ANDREW DICK: Legislators consider testimony on funding educational service units
Now five months into my new role as Administrator of ESU 13, I am grasping an even deeper understanding of the organization as a whole as well as how ESU 13 coordinates with the other ESUs across the state. There are 17 educational service units in Nebraska working together through the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council (ESUCC) to ensure that we are efficient and effective in statewide efforts, programs, and initiatives. In addition, ESUCC provides a bridge to connect service units with the Nebraska Department of Education for enhanced collaboration as we aim to provide the highest quality educational system for Nebraska.
On Friday, October 4th, the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee convened a hearing on Legislate Resolution 63. Senator Mike Groene, Chairperson of the Education Committee, presided over the hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to study educational service units, including, but not limited to, the structure, duties, current projects, and financing of educational service units. Prior to the hearing, each member of the Education Committee was hand-delivered copies of 145 letters in support of ESUs. Letters of support were written by board members, superintendents, district administrators, principals, parents whose students have benefited from ESU programs, etc. Those invited to provide testimony at the hearing included the Executive Director of ESUCC, Dr. Kraig Lofquist, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA), Jack Moles, ESU 6 Administrator Dr. John Skretta, Lincoln Public Schools Board Member, Don Mayhew and Administrator, Sarah Salem. It was reported at the hearing that two superintendents were invited to provide testimony in opposition of ESUs, but were unable to do so, due to family emergencies; both superintendents submitted neutral written testimony.
Expanding on the list of “did you know” facts shared in my first column, I am sharing additional facts about ESU 13...
•Employs 180 staff members.
•Serves approximately 1,300 teachers and more than 14,000 students in western Nebraska.
•The ESU board is comprised of 12 members representing the geographic area of our service area and based on the population census.
•For the 2018-2019 school year, the ESUCC Cooperative Purchasing program saved Nebraska school districts $4,852,808; and of that total $319,495 dollars were saved by ESU 13 schools.
•Currently, 25 students (ages 14-21) are being supported by ESU 13 job coaches within Meridian and Lifelink work-based learning experiences. Twenty-four of the experiences exist in integrative community settings, and 13 of those students are engaged in paid employment.
•The Professional Learning team serves on the following state leadership committees: Assessment Accountability Advisory, State Data Cadre, State Literacy Cadre, State Science Cadre, State Math Cadre, Nebraska Leadership and Learning Network, Learning Forward Board, Accreditation Advisory and the NeMTSS Builders group.
•The Professional Learning department partners with the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, Legacy of the Plains, and the Banner County Historical Society with numerous volunteers to offer over 10 student events for area school districts.
•ESU 13 is a founding member of the High Plains Psychology Internship Consortium (HPPIC); a psychology internship program established in 2016 that trains and supervises doctoral level, psychology interns.
If you are wanting to learn more about ESU 13, please visit our website at www.esu13.org.