Superintendent

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District

May 26, 2021

 

COVID19 and Instruction:

We’re on the home stretch of the academic year. Spring is always hectic and stressful in schools (and school district offices) and with COVID19, expanded summer school, continuing struggles with staffing and our district's work to refocus on long-term improvements coming out of the pandemic, it’s that much more challenging.

Although we now have students in our schools and athletic fields, COVID19 is still among us. For example on May 20th we had 187 students isolated or quarantined from school. Because of the extensive investigation and tracking necessary when a person is found to be COVID positive we found it necessary, on May 12, to keep our students home from Eagle Point High School. This happened to be a Boot Camp day in which many of the students worked remotely anyway. We continue to live in an ever changing pandemic. Although Jackson County was in the “extreme” category for about a week, the OHA retained the tighter requirements for isolating staff and students as the county moved to “higher risk”. For example, prior to the change, exposed students and staff could return to work and campus after seven symptom free days and a negative COVID test. Now it is a firm 14 day quarantine. This change increases the number of staff and students out of school and makes it more challenging for our students to keep on top of instruction and for the schools to maintain staffing.

Additionally, because of the longer quarantine we are working to give our on-track seniors the option to begin working remotely beginning on May 28. This would allow students to complete the 14-day quarantine prior to the June 12 graduation ceremony date. It’s our hope by taking this action we can eliminate, or at least reduce, the number of graduating seniors who would be excluded from participating in our graduation ceremony.

GraduationAs reported last month the graduation ceremony will be held June 12th. We made this change because we needed the flexibility of being able to use all of Saturday to adjust to what may come. If conditions loosen we can consolidate into one ceremony and issue additional audience tickets to graduates. If they tighten we can expand the number of ceremony sessions to meet requirements. Our current plan is to use the stadium and have two sessions (10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) with every graduate given two tickets. Our goal is to maximize the event for our families while maintaining safety. As is our traditional practice, Board members are invited to be on the stage for both sessions. At the same time it is understandable if you cannot attend due to prior plans.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations are increasingly available and have been extended to children aged 12 and above. Eagle Point School District has encouraged staff to vaccinate. We have taken no position on the COVID vaccination of children. We have not kept records of which staff have chosen or not chosen to do so. Beyond this EPSD9 has also provides information on vaccination clinics as a public service to our communities. EPSD9 has not required anyone -students or staff- to vaccinate and we have no plans to do so. This topic is controversial. We have determined that our schools will continue to require everyone to wear masks indoors whether a person is vaccinated or not for the remainder of this school year.

Budget Update: The EPSD9 Budget Committee has recommended a budget built around the state appropriation of $9.3B for Board approval. As of today, May 26, the Oregon State Senate has approved this funding level. While not yet signed by the Governor we are feeling confident that funding for the next biennium will not fall below this level.

Looking forward, on May 19th, the June 2021 Economic and Revenue Forecast was released. This report was surprisingly positive. Optimistic indicators included revenues for the 19-21 biennium that were up significantly ($1.8B) compared to numbers released in March. Oregon is now projected to have $4.2 billion in reserve funds available.

Additionally, the Corporate Activity Tax, which funds the Student Success Act, is projected to gross over $2.3 billion during the 21-23 biennium. This is up $76.1 million from the March Forecast.  This would equate to approximately a $835 million Student Investment Account (SIA) over the next two years (up $35 million). To provide context, school districts received $150 million in the 20-21 school year. Further economic information is available at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis and Legislative Revenue Office Forecast Summary.

Cascade Pool: Ms. Joy Reich, the Director of the Cascade Pool in White City will be retiring on June 1st. The Board of Directors for the pool has informed EPSD9 -the owners of the facility- that they intend to work to replace Joy and to continue to operate the pool. This is a tall order. Joy Reich will be difficult to replace. It is possible that the organization may find Joy’s position impossible to fill and decide to cease managing the pool and return responsibility for the facility to the District. EPSD9 has an interest in seeing the pool continue to operate. It’s a resource for all of our students and our district has used the pool for swim lessons and reward activities in the past and currently uses the pool for its swim team.

URCEO Virtual: Over the summer we intend to move the URCEO Program to the ‘Outback’ facility. We believe that this facility is more suitable for the growth and changes that we have worked on over the past year in developing and expanding our virtual offerings. The primary current ‘Outback’ tenant, Technology, will move to the Platt street facility vacated by URCEO. We will continue to house the YMCA program in the ‘Outback’.

Facilities Committee: The EPSD9 Facilities Committee has held two meetings this month. These meetings have reviewed the work of ORW Architecture which has been working with the District in examining and redeveloping a Long Range Facility Plan over the past year. These studies are data-driven and closely examined our current facilities and subsystems as well as projected future capacity needs. These studies are very enlightening and it would be helpful if this information could be presented to the Board in the coming months. The Facilities Committee also sees its future work to include a lot of discussion, quite likely site visits and most importantly a need to seek community input. Members of the public who are interested in joining this committee and helping with its work are welcome. Please contact myself (Superintendent Kovach) directly at kovacha@eaglepnt.k12.or.us

Charter Schools: I am recommending to the Board that they approve allowing Kids Unlimited to conduct an extended school year for the period July 2021 through June 2022. Kids Unlimited had approached me about making this change some months ago during the time EPSD9 was itself considering an extended school year. At that time I gave a verbal affirmative to KU to pursue this. However, this decision actually requires Board approval. Because of the circumstances I would ask the Board to approve this for one year. We can then reconsider this next year during the regular calendar process


Respectfully,

Andy Kovach
Eagle Point School District 9
Superintendent
541-830-6563