‘The State Needs To Keep Hearing Us’ -Klamath County School District Board Passes Second Resolution for Local Control

The Klamath County School District Board of Directors will send a second resolution to Gov. Kate Brown urging the state to change COVID-19 requirements to recommendations and allow the district to work directly with Klamath County Public Health to determine the appropriate mitigation strategies for its schools.

The resolution, which is similar to a resolution approved and sent to the state on Aug. 19, reiterates the need for local control to best educate students throughout the geographically and culturally diverse county school district. It will be sent to the governor, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Oregon Health Authority.

KCSD board member Marc Staunton, who represents the south county, brought up the need to continue to push against state mandates.

“I was voted onto the school board by people in the community who expected me to be a voice for them,” he said. “There is a lot of misconception about how much power a school board has, especially during these times. It’s become very difficult to voice our personal beliefs, but if we don’t express our discontent the state mandates will continue.”

Board member Laura Blair agreed.

“To remain quiet is acquiescence,” she said. “The state needs to keep hearing us. We need local control.”

Board members John Rademacher, Steve Lowell and Jill O’Donnell also expressed support, and the board unanimously approved the updated resolution at its Aug. 16 meeting.

After the first resolution was sent to the state, KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak was one of two superintendents invited to a meeting with Oregon Department of Education leaders to talk about local control mitigation strategies. Though that meeting did not result in any immediate action, it is a good sign that the state is discussing the needs of local school districts, Szymoniak said.

Read the full resolution HERE.

Recent updates in the Oregon Department of Education’s Ready Schools Safe Learners Resiliency Framework include requiring the wearing of masks outside and for K-12 teachers and staff to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.

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