Q&A Applying for Oregon School District Grants

This post was updated on December 22nd, 2023 to address increases in TAP and OSCIM grant dollar amounts.

Soderstrom believes that students hold our greatest hopes for the future. We spend a lot of time in school buildings across Oregon, supporting districts with renovations, expansion, and new buildings to provide the best learning environments possible. We also know that one of the greatest barriers schools face is a lack of funding. Luckily, there are state funds available to help districts plan and assess their facilities. Soderstrom has four Oregon Department of Education-certified assessors who specialize in this type of work.

We’ve helped over 25 districts with grant applications and worked with them through the assessment, planning, and visioning phases. Below, we’ve gathered together some key pieces of information about the most common grant programs available for Oregon school districts.

Oregon Technical Assistance Program (TAP) – by the Oregon Department of Education


What is the Oregon Technical Assistance Program?

The Oregon Technical Assistance Program (also known as the Oregon TAP Grant) is a program to help school districts to pay for the cost of Facility Condition Assessments, Long-Range Facility Planning, Seismic Assessments, and Asbestos Environmental Hazards Assessments. Districts can apply each year for grants within these categories.


What is the goal of the Oregon Technical Assistance Program?

The goal of the Oregon TAP Grant is to help school districts “better inform their communities about deferred maintenance needs, future enrollment, and explore sources of funding for school facilities.”


How much money can I get for my facility or district through the Oregon TAP Grant?

$40,000 – Facilities Assessment Report (FAR)

$40,000 – Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP)

$25,000 – Seismic Assessment Report (SRGP)

$25,000 – Asbestos Testing and Training


Who qualifies for the Oregon TAP Grants?

Any school district within Oregon that has not already received grant funds within the past four years for that specific grant type.


When do I need to apply?

Between January 15th – February 15th every year.


What is the application process?

The application is a very simple, one-page form per grant that takes just a few minutes to complete. Your application will require information about your district’s facilities, including district ID, address, contact information, and dates of past inspections.


How are applicants selected for funds?

Each application will be awarded up to six (6) preference points. Applications with the maximum of six preference points will be given grants first. All other applications with the most to least preference points will follow. For example: five preference point applications will be picked next, and one point applications will be picked last.


What are preference points?

Preference points are given when the facility/district is lacking in certain areas. For example, one preference point is given when 25% percent of the students are identified as living in poverty. There are a maximum of six preference points per category (Facilities Assessment, Long-Range Facility Plan, Seismic Assessment, and Asbestos Environmental Hazards Assessment). The purpose of this system is to separate the applications and clients that need the most help to the least, therefore helping grants be distributed fairly.


How many grants can our facility or district apply for?

A district can apply for all four of the different assessment types: Facilities Assessment, Long-Range Facility Plan, Seismic Assessment, and Asbestos Environmental Hazards Assessment.


Where can I apply for the Oregon Technical Assistance Program and learn more?

Applications must be submitted electronically through ODE school facilities unit: ODE.SchoolFacilities@ode.oregon.gov. You can find more information and links to the facilities assessment, long range facility plan, seismic assessment, and hazards assessment applications on the ODE website below:

District staff participating in a design charrette for Ashland School District.

Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program  – by the Oregon Department of Education


What is the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program?

OSCIM is a grant program for public schools to help pay for any type of construction project. These grants are 1:1 matching and can be used for any type of construction project – addition, renovation, or new.


What is the goal of the OSCIM Grant Program?

OSCIM’s goal is to “encourage local communities to invest in their district’s public schools.”


Who qualifies for the OSCIM Grant Program?

All public Oregon school districts are eligible, but not private or non-public charter schools.


How much money can I get for my district?

Most districts can earn up to $6 million dollars in matching funds if they pass their bonds. Larger Districts are eligible for up to $12 million dollars.


When do I need to apply?

Deadlines are tied to the relevant election dates targeted for the bond. Approximately six months prior to the election: July 15th for the November election, or December 15th for the May election. Note: Facilities Assessment Report (FAR) and Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) documents must be submitted at least two weeks prior to ODE for approval as a prerequisite for application.


What is the application process?

Districts must fill out and submit one completed application on time to be considered for award commitment, otherwise there’s a risk of delay or rejection for the “First in Time” funds. The application consists of school district ID, district name, anticipated local bond election date, anticipated local bond amount, anticipated month/year of districts matching bond sale, project description, and contact information.


How are applicants selected for funds?

Sixty percent of funds will be given to local general obligation (GO) bonds based on the Priority List. The other 40% will be distributed to First in Time program applicants that pass the local GO bond.


What’s the difference between Priority List Funding and First in Time Funding?

The Priority List ranks the district’s “total assessed value, number of students in poverty, and ­extended Average Daily Membership weighted (ADMw).” Districts with more concerns from this list will be more likely to receive an equivalent grant. First in Time means the “portion of the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Account that is to be awarded to Districts based on the order in which the Department receives the applications.”


Can our district apply for both types of funding?

Yes, when districts apply, they must use one application that has criteria for both funding programs. Funds can be awarded under one program, or both.


How often can we apply for the OSCIM Program?

Districts may only apply every six years if they received a commitment, bond and meet program requirements. Otherwise, this restriction does not apply.


Where do we apply for the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program?

When you submit your FAR and LRFP documents, you need to notify ODE that you intend to submit for the grant at that time (if not sooner). The application itself is a very straightforward form that asks for information on your district and the general scope of your intended bond projects. Applications must be submitted via email in the provided excel document form, to the ODE Office of School Facilities: ODE.schoolfacilities@ode.state.or.us.


OSCIM Grant Application:

Where to learn more about the OSCIM Program:

Site plan option for Curry School District.

Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) – by Business Oregon


What is the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP)?

The SRGP is a competitive grant program that helps primarily schools and emergency facilities complete seismic rehabilitations of critical public buildings.


What is the goal of the SRGP?

The SRGP’s goal for school districts is to help them with grants for seismic updates of existing buildings. Their grant provides funding to rehabilitate their buildings in greatest need.


Who qualifies for the SRGP?

Public K-12 school districts, community colleges, educational service districts, and emergency buildings (fire stations, police stations, hospitals, 911 call centers, etc.)


How much money can I get for my school or district?

Districts can receive up to $2.5M per building, and there’s no limit to how many applications can be submitted. Multiple applications can be submitted for the same building even, provided they are designed to be seismically separate and meet the minimum 250 occupant threshold.


What can the money be used for?

It can be used to seismically upgrade buildings. It cannot be used to build new.


When do I need to apply?

Districts can apply as often as they want, with the application window typically mid-December to mid-January annually.


What is the application process?

The TAP grant “Seismic Assessment” report is used for this application. Depending on the size and complexity, often more than one (1) application can be produced for the $25,000 in TAP grant funds available. Ideally districts then get the grant application completely paid for with available grants, so there are no out-of-pocket costs to apply.


The application itself includes a Seismic Rehabilitation Program Grant Application, Preliminary Engineering Report or Assessment, Cost Estimate, Benefit Cost Analysis, Photographs of Buildings Proposed for Rehabilitation, and Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) Rapid Visual Screening Seismic Needs Assessment.


How are applicants selected for funds?

The committee will rank your application based on Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) Score, Project Readiness, Scope of Work, Financial feasibility/leverage of partnerships to enhance the outcome and importance in the community.


How often can we apply for the SRGP?

You are able to submit annually, as often as you like. But there are limited grant funds available. With the expense of the application process, we recommend being strategic with how often you apply.


Where do we apply for the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP)?

Applicants must submit one original paper copy of the application and supporting documentation, and also include a CD or memory stick with a duplicate set of application materials (application and supplemental documents) saved on it. Application materials can be sent via mail/ UPS / FedEx.


Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program
Attention: Gloria Zacharias
Oregon Business Development Department
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 200
Salem, Oregon 97301

Where to learn more about the SRGP:

Need help?

Soderstrom would love to use our expertise to help your district with the application process. Let’s have a conversation about your district’s goals and biggest concerns!

Marlene Gillis, President marleneg@sdra.com

Meagan Baker-Wilmes, Associate Principal mbaker-wilmes@sdra.com

Andy Bonesz, Associate Principal andybonesz@sdra.com