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District Receives Award for Transparent Financial Reporting

Eugene School District 4J has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting  by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the year ended June 30, 2017.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

The district’s CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the annual financial report. 

This is the 31st consecutive year that Eugene School District 4J has received this prestigious award.

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You’re Invited! Final Bond Forum and Survey

Board seeks public input before final decisions 

Forum  |  Survey

Eugene School District 4J’s school board is considering referring a bond measure to voters on the November 2018 ballot to replace and improve aging school buildings and learning materials.

Community members are invited to a final bond community forum on August 1 to discuss the potential bond measure and share their views with school board members and district staff, before the board takes action on August 15. An online input form also will be available for community members to provide comments August 1–7.

Bond Community Forum
Wednesday, August 1, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
4J Education Center
200 N. Monroe St., Eugene

Online Input Form 
August 1–7
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/4Jbondsurvey3 

The potential bond measure has been planned for several years and examined in-depth for 18 months in a thorough, thoughtful, community-engaged process, including a series of community forums and surveys.

More than $1 Billion in capital needs have been identified in the district, including facility repairs and improvements, capacity to address overcrowding, security and safety, technology, and more. Community input has helped inform the potential project list for a bond measure that would address some, but not all, of the identified capital needs.

Capital improvements under consideration for the potential bond measure include:

Replace three aging schools—new buildings for North Eugene High School, Edison Elementary School, Camas Ridge Elementary School
Address overcrowding and projected growth in the Sheldon region with a new elementary school or other means to increase capacity
Renovate facilities for program relocations, including Yujin Gakuen, Corridor, ECCO, the NATIVES program, and Chinese immersion
Improve school safety and security including entry security and some seismic upgrades
Improve facility equity and access
Support career technical education
Replace aging school buses
Adopt curriculum
Modernize technology
Provide critical maintenance, repairs and improvements.

After the final community forum, the board will further discuss the potential bond measure on August 1 and 8, leading to a final decision on August 15.

 

More about potential improvements 

More about the potential bond measure  

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2018–19 School Supply Lists

Back-to-school sales will begin soon, long before classes do. Check your school’s supply list online before you start your back-to-school shopping.

Some schools provide a list of required supplies for each grade, while other schools buy the needed materials in bulk and ask families to pay a supplies fee.

Find your school’s name below for a link to your student’s supply list for 2018–19. If you have any questions about your school’s list, please check with the school.

  • Elementary school offices reopen with limited hours on August 16 and 17. (Contact your school for open hours.) Regular hours resume August 20, except closed on August 21 for all staff training.
  • Middle school offices reopen on August 15.

Donations are greatly appreciated! If you would like to donate extra supplies or funds to buy supplies for students whose families are unable to pay for them, please contact the school office or an organization that collects donations for families in need. Thank you for your generosity.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

  
MIDDLE SCHOOLS

  
HIGH SCHOOLS

Because high school
students’ course
schedules and needs
can vary so widely,
high schools do not
generally have preset
school supply lists
for all students.
For guidance on what
supplies your student
likely will need,
call the school office.

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Tentative Agreement Reached on Classified Contract

4-year contract agreement must be ratified by union members and approved by school board 

Members of the bargaining teams of Eugene School District 4J and the Oregon School Employees Association have reached a tentative agreement on the issues under negotiation for a new contract. The union represents 4J’s classified staff members, such as educational assistants, custodians, bus drivers, and food service workers.

The bargaining teams used an interest-based bargaining process in these negotiations, which focuses on interests and mutual gains.  They met numerous times from February through June 2018, making progress over time, until all issues were resolved.

Contract provisions

Important contract provisions that have been tentatively agreed to include:

• A four-year term, from 2018-19 through 2021-22

• Fair salary increases for every employee:

  • 2.2% COLA (cost of living increase) in 2018–19
  • 2.0% COLA in 2019–20
  • 2.0% COLA in 2020–21
  • COLA for 2021–22 to be negotiated in spring 2021

• Increased district contribution to employees’ health insurance

  • Increase of $15 per month in 2019–20
  • Increase of $10 per month in 2020–21
  • Benefits for 2021–22 to be negotiated in spring 2021

• Leave language simplified and updated, including modifications to sick, personal and family leaves

• Enhanced safety committees and districtwide reporting

Next steps 

Before the agreement becomes final it must be ratified by the classified association’s membership and approved by the Eugene School Board.

Classified employees will vote on whether to approve the terms and ratify the agreement on September 4, 2018. If union members ratify the agreement, the Eugene School Board will then vote on approval of the agreement at the following board meeting.

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Welcome New Principals, Other Administrators

Several 4J schools and departments will have new leadership in 2018–19

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS—Courtney Leonard, Charlemagne principal • Deirdre Pearson, Chávez principal • Dan Sterling, Holt principal • Sebastian Bolden, Spring Creek principal • Denisa Taylor, Twin Oaks principal

MIDDLE SCHOOLS—Chris Mitchell, Cal Young principal • Eric Anderson, Roosevelt principal • Peter Tromba, Spencer Butte principal • Karen Ramirez-Gutierrez, Kennedy assistant principal

HIGH SCHOOLS—Dr. Carey Killen, South Eugene principal • Misael Flores Gutierrez, Churchill assistant principal

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION—Cydney Vandercar, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services • Dr. Andy Dey, Director of Secondary Education • Ryan Spain, Director of Facilities & Transportation • Kat Lange, Student Services Administrator • Joyce Smith-Johnson, Fox Hollow Campus Interim Administrator

Elementary Schools

Charlemagne Principal: Courtney Leonard is the new principal of Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School, replacing Eric Anderson who will be principal of Roosevelt Middle School next year. Ms. Leonard taught French immersion in the Eugene International High School program at South Eugene and served as the IHS Head Teacher before becoming a school administrator at North Eugene High School. She returns to 4J after serving as an assistant principal at Hillsboro High School.

Chávez Principal: Deirdre Pearson has been selected as principal of Chávez, replacing Denisa Taylor who will become principal at Twin Oaks. Ms. Pearson brings a wealth of knowledge from her years as a teacher in Medford, Albany and Tualatin, along with administrator experience in Ashland and most recently in Bandon, where she served as both middle school principal and special education director.

Holt Principal: Dan Sterling is the new principal at Holt, replacing Joyce Smith-Johnson who will be administrator of the Fox Hollow Campus. Mr. Sterling brings more than two decades of experience as a teacher and school leader in 4J and around the state. Mr. Sterling taught social studies in 4J 20 years ago before serving as a school administrator in Portland, Lake Oswego, and most recently at Centennial Elementary in Springfield since 2015.

Spring Creek Principal: Sebastian Bolden has been hired as the principal of Spring Creek, replacing Raquel Gwynn who accepted a position at the Oregon Department of Education. Mr. Bolden comes to 4J from the Bethel School District where he was a teacher, then assistant principal of a large K–8 school. He is passionate about improving students’ lives through education. A special thank you to Larry Sullivan, who served as interim principal after Ms. Gwynn left in February.

Twin Oaks Principal: Denisa Taylor has been named principal of Twin Oaks, replacing Lizette Rodgers who has chosen to return to classroom teaching. Ms. Taylor has been an educator with 4J since 1996 and has been principal of Chávez Elementary School for more than a decade. She has a strong background in special education, familiarity with Title programs and an unwavering dedication to students and families.

Middle Schools

Cal Young Principal: Chris Mitchell is the new principal of Cal Young. He has been principal of Roosevelt Middle School for the past six years, and previously was a middle school and high school assistant principal in Springfield. Mr. Mitchell is looking forward to promoting academic excellence and a positive school climate. A special thank you to Dana Brummett, Cal Young assistant principal, who stepped up to serve as interim principal this year, and to Morley Hegstrom, who took a break from retirement to serve as interim assistant principal.

Roosevelt Principal: Eric Anderson is returning to the role of principal of Roosevelt, replacing Chris Mitchell who is moving to Cal Young. Mr. Anderson has more than a decade of school leadership experience in the South Eugene region, most recently as principal of Charlemagne French Immersion Elementary School. His return to Roosevelt will provide the school with continuity and strong leadership to continue to carry the school forward.

Spencer Butte Principal: Peter Tromba has been named principal of Spencer Butte, replacing Tasha Katsuda who has accepted a position in another district. Mr. Tromba is a veteran educator who has taught at every grade level and served as principal at the middle and high school levels, including at North Eugene High School and Monroe Middle School. He recently worked in Oregon’s Chief Education Office and is excited to serve once again as a school principal.

Kennedy Assistant Principal: Karen Ramirez-Gutierrez is the new assistant principal of Kennedy, replacing Mark Bennett who is retiring after many years of dedicated service. She most recently served as essential skills coordinator at River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School. Ms. Ramirez-Gutierrez is dedicated to supporting student and family success through collaboration and leadership.

High Schools

South Eugene Principal: Dr. Carey Killen is the new principal of South Eugene High School, replacing Dr. Andy Dey who has been appointed the district’s director of secondary education. This is a return to 4J for Dr. Killen, who served as an assistant principal at Sheldon before moving into a principal position in Bethel School District. She has nearly two decades of high school experience with the mosaic of programs and activities that make high school a complex and exciting place to work every day. Dr. Killen looks forward to connecting with all segments of the school community to plan for the future of South Eugene.

Churchill Assistant Principal: Misael Flores Gutierrez has been selected to be an assistant principal of Churchill High School, replacing Ame Beard who has accepted a position in another district. Mr. Flores has high school leadership experience as a dean of students and athletic director, as well as experience as a special education teacher. He is completing his doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on equity and leadership.

Department Directors

Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services: Cydney Vandercar has been appointed assistant superintendent for administrative services. Ms. Vandercar began her 4J career 25 years ago as a math teacher before serving as a school administrator at the middle and high school levels. Most recently, she served as director of human resources. As assistant superintendent for administrative services, Ms. Vandercar oversees the district’s operational departments and services, including human resources, financial operations, nutrition services, technology, transportation and facilities.

Director of Secondary Education: Dr. Andy Dey has been named 4J’s director of secondary education replacing BJ Blake who is retiring after nearly 30 years as a devoted educator. Dr. Dey has served as principal of South Eugene High School since 2015. His broad background includes experience as a middle and high school science teacher and administrator, track coach, K–12 curriculum director, and earlier as director of a nonprofit organization. Just prior to serving as South Eugene principal, he was curriculum director at an international school in Santiago, Chile. He is fluent in Spanish and holds a doctorate in education leadership. Dr. Dey is a focused and passionate leader for educational excellence, working with staff and community to find ways to ensure that all students are successful.

Director of Facilities and Transportation: Ryan Spain has been appointed the new director of facilities and transportation, replacing Harlan Coats who is retiring after 37 years in 4J’s facilities department. Mr. Spain has exceptional project management and communication skills and nearly 15 years of construction industry experience. Mr. Spain is committed to the continuous improvement of our district’s facilities so that educators and students can focus on teaching and learning. Dexter Rummel has been named facilities and maintenance manager to fill Mr. Spain’s previous position.

Student Services Administrator: Kat Lange has joined 4J as a student services administrator. Ms. Lange has experience as a special education teacher and school administrator, in both principal and assistant principal roles. Most recently, Ms. Lange was a special education director and college adjunct professor in Colorado working to help students with various backgrounds obtain the skills they need to succeed in a globally competitive world.

Fox Hollow Campus Interim Administrator: Joyce Smith-Johnson has been selected as interim administrator of the Fox Hollow Campus. In addition to her experience as principal of Holt Elementary School, Ms. Smith-Johnson has previously worked as a special education teacher and a staff development specialist in 4J. She brings to her new role an extensive knowledge and understanding of special education best practices along with her leadership skills, persistence and tenacity.

Congratulations and welcome to these education leaders in their new positions.

(This article will be updated as additional appointments are announced.)

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Summer Meal Program Begins

Free breakfast and lunch for kids July 5–August 17

Summer is here and school is out—but some 4J cafeterias are still cooking.

Eugene School District 4J serves about 10,000 meals to students each day when school is in session. Kids’ need for healthy food to grow, learn and thrive doesn’t end when school lets out for the summer. The federal Summer Food Service Program works to help fill that nutritional gap.

Eugene School District 4J will provide meals at five school sites this summer: Chávez, Holt and Howard elementary schools, and Churchill and Sheldon high schools. Free lunch also is available in many parks and community centers throughout Eugene at summer food program sites hosted by Food for Lane County and other organizations.

Children are welcome to eat at any summer meal site; they do not need to be students at that school. There are no application, income or enrollment requirements. All children age 18 and younger can eat free. Parents are invited to eat with their children by bringing their own food or purchasing a meal ($3.50 for breakfast, $4.00 for lunch).

Times and locations for 4J summer meal sites are below. These are the accurate times and locations; some state and national websites have shown incorrect information for 4J summer meal sites. 

Chávez Elementary School
1510 W. 14th Ave.
July 23August 16 
MondayThursday
Breakfast 8:30–9:15
Lunch 11:30–12:15
Holt Elementary School
770 Calvin St.
July 5August 2 
MondayThursday
Breakfast 8:00–9:00
Lunch 11:30–12:30
Howard Elementary School
700 Howard Ave.
July 9August 17 
MondayFriday
Breakfast 8:15–9:00
Lunch 11:30–12:30
Churchill High School
1850 Bailey Lane
July 9August 9 
MondayThursday
Breakfast 8:30–9:15
Lunch 12:30–1:15
Sheldon High School
2455 Willakenzie Rd.
July 9August 9 
MondayThursday
Breakfast 8:30–9:15
Lunch 12:30–1:15

 

More Information  
4J Summer Meals Program
Food for Lane County Sites
Summer Food Oregon

More About Summer in 4J  
Summer Learning
School Office Hours
School Health Centers

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School Board Adopts Budget

Budget plan includes full school year • steady class sizes • counselors at every school • more elementary PE • high school success • behavioral supports

The Eugene School District 4J Board of Directors has adopted the district’s budget plan for the coming year. The budget was unanimously approved on June 20, with votes of 6–0 by board members in attendance.

Eugene School District 4J’s general fund budget for the 2018–19 school year is $213.8 million. The budget reflects the goals of the district’s 4J Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan while recognizing the continued resource challenges the district faces. The budget plan maintains recent key improvements, invests in supports for student learning, and targets resources to support student behavior needs, while planning ahead for growing costs.

Superintendent Gustavo Balderas notes, “We are fortunate to be able to make targeted, carefully planned investments in our educational systems, aligned with our strategic plan. While our limited resources still can’t fund everything we want for kids in our schools, the improvements we are investing in will make a real difference for our students.”

The 2018–19 budget:

Continues key investments 

  • Maintains a full school year with no furlough days, now with a consistent calendar for all schools
  • Holds the line on class sizes, adding teachers to keep up with growing enrollment and balance oversized classes in the fall
  • Provides full schedules for 9th and 10th graders, to help students get a strong high school start and stay on track to graduate
  • Maintains new full-time counselors at elementary schools to support students’ emotional and behavioral needs 

Invests in strengthening our educational system 

  • Supports high school success with expanded career and technical education programs, college-level coursework, and ninth grade transition and success supports (Measure 98 plan)
  • Adds physical education teachers and maintains music teachers to enrich students’ learning and provide more prep time for elementary teachers to prepare for quality instruction
  • Supports student behavior with targeted resources to more effectively address students’ behavioral needs, while supporting a slope down over time of educational assistant staffing temporarily added using one-time resources
  • Makes modest budget investments in targeted areas, including school safety and emergency preparedness, middle school mentoring program, world language and elementary math curriculum implementation, high-quality professional development, and Japanese and Spanish immersion in the North Eugene region 

Plans ahead to balance growing costs and projected deficits in future years 

  • Restores a general fund reserve level of 5 percent (about three weeks of operating expenses), per board policy, providing some cushion against unexpected cost increases or revenue reductions
  • Sets aside some reserves to balance rising costs in the next few years, including expected PERS rate increases, to prevent the need for draconian cuts in the years ahead

The district’s budget committee received and examined the proposed budget on May 7 and approved it on May 21 to forward to the school board. The school board held a public hearing on June 6 and adopted the budget on June 20. The budget is for the year July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019.

Adopted Budget Document
Budget Committee 
Budget Process

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Bond Measure Plan to Be Finalized in August

Board takes time to thoroughly consider options

Eugene School District 4J’s school board is considering referring a potential bond measure to voters on the November 2018 ballot to replace and improve aging school buildings and learning materials—but not yet. To allow more time for final consideration of the options, the board has postponed the decision to August.

The potential bond measure has been considered in a lengthy, thoughtful, community-engaged process, and the board is extending the discussion in that same spirit.

The bond measure development process began with an assessment of the district’s facility and materials needs and the development of an update to the district’s long-range facilities plan. More than $1 Billion in capital needs were identified in the district, including facility repairs and improvements, capacity to address overcrowding, security and safety, technology, and more.

The district conducted a series of community forums and surveys to help inform the potential project list for a bond measure that would address some, but not all, of the identified capital needs.

Community input and board discussions narrowed the list to a potential $385 million bond measure that would:

Build four schools—new buildings for North Eugene High School, Edison Elementary School, Camas Ridge Elementary School, and a new elementary school to address overcrowding and projected population growth in the Sheldon region
Renovate facilities for program relocations, including Yujin Gakuen, Corridor, ECCO, the NATIVES program, and Chinese immersion
Improve school safety and security including entry security and some seismic upgrades
Improve facility equity and access
Support career technical education
Replace aging school buses
Adopt curriculum
Modernize technology
Provide critical maintenance, repairs and improvements.

The board originally had been slated to approve a final bond package on June 20, but postponed the decision to further consider the options and impacts before placing a bond measure on the ballot.

The board will reconvene in August to hold additional discussions and opportunities for community input, leading to a final decision on August 15.

 

More about the potential bond measure  

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Board Commends Superintendent in Annual Evaluation

The Eugene School Board commended the leadership of Superintendent Gustavo Balderas during his third year as superintendent of Eugene School District 4J in its annual performance evaluation. The board shared its report at the June 20 board meeting.

The superintendent’s annual evaluation focused on five areas: student achievement, staff capacity building, stewardship of district resources, stakeholder engagement as well as relationship with the school board, and leadership and professionalism.

Board Chair Eileen Nittler noted, “Dr. Balderas continues to lead Eugene School District 4J in a way that honors our students, strives to increase academic achievement, promotes long-term fiscal security, and provides for systemic approaches throughout the district. Dr. Balderas is an exceptional leader, and the board looks forward to our continued work.”

The board’s overview of its assessment of the superintendent follows.

 


 

Executive Summary of Eugene School Board’s Performance Evaluation of Dr. Gustavo Balderas
Eugene School District 4J – Board of Directors
June 20, 2018

The board of directors is charged with conducting an annual performance evaluation for the superintendent. Now completing his third year, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas continues to show excellence in his work, his work ethic and his tenacity in carrying out a vision for our district.

Dr. Balderas continues to lead Eugene School District 4J in a way that honors our students, strives to increase academic achievement, promotes long-term fiscal security, and provides for systemic approaches throughout the district.

We have asked Dr. Balderas to do a lot of work in the three years he has been in Eugene. We now have a long-term strategic plan to guide us in our work. We have a common school calendar and schedule. We have a facilities plan to help us best recognize priorities in modernization and safety.

Dr. Balderas is an exceptional leader, and the board looks forward to our continued work.

The superintendent’s annual evaluation focused on five areas:

  • Student achievement
  • Staff capacity building
  • Stewardship of district resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and relationship with the school board
  • Leadership and professionalism

Student Achievement: Dr. Balderas is focused on student success. This is evident in his focus on fully scheduling 9th and 10th graders (and moving towards fulling scheduling 11th graders), as well as working towards more pre-kindergarten early learning programs to get new students off to a strong start. There are now counselors in all elementary schools and 9th grade transition counselors in high schools. He understands the need to work with students, both younger and older, to give them the foundation and support they need to succeed.

Responding to a demonstrable uptick in behavior concerns we have seen in Eugene and elsewhere, the superintendent has directed the development of a new behavioral system framework. This will better support appropriate behavior for all students and promote more effective support of children in need of behavioral assistance.

Staff Capacity Building: There have been many demands on district staff this year. The superintendent was tasked with making systemic changes to the site-based or siloed nature of the district. The shift toward a more centralized, efficient, and unified system has not always been easy. Proactive and consistent communication across the district will be one of the things to focus on next year as this work continues.

Stewardship of District Resources: Dr. Balderas is focused on the long-term health of the district. This is evident in the district’s conservative budget, the balanced bond package developed and recommended after considerable thoughtful work and community process, regular implementation of an equity decision-making tool, and work to align calendars and schedules across the district.

Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship with the School Board: Dr. Balderas has taken the time to become a part of the Eugene community. He meets with stakeholders, from parents to businesses to board members to non-profit groups, to build a network that is strong and focused on identified goals. He is accessible, open to learning from others, and comfortable in sharing his reasoning and expertise.

Leadership and Professionalism: Dr. Balderas has a quiet, professional demeanor that allows for excellent collaboration with stakeholders. He represents our district well. He has led us in systems audits, outreach to community stakeholders, and guidance towards better work as a board, as a district and as a community. He researches options, and presents those that are the best fit for the district in a respectful and respectable manner.

In conclusion, the Eugene School District 4J Board of Directors considers the district fortunate to have Dr. Balderas as a leader. We look forward to continuing to work together to provide the best education we can for our students.

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4J Summer Programs

Summer learning, free meals, health care

Summer is here, and with it some no-cost opportunities for students to learn and stay nourished.

Free Meals: Kids are invited to eat breakfast and lunch for free this summer. NO forms to fill out. FREE for anyone 18 and under. The free summer food program starts in July and is available in several 4J schools. Free lunch also is available in many parks and community centers throughout Eugene this summer.

Summer Learning: 4J offers the following summer school programs by invitation only:

Summer Hours: Most district offices are open year-round. High school offices remain open through the summer, but operate on reduced hours. Elementary school and middle school offices close for the summer and reopen in August. School-based health centers are open, except for most of July, on a reduced schedule.

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