Frequently Asked Questions about HCSD#3 Opting Out of the ESD next year
***This page will continue to be updated as questions come in and we have time to respond to them.
1. What information has the district sent to parents regarding this decision?
Please click here for a parent notification that went out on January 22, 2019
2. What ORS allows districts to Opt out of an ESD and are there timelines involved?
ORS 334.015 outlines the timeline and process
334.015 Withdrawal of school district; effective date. (1) Notwithstanding ORS 334.010 and 334.013, one or more component school districts of an education service district may withdraw from the education service district.
(2) A school district board may choose to withdraw a school district from an education service district by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the school district board.
(3)(a) A school district board that chooses to withdraw a school district from the education service district must submit a notice of intent to withdraw to the board of directors of the education service district no later than November 1 of the year prior to the year in which the school district plans to withdraw from the education service district.
(b) A school district board that submitted a notice of intent to withdraw as provided by paragraph (a) of this subsection must submit a notice of withdrawal to the board of directors of the education service district no later than March 1 of the year in which the school district plans to withdraw from the education service district.
(c) Within 60 days of receiving the notice of withdrawal under paragraph (b) of this subsection, the board of directors of the education service district shall issue an order that recognizes the withdrawal of the school district from the education service district.
(4) The withdrawal of a school district from an education service district becomes effective on July 1 after the board of directors of the education service district issues the order described in subsection (3) of this section. [2011 c.705 §2; 2013 c.13 §1]
3. Can I see a copy of the board resolution that was signed? Yes, click here
I heard that the vote that the board took wasn't legal because a board member was absent from the meeting. Is this true?
NO. It is true that one of our board members was absent, but that happens at a board meeting. A quorum was present. In this case 4 board members were present for the meeting and 3 of them voted to approve the resolution with one of them abstaining. The resolution required a 2/3 majority vote to pass by law. It officially passed with a 75% affirmative vote.
4. Why did the board vote on the resolution at the January meeting instead of February?
At the last Local Service Plan meeting on November 27th, the other component schools wanted to know if HCSD3 was going to be leaving sooner rather than later as the ESD superintendent indicated that a new Local Service Plan would not be developed until HCSD3 had made a decision to leave. He agreed that the sooner HCSD3 made a decision, the better it would be for the ESD and the other component districts. HCSD3 was ready in January with a resolution and the board had all the information they needed to make the decision, so there was no reason to postpone it one more month. If a majority of the board members had needed more information, they could've requested that the resolution be delayed one more meeting. If the first time the resolution had come up in the February meeting and the board would've wanted more information before voting, they would've had to have held a special meeting again in order to pass the resolution and notify the ESD by the March 1st deadline. At the January board meeting, one board member did say he had questions and concerns, but the other board members present did not and were ready to vote, which they did. Three voted to pass the resolution, and one voted to abstain from voting, so the resolution was passed with 75% in the affirmative.
5. Will the resolution be on the agenda again at the February board meeting?
No. The resolution was already approved by the board and the ESD has been notified accordingly. The superintendent of the ESD has indicated that their acknowledgement of the resolution will be on their February 2019 board agenda as they are required by law to recognize by way of an order HCSD3's withdrawl from the ESD within 60 days.
6. Has any board member changed their vote regarding this resolution?
No. Only one vote took place at the January board meeting. Three board members voted in favor of the resolution and one board member abstained from voting after hearing the other three vote in the affirmative. Board members can only vote in open public session on agenda items that are meant to be heard in public. The only time a vote can take place in executive session is when they are conducting private hearings regarding students or employees that meet very specific legal guidelines.
7. Is there a plan in place that outlines HOW the Opt-out funds will be used?
Yes, click here to see the initial plan, but please keep in mind that a final plan will not be adopted until the budget is finalized, which usually happens in June. There are several areas in the plan that need more fine tuning, but it should give people an initial look at the possibilities that this gives us to better serve our students.
8. Will other school districts suffer because HCSD3 opts out of the ESD?
- Here is an article from the Oregonian from a few years back that should be of interest regarding the matter.
- Here is a study related to Pine Eagle School District from a few years ago.
- Here is Baker School District's perspective.
- Two legislators opinion on ESD Opt outs.
9. Can the funds be used for new programs not currently offered in the ESD's Local Service Plan?
YES. In fact we are looking at improving services such as TAG, School Safety, and Mental Health services.
10. What will the transition away from the ESD look like, especially for speech services? How will this affect speech services?
In most cases the transition from the ESD simply won't be noticed by anyone as they are contracted services through other organizations. The providers won't change in most cases. We'll just be eliminating the middle man. The one area where I know many people are concerned is that of speech services. We're anticipating that those ESD employees who already provide these services may want to continue to work with our students, staff, and parents. These employees will have the option to be hired by our district if we post for these positions. Another option to hiring them may be to contract these services with the ESD with a separate contract. We're looking at options, but want our parents to know that we are committed to serving students with the least amount of interruption possible. High quality speech services will continue to be provided.
11. How much money will be saved by opting out of the ESD?
I don't know if I can put an exact figure on the amount of money we'll save since we don't receive money directly for the services provided now. What we will be able to do with the money we receive by opting out of the service plan is estimated to be between $500-$600K. ODE provided an estimate that shows we would stand to gain $573,096 to provide services to our students from the ESD's Local Service Plan. With this money we will be taking care of services that either the ESD provided us before or subcontracted out to others to provide to us. We have an initial rough plan that outlines some of the services we intend to use with the funds. Most of these services will be the same while others we will have more control over and be able to better choose what those services look like. We believe strongly that we will be able to provide some enhanced services such as TAG.
12. Does this have any effect on Silvies River Charter School students?
Not directly. HCSD#3 does not serve SRCS students. The Silvies River Charter School is part of the Frenchglen School District, which is part of the ESD's local service plan. The other component districts will now create a local service plan and what their new plan will look like will be determined by these districts. I would encourage parents of this charter school to contact Frenchglen regarding services they provide.
13. Will this affect the Head Start Program at all?
14. Why does the district use HDESD for services that our LOCAL ESD can provide? (i.e. Synergy)
The High Desert ESD is the regional expert for Synergy, our student management software program. Nobody at our local ESD has the expertise we need. We pay for Synergy via High Desert ESD, so it makes sense that we also contract with them for support services. If our local ESD had the expertise or provided this service, we would most likely use them.
15. Why did Doug Gunderson sign the Resolution when he wasn't a Yes vote?
In checking with an attorney on this question, this was her response, "if it is a resolution of the board, it would be appropriate for all board members to sign it even if they didn't vote for it (because it is a resolution of the entire board as a whole)." "All in all, if the board passed it, even if only by a quorum and not the whole board, it is still a valid resolution of the board as an entity."