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County supervisors approve new ECRD agreement

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved to increase their contribution to the Early Childhood and Reading Development commission to allow for another full-time staff member during its May 20 meeting. 

The county approved an increase of $5,000 with a unanimous vote. 

Formed in 2017, the ECRD is a partnership between Oxford and Lafayette County School Districts, the City of Oxford and Lafayette County. The purpose of the development is to impact the reading success of children in Lafayette County by giving assistance and continuing education to local daycare center. 

Each entity in the agreement pays $25,000 to help keep the program going. During the meeting, ECRD director Tamara Hillmer spoke to the supervisor’s and presented an inter-local agreement, which must be approved by all parties annually. The new agreement included an addition of a second full-time staff member. Hillmer is currently the only person on staff with the ECRD. 

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities for children at these sites, we want to continue working with the many other early childhood sites and families in the LOU community,” Hillmer said. 

By approving the $5,000 increase, the county will contribute $30,000 this year. Oxford’s School Board of Trustees already approved the new contract with the increased amount. The Oxford Board of Aldermen and Lafayette County School Board will discuss the new agreement during their meetings next month. 

The ECRD also received $91,000 from Lafayette County residents, who donated state taxes to the L.O.U. Early Learning Collaborative. Through the Early Learning Collaborative act, people are eligible to donate their state taxes towards the collaborative and have it count as a tax credit. Money from the collaborative will also help fund the new staff member’s salary.