EUGENE, Ore. — Budget season is here and 4J is in talks about how their next school year could look. The budget was released Thursday, but the real discussion begins Monday night.
Though the district is seeing more than an $11 million increase in its revenue, there’s still a $3.62 million gap that needs to be filled. Not everyone is happy with the solution the district is considering.
“When I came here I inherited a $20 million deficit. Two years ago we had an $11 million deficit. We’re going into this year with only a $3.62 million deficit,” said Dr. Sheldon Berman, 4J Superintendent.
The district insists despite the gap, this is progress. Though there’s an $11.1 million increase in revenue, it’s not enough.
“The additional resources sort of misstate things. For example, some of that money is a transfer of funds from our Lane ESD district so it doesn’t really represent additional dollars rather the transition of programs,” Dr. Berman said.
That alone is about $4 million of that revenue. Another $4.4 million comes from the desire to have zero furlough days.
“There are a lot of factors that go into eating that additional revenue,” Dr. Berman said.
4J says as of yet, closing the gap would mean cutting 26 teaching positions, something teachers aren’t sure is the only solution.
“We’re interested in going through all 385 pages of budget to see how this could possibly be the case because we don’t think that it is,” said Tad Shannon, EEA President.
That has them wondering if the district is going in the right direction.
“That would account for based on our estimates roughly 70 percent of the supposed deficit and we don’t understand why if the goal is to reduce class why start with cutting teachers,” Shannon said.
This is a preliminary budget and can change depending on a number of factors including pending negotiations with district employees.
After Monday night’s, there will be a series of public meetings before the 4J School Board is expected to adopt a final budget on June 18.