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School Board talks cuts, city tax to save schools and targeting neighborhood schools

At the Eugene 4J School Board Meeting tonight:

—Superintendent George Russell revised his $22 million estimated budget cut to $28 million, due to new numbers from Gov. elect John Kitzhaber.

—District staff argued for a May school construction bond measure because it would leverage $15 million in federal construction funding and they could claim that the district wasn't raising taxes because of an expiring previous school construction levy. But a May bond vote to build new schools could cause the district to lose $10 million dollars or more in operating funding from a proposed city tax to keep the schools the district already has open. But two board members and Russell spoke favorably of the city tax effort for schools.

—A majority of 4J board members appeared to oppose closing Adams elementary, one of the brownest and poorest schools in the district, to give the building to the Charlemagne French immersion elementary, one of the whitest and richest schools in the district. But the board opposed officially taking the option of closing Adams off the table, forcing Adams parents to go to more late night meetings to defend their school. Fox Hollow parents apparently won’t have to plea for their school. The school board, which includes one French immersion parent, has not applied the same closure tests and criteria to Fox Hollow as it has applied to neighborhood schools. The board now appears to be targeting Parker to make room for Fox Hollow. The board rejected the least disruptive option of simply leaving the French school where it is pending a proposed reevaluation of 4J alternative schools next year. Moving Fox Hollow to Parker may apparently save almost no money as it would require a new large parking lot and drop off area because almost all the French school parents drive their kids to school, according to 4J staff.