Superintendent

Superintendent Report: October 8, 2020

COVID-19

Due to the South Obenchain Fire, Eagle Point School District delayed it’s official student start date from September 14th to September 21st. Staff returned to work on Monday, September 14th in some cases to alternative work sites due to fire closures. Our staff was able to compress the inservice time and begin making contact with families within the first days of returning and had made contact with over 90% of our families well before the official beginning of instruction.

Currently, we are providing ‘Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) to our students. This mode of instruction is entirely virtual. We are also into our second week of Limited In-Person Instruction (LII) with individual schools at varying levels of implementation. Limited In-person Instruction allows EPSD to bring small numbers of students into our schools. Our priority is to address those students who we cannot reach virtually, first, followed by students we are defining as “struggling learners”. It is our intent to expand limited in-person instruction to the extent allowed by the state guidelines and changing COVID 19 metrics. The rate or level of Limited In Person instruction will likely vary in the coming weeks as we manage increasing incidents of COVID exposure. The public can monitor incidents of COVID19 outbreaks in schools on the ODE website as well as with the Oregon Health Authority. Incidents of COVID exposure are difficult to separate from flu symptoms and we can anticipate a further increase as winter arrives. 

Distance instruction (CDL) has been a struggle for our students and families and staff. We are seeing increasingly serious indications of emotional struggles in our students and are adapting to the need. We expect the impact of CDL, both emotionally and educationally  being a significant challenge when our students return to school.

Eagle Point School District continues to have staff working on-site. We have proactively worked with staff to accommodate those members whose health status or child-care needs. In the short term, having our staff work on-site has allowed us to more efficiently develop and improve our service. It is our hope that we can continue this practice through the school year. 

Budget Outlook:

September 2020 Economic and Revenue Forecast has been released. For the current state budget, revenues are up significantly from the June 2020 Forecast. Longer-term forecasts are still lower than pre-COVID numbers. The state is facing budget shortfalls in the future biennium, although those shortfalls are significantly smaller than projected three months ago. In the near term, revenue for the 19-21 biennium has rebounded from the

June forecast and is projected to increase by about $2 billion. This effectively wipes out the initial damage predicted from the COVID pandemic. It also means that the actions the Legislature has taken to balance the 19-21 budget are sufficient to protect funding for state programs.   

 

The impact on future budgets is more opaque. At the close of the 19-21 biennium, the state is now projected to have over $3 Billion in reserve funds available (General Fund, Education Stability Fund, and Rainy Day Fund). This is equivalent to 14.6% of the state’s General Fund revenue However, despite the stabilization of the 19-21 budget and significant state reserves, the state is still likely facing a budget deficit in the 21-23 biennium.  

 

Here are links to materials for more for additional information:

 

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis presentation to Legislative Revenue Committees      

Legislative Revenue Office Forecast Summary       

 

South Obenchain Fire:

The Obenchain fire remains an active fire at this time. However, closures and evacuation orders have ceased. The final damage and number of homes lost has not yet been published. For Eagle Point School District families who have lost homes and property, as well as those hosting and supporting families who have, the following resources are available.

 

We also know several hundred students displaced from the Almeda Fire are residing within Eagle Point School District. Most of these students are in the White City area and as with victims of the Obenchain Fire are living with family and friends. We have temporarily moved the Aguilitas (AAP) preschool program to Table Rock Elementary and have made the building available to Phoenix-Talent School District as a base for their staff to work from.

 

We have also submitted a proposal to the Jackson County Crises Management System that two properties of 13.5 acres and 20 acres located adjacent to the Aguilitas facility be used as a FEMA emergency housing site. If this proposal is accepted for consideration and development the Board can expect a proposal coming to it for review and approval. 

 

All Students Belong Act 

In September, the Oregon State Board of Education passed OAR 581-022-2312, the ‘All Students Belong’ policy. This administrative rule specifies that symbols of hate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin including the noose, swastika or confederate flag be eliminated from schools. The rule is in effect as of  October 5, 2020. and requires adoption by local school districts by January. 

The Oregon School Boards Association is developing policy language for consideration by member school boards. As of this writing, draft policy language has not yet been published. The Board should anticipate this policy being presented in the coming months.

D9 Foundation:

The D9 Foundation conducted it’s annual Golf Tournament on September 27th after a delay due to the fires. Community support was overwhelming and fielded a full complement of teams. Early estimates are that the event profited the Foundation $12,000.00 which is a substantial jump from recent years. As the Board knows all funds raised are devoted to scholarships for Eagle Point students. President Teri Steinhorst asked me to thank the Board, community and many staff members for their participation and support.

Wrestling Room Project:

Due to the fires and start up of school this project has not received the attention it deserves. However, initial drawings have been completed. Those involved, and interested volunteers are welcome, intend to meet in the near future to consider next steps and fund-raising.


Respectfully,

Andy Kovach
Eagle Point School District 9 - Eagle Point
Superintendent
kovacha@eaglepnt.k12.or.us
541-830-6563
541-830-6200 (fax)