Corvallis Parent: College Students Get New Childcare Subsidy, Grants for Local Nonprofits Available, Oregon’s New Kid Governor, Public Schools News, Majestic Cheer 

Oregon’s child care subsidies expanded on Jan.1 to include non-working students, and in many instances, other workers that were not covered in the past.  

With the expansion, students in college, high school and GED programs can benefit, without any work requirement, and the program additionally covers study time. Also, according to the state, many families  already receiving benefits will start to qualify for more child care hours due to a change in the way part-time and full-time coverage is calculated. 

The program is administered through Oregon’s Department of Human Services (ODHS), and is still called the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, though it no longer has an employment requirement, and also covers workers employed at night. 

“For many families the cost of child care can be a barrier to meeting their educational goals and entering and staying in the workforce,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “By expanding access to the ERDC program, Oregon is significantly enhancing the support it provides to families to strengthen their well-being.”  

Benefits can range from covering costs partially to completely, depending on a family’s particular circumstances. Click here for information from the state. 

Majestic Youth Cheer: Your favorite local community theatre offers youth classes, and depending on the age of your kiddo, Youth Cheer starts on either Jan. 12 or Jan. 13. And, yes we know that’s short notice, which is totally our fault, and we apologize. But, hustle on down there today, because most kids that have tried these classes, really love the experience. 

Anyhow, classes breakout by age groups, 5 to 7, 8 to 11 and 12 to 15. They’re 10 weeks each, the cost is $200, or $250 if you’re family lives outside the city. Click here for more information. 

Community Grants: If you, or someone you know, is running a program for area kids and families, the Benton Community Foundation, or BCF, wants you to know they have available grant money. 

More than $145,000 will be available through BCF’s annual community grant cycle in 2023. Applications are due March 15 at 5 pm. Nonprofits can request funding between $1,000-$10,000. If you have questions, contact Brittany Kennedy, their director of grants and programs, at: or 541-753-1603. You can also click here for more information.  

State Gender Identity Advice for Schools: Earlier this month, Oregon’s Department of Education issued new guidance for schools supporting gender expansive students, which then prompted MacKensey Pulliam, the president of the Oregon Moms Union, a parents’ rights group, to tell reporters, “I think these kids are in a crisis. I think we’re looking at a lost generation as a result of COVID school shutdowns. And we have got to prioritize academics really over everything else.”  

Separately, Fox News has widely reported on one portion of the guidance that states, “Students who are not publicly asserting their authentic gender identity may have privacy concerns about students, school staff, community members, or their families finding out before they are ready to share their identity more widely. Parent and family support is the goal when supporting gender expansive students, but may not be possible in all situations.” The guidance, which is not legally binding, also states, “To the extent possible, schools should refrain from revealing information about a student’s gender identity, even to parents, caregivers, or other school administrators, without permission from the student.” 

The full 48-page guidance concentrates on student educational support and safety, and offers frameworks to deal with bullying and discrimination,” at one point, stating, “Each decision should be made on a case by case basis specific to the safety of a student.” 

Click here for the whole Supporting Gender Expansive guidance document from ODE. 

Education Moves: Melissa Goff’s appointment  as an education advisor by Gov. Tina Kotek has been big news around our fair little burgh. Goff served as a schools superintendant in Albany, but was dismissed amid tumult with the School Board and a regional newspaper. Her termination ultimately came when new members were elected to the board that objected to both mask mandates and Goff’s equity work. 

Prior to serving in Albany, Goff also served as Philomath’s school super. Most recently, she has worked on updating strategic plans and diversity and equity initiatives for the Oregon School Boards Association.  

Also, Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill, age 56, announced last week that he will retire later this year. Kotek said a nationwide search will be initiated to replace him. In a release from Gill, he states that he and Kotek are well aligned with one another, and that it seems like a good time to retire. 

Kotek also announced the addition of Pooja Bhatt, a consultant and former education policy adviser for Gov. Kate Brown, who will serve as education initiative director for a newly created policy initiatives team. 

Oregon’s Kid Govenor: Oregon Kid Governor Lea Andrus was sworn in Wednesday, January 11, at a ceremony in the State Capitol hosted by Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. Lea is a fifth grader at Hawks View Elementary in Sherwood Oregon. Her platform is promoting kindness and ending bullying. Her campaign video can be viewed here.

Lea was joined today by her six cabinet members from across the state, previous Oregon Kid Governors, and Paul De Muniz, former chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, who delivered the oath of office. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan hosted the ceremony and delivered remarks congratulating Lea. Secretary Fagan’s remarks also celebrated civics education and public engagement.  

“I am so inspired by Lea and her cabinet members. They’re all incredibly thoughtful and really care about making things better,” Secretary Fagan said. “Each of them is already using their voice to engage their communities and our state. I am thrilled for Lea and for Oregon as she begins her year as Oregon’s 2023 Kid Governor. I can’t wait to see what these fifth graders accomplish.” 

Lea Andrus was elected Kid Governor by her peers across Oregon in November. Over 3,300 students participated in the Oregon Kid Governor. Lea is joined by an impressive cabinet including:   

Amelia—Community issue: Reduce, reuse, recycle, Tigard, Oregon, Scholls Height Elementary
Avah—Community issue: Racism, Beaverton, Oregon, Indian Hills Elementary
Clyde—Community issue: Healthier schools, La Grande, Oregon, Central Elementary
Elle—Community issue: Pollution, Portland, Oregon, Bonny Slope Elementary
Indulekha—Community issue: Healthcare, Eugene, Oregon, Adams Elementary
Kate—Community issue: Pollution, Keizer, Oregon, Optimum Learning Environments Charter

Kid Governor was started by the Connecticut Democracy Center in 2015 as a way of introducing Civics Education to fifth graders. It is in its sixth year in Oregon. The program is administered by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.  

Watch a replay of Lea’s virtual inauguration here: Learn more about Lea and her platform, as well as the cabinet who will be serving with her in the year ahead, here:    

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