Lee Paterson

Lee Paterson

In a perfect world, educators would have unlimited access to the resources they need to maximize student achievement.

In reality, schools must work diligently to prioritize goals and initiatives in such a way as to have the most impact on students in the most efficient manner.

Each year, the budget process is quite the undertaking. Roseburg Public Schools leaders began the task this month with a round-table discussion about budget priorities, what our community expects of their schools, where to focus our efforts and how to best distribute funding for the 2019-20 school year.

Our elementary, middle and high school principals agreed on many common themes: safety and security; student support services; student opportunities; social and emotional learning; the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff; facilities improvements; professional development; absenteeism prevention; additional staff; mental health resources; homelessness and poverty initiatives; drop-out prevention; and many more.

It’s a long list. The common thread in each of these themes is a desire to help students get started in their schooling on the right foot and to help students graduate with a plan for their future. This work requires us to take into consideration every level of education, from pre-K to high school.

We wish that every need our educators identify could receive full funding, but we recognize that we have an important responsibility as a district to make the most of the public dollars we have while doing right by our students.

Prioritizing is made even more challenging by the unknown — the district will be waiting over the next couple of months for the Oregon Legislature to determine funding levels for the next biennium (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021). We are hoping for increased funding and our Board of Directors at its Wednesday meeting passed a resolution calling for a higher level of public school funding in Oregon.

Regardless of decisions made in Salem, we believe that by beginning the planning process now, we will be better positioned to complete an effective budget for the coming school year. Our thinking is guided by our belief that every student should enjoy a sense of belonging at school, exercise some influence over their own educational plans and acquire adequate skills to be enormously successful.

Since returning to Roseburg Public Schools as Superintendent in October, I’ve been impressed with the staff’s strong and professional commitment to student achievement in this modern era.

Today’s schools are called on to prepare our kids for an ever-changing future and the work is challenging.

Our staff is passionate about helping our students succeed. This passion for educating all of our community’s children was on full display at our budget roundtable. We should all be very proud of the seriousness these professionals bring to the school building each day and to the budget process now underway.

The collaborative approach we used in this first roundtable allowed administrators to ensure every voice was heard and included. By coming together for a group conversation, we are focusing on building a sense of community among our schools.

We are in this together, as a district. And we will be seeking input from our community’s parents and partners in the coming weeks in a district-wide survey in which we’ll ask you what you most value and what you expect from your public schools.

This process will inform our School Board, which will also hold a work session on budget priorities in March. It will be used to inform our Budget Committee — comprised of seven board members and seven community members who will begin their work on April 10.

In the end, we will work to ensure that all of our priorities are supported in one way or another, perhaps not in full, but in a way that maximizes our resources and best serves our students.

Lee Paterson is the current superintendent of Roseburg Public Schools and previously served in this position from 2002 to 2008.

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(2) comments


I have children in the Roseburg School District and they have UHA (OHP) for insurance. I have tried to find my children quality counseling, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. I was told that Compass Behavioral Health was supposed to have therapist in the Roseburg School District at each school, but it’s February now and still no therapist has shown their face at my child’s elementary school. As a OHP member attached to the CCO called UHA it is becoming very discouraging that I am being told who my children are allowed to see when they need help. My children went to Compass for a few times because I could only get appointments that was during school hours and my work hours. How can we help make a decision where our tax dollars go when it comes to school decisions since the Roseburg School District made a terrible contract with Compass who can’t fulfill their contract. It’s nice to hear that there is a counseling place (Roseburg Therapy) that has multiple counselors at the Winston and Glide school. Maybe next year Roseburg School District will take a good look at Roseburg Therapy for the contract. Our schools in Roseburg need reliable counselors inside each of our schools because there are children suffering that can’t get help due to an unfulfilled contract and no counselor in their school.
If anyone from the Roseburg School Board is reading this, please think about your child inside this school district or if your child went to these schools, what would be accurate mental health care inside these schools and how would you feel if your child needed help and there is no counselor in your child’s school even though there is a contract to have a counselor there. Our schools are falling apart and counseling would be a huge step up for all children but you first need to contract with a company that can fulfill a contract and make sure a counselor is at every school.


If Roseburg School District Board would like to put more funds towards their schools and students, then they should reconsider their contract with Adapt/Compass to provide mental health services. It is my understanding that the School District could be paying as little as 40k or in excess of 70k for mental health services from Adapt/Compass for the 2018/2019 year. It is also my understanding that they have not put a therapist in every school and offered a licensed therapist in every school. It is also important for the tax payers to know that the Roseburg School District was offered a contract that would fulfill all of this for FREE by Roseburg Therapy. Insurance Reimbursements would be used as compensation and are sufficient. Roseburg Therapy has partnered with another practice leading to Medicaid/OHP/UHA being reimbursable. I know they are hiring a nurse practitioner and possibly a psychologist who will be going into schools to manage medications and provide psychological testing as needed. The offer still stands Roseburg School District Budget Committee, tax payers and community members. Douglas high school has two licensed therapist, two post-master’s interns. Glide High School, middle school and elementary has a licensed therapist and two interns. McGovern Elementary has a licensed therapist and two interns. All of Glide School District and Winston School District has a therapist available to be onsite as well as access to a licensed therapist. Soon they will have access to medication management through a nurse practitioner onsite. For the amount of money they could save they could hire another teacher and get better comprehensive mental health services to their students.

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