What is an Education Service District (ESD)?
Under the provisions of ORS 334, adopted by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 2005, an Education Service District shall provide regionalized core services in:
Who is Wallowa County ESD?
The Wallowa County ESD serves approximately 1091 students spread out over 3,500 square miles (886 public school, 176 registered home school, 29 EI/ECSE, and 20 private school children) of the Northwest corner of Oregon. Most students are within a 45 minute bus trip to their respective school district.
The goals of these services are to:
Assist component school districts in meeting their obligations/requirements under state and federal law. (Under federal law for special education, local school districts are responsible for everything.); Improve student learning; Enhance the quality of instruction provided to students; Provide professional development to component school district employees; Enable component school districts and students who attend school in those districts to have equitable access to resources; and Maximize operational and fiscal efficiencies for component school districts. The responsibility of the ESD is to provide these services as much as possible under the direction of the service grant 90/10 rule for expenditures. The Wallowa ESD is willing to augment its service grant with other funding available to it. However, the local school districts are ultimately responsible for any additional costs due to increases in services requested of the Wallowa ESD above 90% its service grant.
Why is Wallowa County ESD Important?
The low population density and geographic isolation of Wallowa County creates the necessity for the districts to pool services through the ESD. The implementation and management of such services has to be done with a lens of knowledge and understanding of the unique challenges our small schools face with local culture at the center. These challenges would be exponentially magnified for our small districts if the financial strain of providing these specialized services fell solely on them. This highlights the importance of frontier ESDs as local services providers. We have an intimate understanding of our service areas because we are a part of the culture/community and thus understand what it takes to maintain equity in our communities.