The 12/18/19 issue of the Hermiston Herald had an article discussing our poverty level estimates and how it effected the Title V Rural and Low Income Schools grant for the Hermiston School District. For the 2019-2020 school year the district became ineligible for the grant, which amounted to more than $85,000.

The U.S. Department of Education, using the most current available data, found that the District’s eligibility poverty rate had dropped below the 20% threshold to less than 17%. Last year the rate was 24.4%.

To me, this would be something to celebrate.

I am not familiar with the data collection techniques used for these determinations; however, I am cautiously optimistic this could be a trend based on our improving economy.

What concerned me about the article, rather than the diminishing rate being a positive, it was framed in how certain school services were going to have to be modified and money taken from the general fund or other places in order to maintain these services at their current funding levels.

It strikes me that the district sees this as a glass half empty rather than half full and they have budgets they have to forecast, but I would be much more interested in learning what is being done right to lift our citizens out of poverty and stretching district tax dollars.

Which, in my estimation, is always a good thing for everyone.

Jim Sheffield


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