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Board Approves Shaping 4J Recommendations

The Eugene School Board approved a dozen “Shaping 4J’s Future” recommendations from Superintendent George Russell at its March 19 meeting. The approved options include proposals to plan a merger of Harris and Eastside elementaries; keeping Coburg and Meadowlark schools open; putting more staff in higher-need schools; and looking further at providing transportation for families who don’t attend their neighborhood schools.

District-Wide Strategies

Recommendation 1: Differentiated staffing allocation: APPROVED 7-0
Implement a differentiated staffing ratio based on the percentage of free-and-reduced lunch students, English Language Learners, and special education students (excluding students receiving only speech and language services). Schools serving higher percentages of these students would receive more staffing than other schools.

Recommendation 2: Limit transfers for middle and high schools: APPROVED 7-0

Each middle school could accept up to 5% of the middle school students residing within the boundaries of another region. No middle school could accept transfers that would result in a student enrollment that exceeds the middle school size maximum enrollment target of 600 students. Each high school could accept up to 7.5% of the high school students residing within the boundaries of another region. No high school could accept transfers that would result in a student enrollment that exceeds the high school size maximum of 1500 students. IHS transfer students would be included in the 7.5% maximum; IHS transfer enrollment would be pro-rated to reflect the ratio of IHS students to regular program students in the receiving school.

Recommendation 3: Boundaries: APPROVED 7-0
Staff review of existing school boundaries in 2008-09 and make any suggested revisions by February 2009 for 2009-10. Key considerations when redrawing boundary lines should include:

  • Keep bus route no more than 45 minutes, one way.
  • Current attendance area islands and optional areas should be reduced whenever possible and new ones not be created.
  • Avoid creating schools with high concentrations of low income families.
  • Keep geographically and historically defined neighborhoods together.
  • Consider the proximity of students to school when redrawing boundary lines, closing or consolidating schools.
  • Minimize impact to current students and families, particularly those directly impacted by recent school closure and boundary change decisions.
  • Consider ways to “grandfather” current students attending schools affected.

Recommendation 4: Transportation: APPROVED 7-0
Study the possibility of adding transportation to all elementary schools within each region, including the possibility of adding transportation to alternative schools within the region only, or to neighborhood school transfers from within the region only, and consider developing a pilot project to test a new approach. There may be some additional transportation costs related to any boundary adjustments and possible school consolidations.

North Region

Recommendation 5: Howard and River Road: APPROVED 7-0
Maintain existing schools and locations.

Churchill Region

Recommendation 6: Adams program alteration: APPROVED 7-0
Explore program alteration options at Adams, which might include a dual language immersion with cluster services for English Language Learners or a Chinese Immersion school and implement new program beginning in 2009-10.

Recommendation 7: Family School: APPROVED 7-0

Move the Family School grades 1-5 to share the facility with the Arts and Technology Academy at the Jefferson building. Postpone a decision to move grades 6-8 from Spencer Butte to the Jefferson building until after a review of middle school alternative programs in 2008-09. This review will carry out the board’s policy of regularly reviewing alternative schools and programs to ensure that alternative schools continue to meet board and district goals and perform consistent with board policy and expectations. By June 2008, the superintendent will develop a process and specify the criteria for the middle school alternative school review.

South Region

Recommendation 8: Harris and Eastside: APPROVED 5-2
Relocate Eastside Alternative School from Parker into the Harris building for the 2008-09 school year. During 2008-09, direct and support Harris and Eastside to develop a school consolidation plan for consideration by the board no later than February 1, 2009. Establish the following guiding conditions for consolidation:

  • School will be one school with one administrative structure and instructional program/model;
  • School will have one budget, one site council; and
  • Enrollment priority will be given to students from within the Harris neighborhood boundary, then South Region boundary and then all other students.
  • Both school communities commit to engage in this conversation with equal voice and to work in good faith toward a potential collaboration, recognizing that the stakes are equally high for both schools.

If the board approves a Harris and Eastside consolidation proposal, then strategies to manage enrollment among elementary schools in the South Eugene and the Churchill region should be implemented in order to ensure that all schools have sufficient resources to offer strong programs and to address a diversity of student needs. These strategies might include setting a cap on each school’s enrollment based on building or program capacity and the need to balance student populations, a limit on transfers into a school, and/or boundary adjustments.

Recommendation 9: Charlemagne French Immersion: APPROVED 7-0

Close the Fox Hollow building and move the French Immersion School for 2010-11 or after. Consider potential sites that are more centrally located to provide greater access to a demographically diverse student base, such as Willard, Bailey Hill, Roosevelt, or other potentially vacant schools, or to Harris for 2009-10 if the proposed consolidation with Eastside fails. The move to Roosevelt would create a K-8 French Immersion program. Ensure adequate space to place regional learning center or other special education services at Charlemagne.

Recommendation 10: Willard Building: APPROVED 7-0
End lease of the Willard building to charter schools after June 2010. Decommission building for possible sale, new school construction, or possible remodel, if relocating French Immersion to the site.

Sheldon Region

Recommendation 11: Coburg: APPROVED 7-0
Postpone decision on closing Coburg until February 2009. Direct district staff to work with City of Coburg to develop an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) whereby the city offsets additional costs associated with continuing to operate Coburg Elementary School as a small neighborhood (community) school.

Recommendation 12: Meadowlark and Buena Vista: APPROVED 7-0
Retain Meadowlark at current site as a small neighborhood school and move Buena Vista Spanish Immersion program and students to another site in the Sheldon region by 2012-13. Meadowlark would then become a K-5 stand-alone school at the Meadowlark site. Consider redrawing Meadowlark boundaries to balance neighborhood school enrollment in the Sheldon Region. Buena Vista could add kindergarten after moving to new site. Locate regional learning center or other special education services at new site with Buena Vista.

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