Lafayette Leaders Renew Early Childhood Partnership Agreement

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Early Childhood and Reading Development Director Tamara Hillmer teaches parents during the November Parent Academy. Photo provided.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved upping its contribution to the Early Childhood and Reading Development Partnership by $5,000 to pay for another full-time staff member.

On Monday, ECRD Director Tamara Hillmer presented the annual interlocal agreement to the supervisors for approval.

Currently, Hillmer is the only staff member for the program.

The LOU Early Childhood and Reading Development Partnership was formed in 2017 as a partnership between Oxford School District, Lafayette County School District, and the city of Oxford and Lafayette County to impact the reading success of all children in Lafayette County by providing assistance and continuing education opportunities to local daycare centers and parents.

All four partners pay $25,000 to fund the program. On Monday, Hillmer asked the supervisors to up their annual contribution to $30,000, with the additional $5,000 going toward the salary for a new School Readiness Coordinator. The OSD has already approved the new contract with the increase. The Oxford Board of Aldermen and the Lafayette County School District will consider the agreement at their June board meetings.

In December, the program received an Early Learning Collaborative Grant which Hillmer said greatly increased her responsibilities. The grant provided four additional preschool classrooms – two classes at Mary Kathy Head Start and two at Willie Price Lab School. Funds are also used to help improve and enhance current programs at Bramlett Elementary and Lafayette Lower Elementary.

“While 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.

ECRD received about $91,000 this year for citizens who donated their state taxes to the L.O.U Early Learning Collaborative through the Early Learning Collaborative Act. Hillmer said a portion of those funds will go toward the salary of the position as well.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the interlocal agreement with the $5,000 increase of the county’s annual contribution.



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