Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District
December 15, 2021

 

COVID19 and Instruction:

The hard work of our EPSD9 staff is gratifying and deeply appreciated. These are challenging times to be in education. While EPSD9 currently has the largest number of employees working for the District that it has had in years, the workload is also higher. Finding additional employees to fill current openings, especially in special education and transportation continues to be difficult. For our staff, the level of supervision is greater, as we keep students separated, and following COVID procedures is time consuming. Student behaviors and academic performance resulting from last year’s virtual instruction is also challenging.

EPSD9 data continues to show a slow decline in the number of students and staff being quarantined due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine requirements. We do expect the rate of positive cases to begin to rise following the holiday break. At that time, we will then be in the peak of the flu season and the initial symptoms for both diseases overlap. Our information also indicates that the arrival of the Omicron variant, which appears to be more contagious, will begin to be felt.

EPEA & EPSD9 Discussions: The District and EPEA have been engaged in discussions regarding topics of mutual interest including staff pay and working conditions. The District wishes to acknowledge the efforts of our employees over the past eighteen months as well as to position itself to be as competitive as possible during this spring’s hiring season. The District had also identified a need to equalize the instructional time provided to students across our schools.

We believe we have met those objectives and have entered into a verbal agreement with the EPEA. We anticipate that the EPEA will be bringing this agreement to its membership for review. The District will be placing this agreement before the Board, for its review, during its January 12th Work Session. 


Budgeting Update:

The December Economic and Revenue Forecast showed another surge in tax collections. Net General Fund and Lottery revenues are up a combined $725.4 million since the September Forecast. The economic recovery continues to be strong. Household incomes and consumer spending remain high and the economy is on track to reach full employment a year from now. Labor supply has been slower to recover. Labor shortages are likely to decline in the coming months as more workers search for work. Even so, the labor market will remain tight.

Recent forecasts have called for tax collections to decline, however, revenue growth has accelerated. In recent weeks, daily collection records have been set for both personal income tax withholdings and corporate tax collections. In addition, Lottery sales continue to set records.

Inflation is also generating additional Corporate Activity Tax collections. As a result, tax liability has risen along with prices, and is expected to remain higher in the near future.

The state’s reserve accounts (Education Stability Fund, Rainy Day Fund, and Cash Reserves) grew significantly and are currently projected to reach almost $4 billion during the 2021-23 biennium. This is equivalent to 16.5% of the General Fund Budget. Combined with the strength of Corporate Activity Tax collections, it appears Oregon is in a strong position to weather a significant economic downturn.   

Facilities Committee:

The Facilities Committee met on December 6th and December 13th. Because of the pause since its last meeting, the Committee took the time to review the facilities assessment studies, conducted last year by ORW Architects. These studies evaluated the current condition, ‘educational adequacy', and ‘building capacity in 10 years’ for our schools. These studies are complex and extensive. Not surprisingly they indicate high needs at our oldest schools, EPHS, Shady Cove and Table Rock and less so in our newer structures. The studies also show continuing population growth, especially in White City and Eagle Point with a shortage of middle level classroom space after 2030.

Looking forward the Committee will continue to meet and suss out a facilities plan for the district both for the near future and coming years. It is possible that the Committee may recommend to the Board that it consider a bond campaign, especially in the light that our current bond has ended and the facility needs of the district will not decrease over time.

The Facilities Committee is looking for additional members, especially representatives from White City. Members of the public are also welcome to attend meetings. If interested in participating in this work please don’t hesitate to contact Superintendent Andy Kovach at kovacha@eaglepnt.k12.or.us Our next meeting will be the early evening of January 3rd.

Andy Kovach
Superintendent
541-830-6563