Lake County Education Service District (ESD) Supt. Bob Nash recently updated the county commissioners on the organization’s funding and services.
Among the services provided by the ESD include direct special education implementation for all five of the county’s school districts, along with school psychologist and speech services, Nash said.
Technology and financial services, along with administrative support, also fall within the ESD’s jurisdiction. As an example, Nash noted that the ESD is contracting with North Lake School to provide business manager services.
The Lake County ESD splits speech services for North Lake School with High Desert ESD of Burns due to reasons of location and strategic principles, Nash said, but Lake County’s ESD tries to provide direct services whenever possible.
Nash said that ESDs are particularly important to small, rural counties, as they provide services that local school districts can’t afford to provide for themselves.
Nash also said that it is only in the largest areas of the state that school districts are opting out of ESD services.
“Obviously in counties like Lake and counties with small districts, ESDs are vital,” he said.
Starting in 2003/04, the state passed a flat funding for ESDs of $1 million, which was fully implemented by 2006/07. At present, this funding includes revenue received as a result of the Ruby Pipeline natural gas pipeline construction project of recent years.
As a result, every dollar received by the Ruby Pipeline revenue stream counts against funding received from the state, meaning every dollar from Ruby is a dollar the state does not provide.
Commissioner Ken Kestner noted that future depreciation of the pipeline will hopefully result in the state compensating in kind with its funding.
Nash noted that special education services have remained relatively stable as far as demand, despite a reduction in overall student numbers across a 10-year period.
Nash noted that improved identification of students with such needs has made a marked impact assuring these students’ needs are met.
Commissioner Dan Shoun asked Nash on his thoughts on the state’s new emphasis toward early learning services. Nash said he felt that this emphasis will make a big difference in terms of ensuring students are ready to learn when they start school.
Nash also said he sees the transition toward early learning services as an opportunity for the ESD to assume a proactive leadership role in terms of getting Head Start and other early learning entities on the same page.