Corvallis Parent: Public School Board Listening Sessions, New Oregon Family Leave Act, Family Law Budget Relief, Drive-Thru Christmas Light Happiness 

What should our public schools be prioritizing the next five years? The District has scheduled some listening sessions to assess that very thing, and there’s food and free childcare if you’re interested. 

The School Board has already held some public sessions, but according to a statement from the district, they feel the need for more clarity, “In April, the Corvallis School Board surveyed staff, families, and community members for their input in drafting the 2023-2028 board goals. The board is now hosting community engagement sessions to get more detailed information and ensure that all voices are heard.” 

The district is asking, not requiring, that participants RSVP, because they’re looking to plan on food. For more information, or for language assistance, click here 

Here’s the schedule: 

  • Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 12:30 pm, District Office, 1555 SW 35th St. 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 pm, Kathryn Jones Harrison Elementary, 1825 NW 27th St. 

Paid Family Leave for Oregonians: Back in 2019, our state legislature passed the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, the ninth state nationwide to do, and come next September, workers in Oregon will be able to apply for benefits. 

To fund that September startup, paycheck deductions will start on Jan. 1, 2023. If you make minimum wage, you’ll pay $168.48 yearly, but if you need leave, you’ll get a weekly check covering 100% of your wages. If you’re making the state’s annual median income of $67,058, you’ll pay $402.35 yearly, and you’ll receive just over 80% of your usual income while on leave. Workers are paying 60%, and employers with over 25 workers pay 40%. 

Good for up to 12 weeks of leave, the new law isn’t just for new parents, it can also help workers caring for themselves or other family members. It’s worth a visit to the state’s Paid Leave Oregon site to see the eligibility list; it is more generous than one might suspect. 

Family Law Cost Relief: For families facing transitions like separation or divorce, expenses can quickly mount – and adding to that are legal expenses that often have lasting consequences. So, the Oregon State Bar is preparing to permit legal paraprofessionals to help with these cases in ways they currently cannot. 

Think like a nurse practitioner in the medical field – able to help plenty of folks, even if they can’t do everything a doctor can. In this instance, legal paraprofessionals will be permitted to prepare paperwork and even negotiate for family law clients. The only thing they won’t be able to do is appear in court to argue for their client, which would still require a lawyer. 

The change is set for July of next year. 

Drive-thru Christmas Light Display: If you’ve lived here a while, think of this as a reminder, and if you’re new to town, you’re going to absolutely love this Corvallis holiday tradition that hails back to 1981. 

The Pastega Christmas Display started earlier this week, and it runs until Dec. 31. It’s a magical set of 250 mechanized displays and scenes festooned in Christmas lights. Admission is free, though canned food donations are encouraged. 

Open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily at the Benton County Fairgrounds. Enter the light show through the Reservoir Avenue entrance.  

It’s also worth mentioning that the Pastega Christmas Light Display happens every year because community volunteers donate thousands of hours of work to deck the fairgrounds out in holiday lights and displays, and that has been ongoing for over 40 years – and that just makes us feel all kinds of holiday cheer. 

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