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4J School District’s Funding Decreases Uncertain for Next Year

Elizabeth Gabriel


On Monday, the Eugene 4J school district budget committee held a virtual meeting about funding for next school year. During the discussion, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas says the district will probably lose about $17.5 million in state funding, and possibly more in the coming years.

“I am worried about next year, [but] I’m more worried about next biennium because school districts and education seem to always be trailing the private sector—in terms of the hit and the recovery,” said Balderas. “So we get into it later, and we get out of it later. That’s been the past experience that I’ve had my 30 years as an educator.”

The district has not laid off any staff members during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

4J is working to employ all staff members during the 2020-2021 school year, while also looking at ways to move forward with their initiatives to improve student learning—such as reducing class sizes, improving behavior and mental health support services, and increasing access and inclusion for underserved students.

Balderas also said the state is anticipating a $653 million dollar reduction in state school funding. 

Like other Oregon school districts, 4J does not know if they will have to use funding from the Student Success Act to offset financial challenges. If so, that means dipping into 4J’s allotted $12 million from the state, which was supposed to be used to help increase academic achievement.

The committee is scheduled to approve next school year’s budget on May 11. 

As the district continues to develop the budget, they are making contingency plans in case there is substantial federal and state revenue loss. The next Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast presentation is scheduled for May 20. 

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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