Budget Cut to Education Hurts Neighborhood

By Maiko Ando

Eugene, Ore.- A problem of budget cut to education in Eugene suffers every neighborhood. Residential neighborhood of Laurel Hill Valley is not an exception. They have now entered a difficult period.

Since the United States faced the economic crisis, the government decided to cut their budget for education. Oregon is also an object region for this issue. To help balance the budget in the face of an unexpected lack in state income tax revenue, what the Eugene school district decided is to have fewer school days. Also, even it’s a small number, layoffs are already in progress.

Sandy Tilcock, who is the Laurel Hill Valley Citizens chair, commented about the problem of budget cut. “Economic cuts have forced the elementary kids into larger schools further from the neighborhood,“ Tilcock said. The problem is not only children have few days for school, but also put into a larger class. This change makes teachers disable to care of every children personally.

Fang Yin is one of the residents in Laurel Hill and also who is a professor of Business school at University of Oregon. He has two children. His older son is first grade at Edison Elementary school. He said Edison is the “best elementary school in the city.” Although they had five days a week and full-time, it changed to “four days a week, [and] ends at noon,” according to Yin. This policy had started couple years ago. For this point, Heidi Doggwiler, who is a resident of Laurel Hill and also a Homeowners Association President, agreed to Yin. “Edison used to have full-day Kindergarten class and now it’s only half a day because there wasn’t enough fund raising,” Doggwiler said.

Doggwiler’s son is also going to the Edison Elementary School. “I had to fight really hard to get him into the school because the lottery system becomes very competitive,” Doggwiler said. Since the number of school and classes are getting fewer, it is highly competitive to get in to the school where residents like to.

When the classes get larger, children have to go to farther school. “Part of the problem is the sense of isolation of the neighborhood, not many ways into our out of the neighborhood,” Tilcock said.

Fang Yin

This makes an already difficult situation even more difficult. The children of Laurel Hill have only one high school where they can go even now.However, if the school district required them to go farther school, it is expected to be difficult.

Yin also talked about decreasing a number of teachers. Although school district plans to layoff some teachers, they try not to rush to cut back at any cost. “Takes time to get approval of amount of teachers. It’s not like they just cut teachers on the spot,” Yin said.

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