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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow School districts receive state grant funding

School districts receive state grant funding

Wallowa, Enterprise land combined $730,314 to boost vocational technical programs

Enterprise and Wallowa school district officials are beginning the new year with new problems — the type of problems educators dream of having.

Enterprise and Wallowa school officials must begin determining precisely how they will spend a total of $730,314 in grant funding they will receive from the Oregon Department of Education for their agriculture and vocational technical programs.

Information released by the ODE on Tuesday shows the Wallowa School District will receive $480,328 and the Enterprise School District will be given $249,986 via the ODE’s Career Technical Education Revitalization grant award program. Both school districts will use the money to purchase new equipment for their welding and computer-assisted drafting programs, along with upgrading facilities which house their vocational technical shop programs and the purchasing of new computer equipment.

“It is pretty phenomenal. This is an exciting day,” said Jeremy McCulloch, Wallowa High School’s agriculture and construction teacher.

McCulloch said the grant will allow his high school to expand the offerings of its wood and metal shop programs, purchase 20 computers and remodel outdated buildings. 

“This will allow us to expand our wood and metal shop program offerings,” McCulloch said. 

Like McCulloch, Wallowa School District Superintendent Bret Uptmor is excited about the possibilities. He said he has often thought about how nice it would be to provide certain opportunities for his students. 

“Now those opportunities are at our doorstep,” Uptmor said.

The items the Enterprise School District will be purchasing with its grant funding will include a virtual welding system. The computerized program will provide immediate feedback to students doing virtual welding projects. It will tell students how successful a project was and suggest the speed and temperature adjustments they need to make. 

“It will provide immediate feedback,” said Stephanie Schofield, Enterprise High School’s agriculture science and technology teacher.

Much of the welding equipment to be replaced at Enterprise High School is 40 to 50 years old. The new equipment will relieve Schofield of a big concern. 

“If (the old welding equipment) breaks down, we would not be able to buy replacement parts for it (because it is so old),” Schofield said.

The Enterprise teacher said her students are already anticipating the new equipment. 

“The students are really excited. They are just pumped,” Schofield said.

To become eligible for the CTE grants, the Wallowa County school districts had to document they will have industrial partners for their agriculture and vocational technical programs after receiving the funding. These partners include professionals who will help students at the schools develop career skills through instruction and mentorship programs. 

“They will share their skill set with our students. It is so exciting,” said Enterprise High School Principal Blake Carlsen.

Officials at the Wallowa and Enterprise school districts both hope to have most of the new equipment and facility improvements in place and completed by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“We have some work in front of us but it is a good problem to have,” McCulloch said.

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.

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