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4J to Boot Out Poor Kids and Give Harris to Wealthier Alternative Schools

Eugene 4J School Superintendent George Russell has recommended that the district kick the poor kids at Harris neighborhood elementary school out of their building to make room for wealthier kids from the Eastside and French Immersion alternative schools.

Harris is 67 percent free and reduced lunch while Eastside is 5 percent and the French Immersion school is 10 percent.

The recommendation is part of Russell's "Shaping 4J’s Future" report on school closures and moves. The 4J School Board will meet to discuss the report on Wednesday, February 13, at 6 p.m.

Here's Russell's summary of the key recommendations:

—"Close Harris Elementary School for the 2008 – 2009 school year and redistribute students to Edison and Parker elementary schools. Redraw the attendance boundaries for Edison and Parker. Relocate Eastside Alternative School from Parker into the Harris building for the 2008 – 09 school year. During 2008-09, make additions to the school that will allow it to accommodate adding the French Immersion school for the 2009-10 school year.

—Move Meadowlark students to a new school at the Kinney Loop site in 2011-12. Buena Vista would then become a K-5 stand-alone school at the Meadowlark site.

—Close Coburg in June 2011, and relocate students to the new school at Kinney Loop site in 2011-12, and reassign middle school students from Cal Young to Monroe.

—Close the Fox Hollow building and move the French Immersion School to join Eastside in the Harris building in 2009-10.

—Move the Family School and establish it as a 1-8 school sharing the facility with the Arts and Technology Academy at the Jefferson building for 2009-10.

—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 then other schools.

—Limit transfers for middle and high schools. Each middle school could accept up to 5% of the middle school students residing within the boundaries of another region. No 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 5% of the high school students residing within the boundaries of another region. No school could accept transfers that would result in a student enrollment that exceeds the high school size maximum of 1500 students.

—Transportation. There may be some additional transportation costs related to boundary adjustments and school consolidations. I recommend that we also consider providing transportation within each region to alternative schools in that region.

Another option that I [Russell] considered, but am not recommending at this time is:

—Consider closing Twin Oaks Elementary in June 2011 and send students to McCornack and Crest Drive."