of focal groups to inform the SIA plan.

More details about the review process can be found in Section 3 of the SIA Guidance​, with the recognition that some aspects of the process, such as the panels, have changed for this year.


Q: What is the role of the Education Service District (ESD) in school districts’ development and implementation of SIA plans? 
A: Oregon’s 19 ESDs serve as key partners for school districts in their region. To support the SIA plan and grant application process and implementation of Student Investment Account funds, the legislature dedicated $24 million to ESDs, which was reduced to $20 million during the August 2020 special session. A portion of the funds must be spent on at least 0.25 FTE of dedicated staff to serve as a Student Success Act Liaison - a pivotal point of contact and collaborator - between the Oregon Department of Education and the districts within the ESD service region. 

Q: We’ve heard each Education Service District (ESD) will have a Comprehensive Support Plan for SY 2020-21. Can you tell us more about this plan?
A: As part of the Student Success Act, ESDs receive funds out of the Statewide Education Initiatives Account (SEIU) to provide support, technical assistance, and coaching related to the SIA to districts in their region. ESDs were required to submit a Comprehensive Support Plan to ODE for the upcoming school year by June 1, 2020 as part of their grant agreement. The Comprehensive Support Plan details the specific activities and strategies each ESD will implement to support districts in their region to develop and implement SIA plans. Additionally, as part of this plan, ESDs include their anticipated expenditures to implement their plan as well as the outcomes they’re hoping to cause for their districts. Since then, these Comprehensive Support Plans have been embedded within each ESD’s Local Service Plan.


Q: How does the funding model work for SIA funds?
A: The SSA establishes a corporate activity tax to be collected and deposited in the Fund for Student Success which is created as a part of the Oregon Department of Education. Section 13 in the bill​ describes how the Student Investment Account grant budget will be allocated to sub-recipients based on the extended Average Daily Membership weighted (extended ADMw) of the school district as calculated by the State School Fund, with adjustments. Extended ADMw compares the current and prior school year’s ADMw and uses whichever year is greater. Section 5: Financial Management of SIA Funds​ can be useful to find additional information.


Category

State School Fund Additional Weight

SIA Fund Additional Weight

Total Weight

IEP (Special Education)

1.0

-

1.0

ESL (English as a Second Language)

0.5

-

0.5

Pregnant and Parenting

1.0

-

1.0

Poverty

0.25

0.25

0.5

Foster Care

0.25

-

0.25

Neglected/Delinquent Students

0.25

-

0.25

Small School Correction

Variable

-

Variable

Q: What guidance can ODE provide on Administrative Costs?
A: A grant recipient may use funds for administrative costs, including indirect costs, directly related to allowed expenditures as provided in the grant agreement. Administrative costs for SIA funds are limited to 5 percent of the total expenditures or $500,000, whichever is less regardless of rates for other funding streams. Any administrative costs incurred by a participating charter school must be accounted for within the sponsoring school district’s overall limit of 5 percent or $500,000, whichever is less. 

Q: Our district’s indirect rate is less than 5% for other funding streams. Can we still claim up to 5% of SIA funds for administrative costs, which include indirect costs? 
A: Yes, according to Oregon Administrative Rules for SIA funds, districts can charge up to 5% or $500,000, whichever is less, for administrative costs which include indirect costs regardless if their approved rate is lower for other funding streams. 

Q: Where can I find an estimate of my district’s grant amount? 
A: Revised allocation estimates for the 2020-21 school year were released in August 2020 once the special session concluded. These are the allocations districts will be eligible to claim in three disbursements during the 2020-21 year. 

The Governor’s Recommended Budget for the 2021-23 biennium projects $778.8M over those two years. ODE released preliminary allocations based on this projection for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, but it’s important to be clear that these preliminary allocations will change. The final SIA allocation estimates for each district and eligible charter school will be released in May 2021 in alignment with the May ADM collection and following any adjustments during the upcoming legislative session. 

Q: How are estimates determined?
A: Preliminary estimates for the next biennium are based on the ADMw from the 2019-2020 State School Fund (SSF) that was reconciled in May 2020. Moving forward and for the actual 2021-22 distributions, the 2020-21 ADMw from the May 2021 reconciliation of the SSF will be used. The rationale for using this source of ADMw is due to timing and availability of data, where this version of ADMw contains actual data reported by the school districts in their second period ADM data. The same model is used with the High School Success Grant (Measure 98).

Q: How can I better understand the SIA distribution formula? 
A: The State Board of Education passed rules on the distribution of SIA funds. The rules are under OAR 581-014-0004 and in summary include: 
  • Clarification on the use of extended ADMw count. ODE will use the most current finalized ADMw from the State School Fund from the prior year. 
  • Minimum grant size. A school district with an ADMw of 50 or less will receive an allocation based on an ADMw of 50. 
  • What happens with the funds when an eligible applicant does not apply. If an eligible applicant does not apply for grant funds by the close of the application submission window, the amount of their grant funds will revert to the Student Investment Account and be reallocated within the grant award cycle.
  • Percentages and timelines for payment installations. Applicants will receive payments approximately every quarter. For the 2020-21 school year, the disbursements are as follows: 40% on 10/1/20, 30% on 1/1/21, and 30% on 4/1/21.
  • Carry-forward and other rules on expenditures. Any allocated funds that are not used by a grant recipient by June 30 each year will be returned to the Student Investment Account for distribution in the next biennium. Grant recipients may request an extension by March 31, 2021 to spend funds until September 30, 2021. The request must be submitted and approved by ODE.
  • Setting minimum fund accounting practices. SIA funds must be separately accounted for and must be used in accordance with the recipient’s grant agreement for the SIA. 
  • Resolving administration issues not addressed. The Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction shall resolve any issues not addressed within the rules for SIA distribution. 

Q: What rules are in place for carrying over funds? 
A: Any allocated funds that are not used by a grant recipient by June 30 each year will be returned to the Student Investment Account for distribution in the next biennium. Grant recipients may request an extension by March 31, 2021 to spend funds until September 30 each year. The request must be submitted and approved by ODE.



Q: What are the financial management responsibilities for each applicant? 
A: All grant recipients are responsible for the financial management and accounting of SIA funds in partnership with ODE. Grant recipients must comply with application requirements set forth in the law and have a plan approved by ODE to receive these grants. Any allocated funds that are not used by grant recipients by June 30, 2021 will be returned to the Student Investment Account for distribution in the next biennium. Grant recipients who would like to receive an extension to spend this year’s SIA funds through September 30, 2021 will need to complete a simple form between March 1 - March 31, 2021 to indicate their need for an extension. 

Q: What accounting practices does ODE recommend grant recipients follow in order to meet the requirements for financial management in law?
A: SIA funds are required to be spent in any, all, or some of the four categories listed under Allowable Uses in HB 3427. While accounting for these funds will follow standard protocols as described in the Program Budget Accounting Manual (PBAM)​, it is necessary and important to separately account for the funds. Similar to the High School Success program (Measure 98) the spending and accounting of these grant funds have a high degree of interest for the general public, legislature and media. ODE recommends grant recipients at minimum, create a new fund for SIA. For reporting to data collections, districts will need to crosswalk their Database Initiative Report to 2XX fund.

Q: Does the district need to align its chart of accounts with the given Fund codes listed in the above image?
A: No, districts may continue to use their individualized established chart of accounts for budgeting and preparing annual CAFR/Audits. The suggested fund codes listed above are strictly for reporting purposes during the submission of data within ODE’s Consolidated Collections.

Q: Are Student Investment Account funds subject to supplement not supplant provisions?
A: While the Student Success Act does not contain any reference to supplementing and supplanting resources, the intent of the bill is to offer applicants maximum flexibility, in accordance with the requirements of the law. SIA funds are required to be spent within the allowable use categories and meet the intent of the bill: improving mental health outcomes and increasing academic achievement for historically marginalized student populations. For example, if a school district loses a federal grant that pays for a school nurse at a Title 1 school, it would be appropriate to spend SIA dollars to keep that nurse employed even though this expenditure does not expand or add to current staff. Additionally, if a district has been able to hire staff or expand programs temporarily with reserves or one time resources to meet the stated goals of the bill, it would also be appropriate to spend SIA dollars to retain those staff or programs and ensure continuity.

Q: What is important to consider when using SIA funds to increase our general fund?
A: If SIA funds are used to increase capacity within the Local Education Agency (LEA) in the general fund account, those expenditures may not be maintained by federal grant funds to maintain capacity even if the SIA revenue decreases. This rule applies to Titles I, II, III, IV, and XI in the Every Student Succeeds Act, part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)​, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The ESSA Title I-A funds, under newer federal regulations, may offer more flexibilities for maintaining capacity for activities previously funded with general funds. 

Q: How does the Maintenance of Effort provisions impact Oregon if the SIA funds decrease? 
A: Oregon may reduce their SIA funds in FY2022, but not at a greater percentage than reductions to other state-funded activities. Additionally, federal funds should not be used to supplant SIA funds. 

Q: How do SIA dollars interplay with the “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) rules in the Special Education realm? Will the dollars be treated like general fund dollars, so then the program must be maintained regardless of future SIA funding?
A: An LEA can choose to account for SIA funds in either 100 (general fund) or 200 (special) fund accounts. If an LEA utilizes a 100 account, the district can choose to specify a 320 MOE code. If an LEA uses a 320 MOE code for the SIA expenditures, the following years will include this calculation as the bar is raised. If an LEA utilizes either 100 without the 320 designation or 200 account codes, MOE will not be affected. ​


Q: We’ve heard from our Application Manager that we were moving into the grant agreement process, but we’ve not received our grant agreement yet. What should we do? 
A: If you’ve heard from your Application Manager that you were moving into the grant agreement process, you should have received your grant agreement via Smartsheet (automation@app.smartsheet.com). If you have not received an email from this account and checked your junk/spam folder, please reach out to your Application Manager or SIAinfo@state.or.us to receive a copy of the grant agreement.

Q: When and how will we receive the initial grant agreement? What is the best way to submit the signed agreement? Are there other required documents that we should submit?
A: Below are the steps to receive and submit the grant agreement:
  1. Once your school district has met application requirements, ODE will email your SIA contact person the grant agreement as a PDF document via Smartsheet. You can download the agreement by clicking on “Open Update Form.” You can exit the page after downloading the agreement and return at a later date to upload the signed agreement (i.e., do not click “Submit Update” until after you are ready to submit all of the attachments below).
  2. When you are ready to submit the signed grant agreement, you will need to upload the following:
    1. Signed grant agreement
    2. Board meeting minutes (indicating board approval of the grant agreement and the opportunity for public comment)
    3. Signed agreement with sponsored public charter school (if applicable)
    4. Local Optional Metrics (if applicable)
  3. All of this will be submitted via Smartsheet and submission/upload instructions will be included in the initial email with your district’s grant agreement. Smartsheet will also send weekly automated reminders with these instructions.
Q: What is required in terms of board approval and public comment for the SIA grant agreement?
A: The Student Success Act requires that your SIA Grant Agreement be presented to your local school board or governing body for approval with the opportunity for the public to provide comment. This is in addition to your presentation of the SIA plan to the board required earlier this year. When planning your board presentation of the SIA grant agreement please keep the following in mind:
  • The presentation of the grant agreement cannot be part of a consent agenda. Rather, the approval of the SIA grant agreement should fall under a section of the agenda that allows for both the grant agreement to be presented to the board and offers the opportunity for public comment. This means, for example, the approval of the grant agreement could fall under the action item, new business, or Superintendent’s update section of the agenda. 
  • As mentioned above, there must be an opportunity for public comment on the grant agreement. We recognize many school boards are meeting via zoom or other video conference services. In addition to allowing for public comment during the call, you can also allow families and community members the chance to submit their written comments in advance of the meeting. Public comment does not have to be presented in person to still count as an opportunity for public comment.  

Q: When can my school district expect its first payment in EGMS? 
A: Grant recipients can expect their first payment after they have a fully executed SIA grant agreement. Recipients will be eligible to submit a claim for the first 40% of funds in EGMS at that point. The next 30% of the total allocation can be claimed as early as January 1, 2021, and the final 30% of the total allocation can be claimed as early as April 1, 2021. 

It’s important to remember the SIA is not based on a reimbursement model. Districts will share a financial progress report which will be reviewed ahead of the April 1, 2021 release of funds. If ODE has any concerns or questions regarding grant expenditures after reviewing the January 31, 2021 programmatic and financial reports, ODE will be allowed to temporarily freeze SIA grant funds before the third EGMS disbursement until such issues can be resolved. 

Please contact ODE EGMS to request a current EGMS Access Request Form or an EGMS External User Guide here.

Q: I can see my SIA Grant funds in EGMS but I have not completed the grant agreement process. 
A: ODE has pre-loaded all of the grant funding amounts in EGMS for grant recipients. However, those funds are frozen until such time as the grant agreements have been signed and returned to ODE from the School District. The final step is for ODE to sign and return the grant agreement to you in order for it to be fully executed. Once this has been completed the funds will be unfrozen in EGMS and claims can be submitted for your first disbursement.

Q: Can we begin engaging in our approved SIA plan activities now even though we have not yet received our funds? If we have expenses now, will we be able to make claims for those expenses once our funds are allocated? 
A: Once application requirements are met and the grant agreement is executed, ODE will disburse the SIA Grant Funds using its Electronic Grants Management System (“EGMS”). Disbursement of funds and reporting provisions will be outlined/detailed in the Grant Agreement. For the 2020-21 school year, districts and eligible charter schools who incurred allowable expenses in the fall within the plan budget may submit claims dating back to July 1, 2020. 



Q: Can I access the materials from the workshop on “Sharing, Insights, and Development of Growth Targets and an SIA Evaluation Approach”?
A: Yes, you can! We’ve added a recording of the workshop and the workshop slide deck to the SIA Longitudinal Performance Growth Targets webpage. This page also includes other growth target resources, including webinars from earlier this year. 

Q: What makes up the common and customized monitoring and evaluation framework? 
A: In short, each SIA grant recipient will work with ODE to establish a grant agreement that includes a common and customized monitoring and evaluation framework. This framework, includes:
  • Longitudinal Performance Growth Targets for each of the five common metrics (3rd grade reading, regular attendance, 9th grade on-track, 4-year graduation and 5-year completion).*
  • Progress Markers set by ODE 
  • Local optional metrics beyond the five common metrics and progress markers
All grant recipients will have an opportunity to re-examine their framework in the spring/summer of 2021 should they wish to make adjustments before setting the framework for the upcoming biennium.

*For the 2020-21 school year only, the LPGTs have been released for all grant recipients. 


Q: For the 2020-21 school year, should we be reporting on our original Strategies and Activities as outlined in our SIA plan, or should we report on the Strategies and Activities we are focusing on under the reduced allocation due to COVID?
A: Within the first section of your progress report on the Reporting Dashboard, you will only need to report on the strategies and activities that you are still doing this year in light of the reduction of funding. You don’t need to report on the strategies and activities you’ve put on pause. In the second section of your progress report, you will still need to report on all of the planned expenditures as ODE is using this piece to capture adjustments to your original SIA plan in light of the reduction in funding.
 
Therefore, if you had a reduction in an activity from “Hire 2 mental health counselors” to now be “Hire 1 mental health counselor”, in the first section of the progress report your color coding system of red (no progress), yellow (significant progress), and green (completed) should be measured based on your revised activity target. In the second section of your progress report, you’ll need to indicate that you’ve reduced this expenditure given you’re shifting from hiring two mental health counselors to just one. 

Q:  With regard to the first progress report, if my district/charter decided to remove or pause any strategies or activities from my plan for the 2020-21 school year, will this requirement any sort of amendment or adjustment?
A: For this school year (2020-21), we defined adjustments as minor changes to activities or shifts to a tiered plan originally included in the SIA application and amendments as major changes to the original plan. With this in mind, for any recipient who has paused moving forward with a strategy or multiple strategies for this school year, they will remain in the adjustment category and will not need to submit an amendment (or anything else) at this point. 

Q: Can Business Managers (or other points of contact) also receive an automated link to the Reporting Dashboard?
A: Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate multiple contacts for automated messages out of smartsheets (something we hope to remedy in year 2 of the SIA funding), but we are happy to change your point of contact. Alternatively, you could keep your original point of contact and have that person share the link to your district’s or school’s Reporting Dashboard. Please reach out to SIAInfo to request any changes to contact information for either the biweekly SIA Message or the main grant point of contact. 

Q: What do I do if I want multiple people to fill out my Reporting Dashboard? How do I get information from my charter schools for reporting?
A: The link you received from SmartSheets is customized to your district or charter school and allows editing by anyone that has the link. Therefore you can have multiple people accessing the link and editing the Reporting Dashboard as needed. If you have an eligible charter school that applied as part of your district you can either send them the link directly, or you can request the necessary information from your charter so that you can fill it in.  

Q: What do I do if I have not received a link to my Reporting Dashboard? 
A: At this time, ODE has created and sent customized Reporting Dashboards via Smartsheet to all districts and eligible charters who have a fully executed SIA grant agreement (i.e. ODE has countersigned your grant agreements and you are able to request funds in EGMS). If you have a fully executed SIA grant agreement and did not receive a Reporting Dashboard then please reach out to SIAInfo and we will assist in getting you connected. If you do not yet have an executed grant agreement then please reach out to your Application Manager or SIAinfo@state.or.us to find out where you are in the process.

Q: If I do not have an executed grant agreement in place, will I still be required to submit a Reporting Dashboard on January 31, 2021?
A: The due date for the first Progress Report is January 31, 2021 for all grantees who have a fully executed grant agreement. If your grant agreement is executed after January 15th, then ODE will work you on a reporting due date for the first Progress Report (3 weeks after the date of the executed grant agreement). Confirmation of this due date and a link to your customized Reporting Dashboard will be sent once you have a fully executed grant agreement. 

Q: Do I need to fill out and submit both my Reporting Dashboard and the excel financial report templates that were included in the guidance released in December 2020?
A: As you are preparing your report response, you are also welcome to utilize the programmatic and financial report templates released in the Supporting Quality Implementation guidance in December 2020, which were a preview for those who wanted to get a jump on their reporting. Please remember that the actual progress reports for each reporting period must be submitted via the customized Smartsheet link you received. 

Q: The budget information, including the allocation amount, under the ”tracking expenses” section of my Reporting Dashboard is reflective of my original SIA allocation estimate. Why? 
A: If ODE has a copy of your Excel SIA budget, we have pre-populated your original SIA budget into the “tracking expenses” section of the Reporting Dashboard. This will be reflective of the original allocation amount unless a formal amendment was submitted in fall 2020. The first financial progress report is where the majority of recipients will note the adjustments made to the original budget and reflect the updated budgeted amounts of activities based on the revised allocation estimates that were released after the August 2020 special session. If you have any questions about how to reflect these adjustments or complete the financial progress report, contact SIAinfo@state.or.us

Q: If my district has a line item in our budget that represents charter pass through, should I leave this in, zero it out or mark it as “removed from budget” since my charter has a separate dashboard for their own budget?
A: If your charter has a separate dashboard (connected to your district dashboard) then you should not include it as a line item in your own district budget. We will be rolling up expenditures on the backend (for both charters and districts), so we don’t want to capture that charter allocation twice. In this case, you can mark it as “removed from budget” and zero it out in the district budget and all charter expenditures will be captured in their own reporting link. However, if your charter budget is embedded in your district budget then you should edit or add information as needed to show the charter expenditures for each line item. ODE needs to see additional detail on charter expenditures to understand if they are allowable under the HB3427 (i.e. we need to see more detail than “Charter pass-through to XX school”).

Q: In the Strategies and Activities section of the SIA Progress Report Dashboard, there is a cell next to each strategy to write in evidence. Can ODE provide examples of appropriate evidence for this part of the progress report? 
A: The ODE SIA team recognizes that there has been some confusion on the evidence portion of the dashboard and hopes to provide clarity for future reporting.  In the Strategies and Activities section of the SIA Progress Reporting Dashboard, recipients report on implementation progress toward each strategy and the supporting activities for that strategy.
 
If the strategy is related to implementing an integrated mental health program in order to improve student well-being, evidence over time might include:
  • Survey Results: Survey of students indicates more students, and especially students of color, are feeling a sense of belonging. 
  • Counseling Caseload or Schedule: Increased individual attention for students through the addition of additional counseling staff.
  • Professional Development Calendar: In a rolling wave model, all elementary school staff, and half of the middle school staff have participated in the professional learning series. High school staff begin participation in March.
  • Summary Data: Classroom observations indicate that school staff are using strategies elevated through professional learning to improve classroom climate.

As a reminder, you don’t need to upload, attach or hyperlink this documentation into the Smartsheet at this point, though you are welcome to, however if you are audited in the future and this evidence is requested, you should be able to readily pull this information.

Another form of evidence that is coded in this section of the Progress Report, includes the color coding and notes next to discreet activities that support the strategy. The color coding is a simple way to indicate the level of progress next to each activity. The notes are a space where additional examples of activity-level evidence can be documented such as the following examples:
  • Contracted with vendor for student mental health survey to be conducted and summarized annually.
  • Hired additional counseling staff.
  • Contracted with a vendor to provide professional learning for staff on strategies to improve school climate.
​Finally, the Journaling Progress section on the report is space where narrative reflection and additional context is reported on the types of changes, barriers and celebrations that are happening in the district overall. As you start to plan for submitting the second progress report, your district or charter school might consider pulling together a team or small group to complete the progress report to ensure you’re covering both the programmatic and financial aspects of the required reporting, as well as to determine next steps for your plan implementation.


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