An educational contract between the Phoenix School of Roseburg and Douglas County Juvenile Department will be canceled, according to a letter received by Douglas County commissioners on Oct. 21.
The school had a contract to educate the juvenile department’s foster youth through its BrightWorks Academy. By law, and through its contract with the Oregon Department of Human Services, the juvenile department is required to provide education for children in its care.
“Over the next little bit here, we’re going to have to make decisions around getting a new provider or other decisions that we may have to make in the juvenile department,” Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman said at the Oct. 23 meeting.
Freeman said he couldn’t comment Tuesday about current negotiations with education providers but hoped to have answers by the end of the week. He said that the educational contract was not canceled by the Douglas County Juvenile Department.
Freeman also plans to update the board of commissioners during its Monday meeting.
BrightWorks Academy was started in October 2018 as an after school program in conjunction with the Douglas County Juvenile Department and employs staff from both Phoenix and the juvenile department. The program is taught in the evenings at Phoenix Charter School on Northeast Diamond Lake Boulevard.
Phoenix Executive Director Thomas McGregor said the school was still offering classes through its BrightWorks Academy this week, but would not say when or if the program was canceled.
“There’s things that are happening with the program at this time and I’m not able to comment at what is going on,” McGregor said. “We have amended our contract at this time. We’re working with Roseburg Public Schools and all the partners involved to figure out what are the next steps.”
Phoenix is a nonprofit organization with three major divisions in programming: the charter high school, the Oregon Youth Corps program, and private alternative education programs.
BrightWorks Academy is one of two private alternative education programs that are determined to be private by the Oregon Department of Education because they are not open to public enrollment. The other private alternative program is Deer Creek, which is available for students in need of drug treatment.
“We’ve been working on creating some exciting programming with some of our teachers to have students explore stuff in culinary, in our makerspace and in our garden,” McGregor said about BrightWorks Academy.
Students from BrightWorks Academy are foster care youth in need of housing, who are housed at Fowler House, River Rock or Rising Light. Fowler House holds up to 16 boys, River Rock holds between 12 and 14 youth of any gender, and Rising Light can have up to six female residents.