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LCSD7 updates include advance diploma program

Lake County School District No. 7 Supt. Sean Gallagher recently updated Lake County’s Board of Commissioners on several topics related to the local schools.

Gallagher clarified an advanced diploma program currently in development as a pilot project with Klamath schools. The program’s intent is to afford students a fifth year to earn one year of college under their belt for free on the LHS campus.

The program is not, Gallagher said, merely a fifth year to complete one’s high school diploma.

The flip side to this proposed pilot program is a potential impact to the school’s graduation rate, depending on the numbers of students that would elect to participate.

In order to participate in this fifth-year program, the school would withhold a student’s diploma, which would be up to the student and their parents when they would receive it.

“The board of directors have not approved this, yet,” he said. “We’re still looking down the road (at it).”

The Innovation Learning Center’s grand opening is tentatively scheduled for early May, Gallagher said, featuring Oregon’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Nancy Golden, as a keynote speaker.

Gallagher also updated on the geothermal system’s continued operations.

A chart detailed the costs of the system’s operations on a dollar-per-million-British Thermal Unit over the 40-year term of the USDA loan that financed its construction.

The cost over that term will be $5 per 1 million BTUs, versus a cost of $25 per 1 million BTUS for heating oil, $24.60 per 1 million BTUS for propane and $24.90 per 1 million BTUs for electrically-based heating.

Gallagher also said the district is looking to change out its diesel boilers to propane or possibly natural gas, in light of concerns of eventual leaks from the underground diesel tanks, which could incur DEQ-related costs to the district.

This would serve as a backup system to the primary geothermally-based heating source.

On a related topic, the district is also interested in potential natural gas-operated buses for local runs, with diesel rigs continued for longer-distance travel, Gallagher said.

Commissioner Dan Shoun noted that Commissioner Brad Winters is currently leading discussions with area industry for potential natural gas utilization.  The county is seeking adequate infrastructure for a variety of future needs, he said.

“We want to capture where it can be utilized in other ways,” Shoun said.

Gallagher noted that the district is currently in a second year of a pilot full-day kindergarten program at Union School.  The district is considering a full-day kindergarten program for all of its schools

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