4J Prepares for More Staff Cuts

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EUGENE, Ore — Informal negotiations between 4J administrators and the Eugene Education Association came to a standstill Thursday; unless they come to an agreement soon, the district could be seeing nearly double the cuts in staff.

While 4J’s budget struggles aren’t news to anyone, it didn’t lessen the sting of the announcement about potentially bigger cuts for the 2013-2014 school year.

The district’s superintendent sent out an e-mail last Friday with the tough news, noting dwindling funds and reserves as well as increasing pers and overall costs.

While the district has budgeted for much of this, it was hoping cost reductions would come from negotiating furlough days and other employee compensation agreements. Informal talks haven’t been fruitful and now the parties are moving to begin a formal, public bargaining process.

The district says it’s running out of time as the current contracts expire in June.

“We have to assume that we may not come to an agreement. We’re beginning in May and that’s very late for negotiations,” said Sheldon Berman, 4J Superintendent.

A budget must be passed by the school board before the end of the fiscal year, which is also at the end of June.

The district could be looking at losing up to full-time 70 positions. And if the levy doesn’t pass, the cuts would be much worse.

All sides are hoping some sort of decision can be made, even if it’s just an extension of the current contract to help them better plan for the upcoming year.

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