Lake County Education Service District met for its monthly public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23, debating among other topics the state-mandated requirement to hire a liaison support position.

The meeting began with financial reports, noting that current auditing services cost $20,000-25,000 more than the previous provider. A new vendor can be sought every three years. A proposal from the State of Oregon for ESD’s to invest in a PERS Employer Incentive fund at a $100,000 match was voted down.

Lake County ESD Supt. Jack Thompson welcomed Daphne Greer as the new Lake County Youth Mentor Program director, taking over the role from interim director Kathy Miles. See related article for details.

Thompson also noted rules finalization for the Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) established the previous week, with a deadline of December to submit necessary implementation documentation.

The Student Success Act, which generates $2 billion for Oregon schools through a corporate tax, was debated at length. Districts must apply for the funds through a non-competitive grant, but mandates that each ESD must hire a part-time liaison to oversee the ESD’s compliance. The position’s job requirements, while extensive, are confusing and non-descript, leaving many on the ESD board unclear on potential candidates. Thompson noted he had offered the position to two people, both of whom had declined it.

While the position only covers .25 FTE, funding provided for the position is covered through a biennium payment that for Lake County covers approximately $61,600, and funds are not delivered until July under the new fiscal year. Yet the requirements necessitate an immediate hire, one with extensive qualifications per the Student Success Act requirements, but with only a roughly $30,000 salary available.

Thompson noted that despite the associated headaches the funding to become available through the Student Success Act makes it worthwhile to pursue, particularly for the Lakeview and North Lake districts based on student population. Funding is provided to benefit mental health, early childhood learning, and class sizes.

The ESD board reviewed several policies, including public complaint policy, harassment/bullying/domestic violence policies, use of restraint by staff, nondiscrimination, and criminal records checks.

The board also approved an addendum to the schedule to dedicate $9,300 assessed from the budget towards enrichment funds. The funds had already been assigned to purchase 30 chromebooks and cart for classroom use.

ESD meetings are held at the ESD Building in Lakeview on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

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