4J School Choice Events

4J School District Office

EUGENE, Ore.– It’s that time of year again for parents to decide where their children will attend school next year. The 4J School District will hold a series of events at the 4J Education Center to help parents explore their options. It’s a great way for families to see what different schools have to offer, so they can make informed decisions if they do decide to enroll their children in a school that is not in their district.

Many parents like that they can choose where to enroll their children. 4J parent Laura Lee says she plans to enroll her daughter at Buena Vista Elementary school so she can go through the Spanish Immersion Program.

“I believe she would go to Willagillespie . We don’t have to pick that school. We can go ahead and choose different schools. We do have that opportunity and those choices and you get to see what your child is good at and what school offers that program and if he or she needs extra help or what not,” said Laura Lee.

Parents may choose their child’s school provided there is space available. Requests are accepted in an order determined by lottery. You can find a link to a schedule of events under Newslinks.

4J Seeks Appraisal Following Y Bid

roosevelt middle schoolEUGENE, Ore. — The 4J School District calls for an appraisal following a bid from the YMCA to buy a piece of the school district’s property.

The YMCA’s looking to lock in a new home at the location where the Roosevelt Middle School sits. The district will soon replace the aging building next next to the current middle school and is looking to sell, lease or trade the land.

The YMCA bid $1.5 million for the property. The district estimated the land could be worth as much as $4.5 million. At a Wednesday meeting, the district approved a summary appraisal for the piece of property.

4J School board member Anne Marie Levis says this is just about making sure all of their numbers are accurate.

“We love the Y and want to work with them, but we have to be responsible stewards,” said Levis.

To see the Y’s offer, click here.

4J Superintendent to Step Down

6-25 Dr. BermanEUGENE, Ore. — The 4J School District will soon have to search for a new superintendent.

DR. Sheldon Berman delivered a letter to the school board Wednesday night requesting that he be let out of his contract a year early.

The board unanimously accepted his request. Next year, the 2014-2015 school year, will be his last.

He cited family circumstances as a reason to be let out early.

4J Discusses Land Sale

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EUGENE, Ore. — As 4J prepares to rebuild part of its aging infrastructure — in the process — it may make way for a new Eugene family YMCA.

The district’s debating whether to sell part of the land where the current Roosevelt Middle School sits — to the YMCA.

It seems there’s an understanding of what steps the board must take in order to come to a decision by June.

At their meeting Wednesday night — there was only one question from the board on the topic of the sale.

That came from board member Anne Marie Levis, wondering how the purchase price will be determined, which depends a lot on on what the YMCA would offer.

Talks about the YMCA purchasing the 6-acre plot of land have been going on for some time.

The district will replace 4J middle school by the fall of 2016 and then they’ll tear down the old building, leaving a piece of the property open for a possible new YMCA.

The YMCA’s Executive Director says they’ve received encouraging signs.

“We’re out in the community a lot, people who aren’t members and they really see this as a great value a great experience and great opportunity for collaboration between a public organization and a private not for profit,” said YMCA Executive Director, Dave Perez.

The school board must review proposed findings — which include how the YMCA would benefit families and students.

School board members will hold a public hearing May 21st for community input and plan to make a decision on the sale on June 4th.

4J to Discuss Potential Property Sale

roosevelt middle schoolEUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene School Board will discuss selling up to seven acres of the Roosevelt Middle School property to the Eugene Family YMCA for the construction of new YMCA recreation facility.

4J is planning to replace Roosevelt Middle School by constructing a new school west of the current building. Once the older building is removed, 4J could convert the area to soccer fields or offer up to 7 acres to the YMCA.

4J will discuss the potential property sale at its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. The school board will also get an update on the design for a new school building. A public hearing will take place on May 21 at 200 N. Monroe St.

The board is tentatively scheduled to make a decision on the property by June 4. The terms of any sale would then be negotiated and eventually approved by the board at a later date.

Under district policy, the board could choose to sell the property to the YMCA if the board determines that there would be a significant benefit to students and the community.

4J District Removes Osprey Nest

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EUGENE, Ore. — Eighty five feet about the track at Madison Middle School two osprey decided to build a nest. “If they decided a location is good for their nest they will just be very determined. They will be persistent and try over and over and over again,” said Louise Shimmel, Executive Director of the Cascade Raptor Center.

But the 4J School District said the location of this nest was dangerous, so it took it down. “I mean if you drop a stick from 885 feet if it comes down end first, you know it could potentially impale someone or cut them at the very least. So it’s just not a really good idea to allow a nest above a heavily used area,” said Harlan Coats, 4J Facilities Manager.

Federal law protects osprey eggs and young birds, but doesn’t protect the nest of two mature osprey like the ones at Madison Middle School. “But if we let them get an established nest and lay an egg then we can’t do anything and the problem with that is of course that the safety issue as well as potential fire hazards,” said Coats.

But the Raptor Center said regardless of legalities, the nest should stay. “I think it’s an ethical consideration because this particular pair has apparently tried to nest there the last couple of years and if they even give up after 2 or 3 attempts it’s probably too late in the season for them to nest successfully and for the young to be old enough to migrate,” said Shimmel.

So as the track is littered with broken limbs and twigs from the nest that once sat high above the track, the district and birding experts are trying to figure out what to do if the birds try to rebuild. “There’s community interest in this and people would love to be able to see the nest happen,” said Shimmel.

The district said it could build a pole for the osprey to build a new nest on if they do come back, but it’d cost around $4,500.

4J Superintendent Presents Budget

3-6 4jEUGENE, Ore. — Budget season is here and 4J is in talks about how their next school year could look. The budget was released Thursday, but the real discussion begins Monday night.

Though the district is seeing more than an $11 million increase in its revenue, there’s still a $3.62 million gap that needs to be filled. Not everyone is happy with the solution the district is considering.

“When I came here I inherited a $20 million deficit. Two years ago we had an $11 million deficit. We’re going into this year with only a $3.62 million deficit,” said Dr. Sheldon Berman, 4J Superintendent.

The district insists despite the gap, this is progress. Though there’s an $11.1 million increase in revenue, it’s not enough.

“The additional resources sort of misstate things. For example, some of that money is a transfer of funds from our Lane ESD district so it doesn’t really represent additional dollars rather the transition of programs,” Dr. Berman said.

That alone is about $4 million of that revenue. Another $4.4 million comes from the desire to have zero furlough days.

“There are a lot of factors that go into eating that additional revenue,” Dr. Berman said.

4J says as of yet, closing the gap would mean cutting 26 teaching positions, something teachers aren’t sure is the only solution.

“We’re interested in going through all 385 pages of budget to see how this could possibly be the case because we don’t think that it is,” said Tad Shannon, EEA President.

That has them wondering if the district is going in the right direction.

“That would account for based on our estimates roughly 70 percent of the supposed deficit and we don’t understand why if the goal is to reduce class why start with cutting teachers,” Shannon said.

This is a preliminary budget and can change depending on a number of factors including pending negotiations with district employees.

After Monday night’s, there will be a series of public meetings before the 4J School Board is expected to adopt a final budget on June 18.

4J Shows off New School Design

4-8 howard elementaryEUGENE, Ore. — The 4J School District rolled out its plans for the new Howard Elementary School. The design came with some criticism from parents.

Architects stood before parents and community members Tuesday night explaining the design progress.

The new building will serve 600 students, about twice as many as it does now. Technology in the classrooms will be updated and kids will enjoy a new library.

While parents appreciate the updated technology, some are concerned, specifically about the large windows planned for the front of the building.

“You get young kids who are easily distracted and they look outside,” said Michael Fitch. “With regular windows you’re going to have that. With floor to ceiling windows, that’s a lot of viewing area.”

Other parents say their kids were just ready to the building up and finished.

“My younger child is pretty excited because he gets to be on the second floor when it opens up,” said Suzanna Fitch.

Contruction’s expected to start later this fall, with the building ready to use by late-summer of 2015.

Tree Topples Near Elementary School

Down tree on Silver LaneEUGENE, Ore. — It was a chorus of chainsaws on Silver Lane Thursday night, right in front of the Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School.

A big tree came crashing down and blocked the road.

Because there was another tree that looked like it could also come down, EWEB called in a tree trimming company to cut it down. It was a preventative measure intended to keep nearby power lines from being taken down.

Those who live in the area say the trees had been leaning, but they’re still sad to see them go.

“They’re like losing a good friend,” said Eugene resident Deb Elder. “I’m sure the kids in the neighborhood are going to be sad.”

EWEB says a water main broke as well. There’s no exact determination about what went first, the tree or the main.

On the Move? YMCA Considers 4J Property

3-14 ymcaEUGENE, Ore. — No Civic Stadium, no problem. The Eugene Family YMCA is moving forward on another 4J property as it continues its search for a new home.

The YMCA is working to acquire the land where the Roosevelt Middle School currently sits. The 4J School District will eventually replace the school and could move part of the property.

The 4J Superintendent is expected to recommend to sell, trade or lease that land to the YMCA.

This could be a lengthy process, so YMCA directors are hoping this land acquisition moves quickly, so they can start fundraising.

“Unfortunately what’s happening right now is because we have such an old facility, a lot of our resources are being pulled into the direction of maintaining an old facility rather than being invested in our mission and cause,” said Julie Grossman, YMCA Assoc. Exec. Dir. “We need to stopgap that and make sure that doesn’t continue on.”

The 4J School Board has to sign off on any plans. A final agreement may not be ready until June.

4J will roll out plans for the new Roosevelt during an April meeting. Some of those plans will include a footprint for a new YMCA.

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