Michael's Missives

Updates from Douglas ESD Superintendent Michael Lasher

It’s been a couple of months since my last missive. With spring break almost upon us, I want to communicate with everyone before we part ways for a week.

I’d like to remind you that once the ESD board meeting agenda packet appears in BoardBook, you can look for my Board Notes under “Superintendent’s Report” to find what I’m telling the board about ESD programs, activities and updates. I’ll try not to be repetitive in these missives, but I do want to underscore items that might otherwise be missed.

Those of you wondering about a new licensed salary scale will be glad to know that this long process is nearing an end. The salary committee has been working on a redesign that seems to be quite satisfactory. The board reviewed March 10. The next step is to sit down with association representatives and negotiate the final touches. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved for being so helpful and professional during this process. Lots of different ideas were considered, modified and discarded. The time invested has been substantial and the product is a result of widespread collaboration. I’m sure it’s not perfect, as compromise seldom is. But I believe it’s worthy of everyone’s consideration. You’ll be hearing more about it from your association leadership in a short time.

EI/ECSE in Jackson County recently won a bronze award from the United Way. These awards go to organizations that increase their giving between 1 and 9 percent from one year to the next. Way to go! The board wanted me to thank everyone for their generosity in supporting United Way in Jackson, Klamath, and Douglas counties. United Way does such good work in our communities, and I’m very proud of all our staff who donated. The bronze award will be presented to the Jackson County staff in April.

Budgeting for next year will begin in earnest after spring break. We remain financially sound. An EI/ECSE funding bump was approved recently by the state Legislature. Of the $5.4 million allocated, our region can expect about $500,000. Of course, we need to share that among the programs in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake and Douglas counties. Distribution of those funds will depend on ODE’s recalculation of everyone’s ADM numbers.

We continue to work diligently on plans to implement a Transition to School Behavior program for students in K-6 grades who need to adjust their behaviors for the classroom. We’re also planning a less intensive program called Ready, Set, Learn. This one allows districts to refer children for intervention services the students can receive within their own districts.

You may have heard about a signature-gathering campaign called “A Better Oregon” that would levy a tax on corporate sales. Another one that may be familiar to folks in Douglas County would refer to voters the question of whether to establish a taxing district for Douglas County libraries. The decline in federal payments to offset the loss in timber dollars, coupled with Douglas County Commissioners’ stated priority for funding public safety, could mean imminent closure for the Douglas County Library in Roseburg and its 10 branches. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do when asked to sign these petitions or vote on either of these measures. But I will encourage you to become informed on both issues and any others that affect our communities.

I’m honored to be among those on the 20-member panel advising the Umpqua Community College Board on selection of its next president. Eight candidates were invited for preliminary interviews on March 14 and 15. The board will choose finalists from that pool. I am hoping for someone who is good at forming strong community relations, especially in the K-12 sphere.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy respite from work as we head into spring break. I’m looking forward to pruning grapes and planting trees on my wee farm. As always, I am happy to hear your questions or concerns.


Douglas ESD

This newsletter is a semi-regular publication to staff from Superintendent Michael Lasher. Got news you think Michael should share with the whole agency? Let him know! Email him, michael.lasher@douglasesd.k12.or.us or, call him, 541-440-4751!