Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report: Eagle Point School District 

July 15, 2022


Facilities:

In June of 2021, the property owners of Eagle Point School District made their final payment on their school bond obligations. This completed the levy for past building development in EPSD9 schools. As of this date, EPSD9 property owners are paying $0.0 towards new construction or upgrades to current facilities. Maintenance and limited construction continues using both District general funds and grants.

Over the past year, the Board of Directors and the EPSD9 Facilities Committee have examined the current status and future needs of Eagle Point Schools. An outside analysis conducted by ORW Architects of Medford identified approximately $94 million in current and future (30 yr) district needs. This estimate was calculated using pre-covid construction costs. The analysis emphasized aged facilities at the Shady Cove and Table Rock schools and anticipates classroom space shortages at the middle schools and some of our elementary schools (Hillside & Eagle Rock) in the coming years.

The Facilities Committee examined this analysis in detail and using surveys, site visits, and community input considered additional projects as well as multiple strategies for achieving the District’s needs including bond proposals. For example, one topic the Committee examined was the need for practice space for student athletes, during an era of increased wildfire smoke in the Rogue Valley. Another was the recent success of bond campaigns across Oregon during uncertain times. And another important topic was the potential bond yield, construction costs and supply chains in the current uncertain economy.

Two community surveys (and here) indicated support -as much as any of us support increased taxes- for a bond especially with regard to projects targeting the upkeep of current infrastructure, student safety and student instruction with less support for “athletic” projects such as increased gym space, a field house or covered bleachers.

The Facilities Committee also determined a minimum current priority needs list of facilities improvements which totaled $48 million. This proposal prioritized a new structure at Shady Cove, traffic improvements at Eagle Rock Elementary and expansion of classroom space at EPHS, WMMS and EPMS. One concerning aspect of the minimum priority list would be that it would very likely require one or two additional bond levies during the life of the bond. Across the state having multiple school bonds at different stages of being paid off is not unusual. One advantage is that it gives greater flexibility in meeting changing needs. However, this approach would be new to Eagle Point and could impact the success of a future levy.

The Facilities Committee also completed the submission of a Long Range Facilities Plan to the Oregon Department of Education and an application to participate in the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) in time to qualify as an early submitter. 

OSCIM grants are state matching grants in the amount of $4 to $8 million based on bond levy size and a funding formula. The minimum award is $4 Million (for those that receive awards) with an amount above $4 million based on the bond levy amount and a funding formula. Not all districts that apply will get the grant. In recent years, the grant has been funded by the Legislature enough to fund approximately 4 to 8 districts per funding cycle. Part of the funding (40%) is awarded based on a lottery system (with early submitters getting first priority), and part (60%) is based on a needs-based system based on average assessed value per student (weighted for poverty) in each district so that property-poor districts with higher poverty have a better chance than property-rich/less poverty districts.  

EPSD9 has a priority ranking of 85 of the 197 current school districts, with 1 being the highest. A priority ranking of 85 puts EPSD9 in a fairly poor position for the needs-based award, but the District would have an equal chance at the lottery based portion. ODE will analyze the applications received over the next few days and announce the winners early next week. This application would be good for four years.

Looking forward, if the Board of Directors approves a bond levy for the November 2022 ballot the Board and EPSD9 community would need to organize a committee to fundraise and promote a campaign. Once the Board of Directors formally takes action to place a bond on the ballot, the rules and roles regarding District participation in a campaign initiate. If the Board of Directors determines not to place a bond on the November ballot the Facilities Committee will seek additional membership especially from the Shady Cove and White City communities for the upcoming year. Future work would focus on refining plans from the past year, informing the District patrons of on-going facilities projects and status and if appropriate submitting future proposals to the Board of Directors.

Instruction:

EPSD9 summer programs are wrapping up this month. 540 Kindergarten through 8th grade students participated in 9 summer programs across our district. At the High School level, 41.5 credits were earned at EPHS while our program at URCEO has not yet finished. With the help of staff at Student Services, 5 more seniors graduated this summer. URCEO staff are working towards moving a few more students to graduation status by the end of August.

85 EPSD9 teachers and 78 EPSD9 classified staff members worked or are working our summer programs. 4,262 breakfasts and 7,336 lunches were served to our summer program by Sodexo to this date. The YMCA provided after summer program care at URCEO and TRE for families for $5 a week.

In looking to the 2022-2023 academic year we are optimistic. We believe that the worst of the epidemic is behind us and we can return our focus to the main task of improving our district and student performance as outlined in our strategic plan. We also believe that as we move further from the immediate impacts of the epidemic we will see improved progress in all areas.

D9 Foundation:

The D9 Foundation, is a non-profit all volunteer organization dedicated to providing scholarships for every Eagle Point graduate. Fundraising is vitally important. This year the ‘D9 Weekend’ will be September 10th & 11th. The Dinner and Auction will be held on the 10th and the Golf Tournament will be held on the 11th. Please mark your calendars to attend. The D9 Foundation is currently seeking sponsors and donors for both the auction and tournament. If you are considering making a contribution for the auction or volunteering during the event please contact the Foundation at [email protected]

Beyond the benefit weekend some of the ways in which our donors can elect to support the Foundation’s mission include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Volunteer Time and Talents. Get in touch with us today! 
  • Donate by check or cash and indicate which fund you wish to support
  • Transfer stock to the D-9 Foundation rather than sell and avoid a capital gain tax imposed
  • Develop a Charitable Lead Annuity Trust or Charitable Lead Unitrust so the Foundation may receive immediate income interest. Normally established through qualified tax counsel, trust company or bank trust department.
  • Donate outright gifts of property or other valuable items. You may avoid a capital gain tax, though a tax advisor should be consulted to make the determination with you.
  • Donate to the D-9 Foundation in your will or trust. The establishment of a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust, or Charitable Remainder Unitrust are often a part of this process. This would reduce your taxable estate, possibly saving a lot of taxes. This is especially true when dealing with an IRA or pension plan. The advice and counsel of a well qualified and sophisticated consultant in this area is a necessity.

 

Andy Kovach
Superintendent
541-830-6563