From an email interview with Betsy Boyd (edited down)—
1) How long have you been involved with 4J Schools? How about the 4J budget committee?
I became directly involved with 4J schools in 2001 when my son entered kindergarten. I was active in the PTA, was later appointed to the site council at Adams Elementary and was first appointed to the 4J budget committee in 2003. I was just appointed to another term that runs (I believe) 2011-2013.
2) In your opinion, have you noticed much of a difference in neighborhoods that have public schools within them, versus neighborhoods without?
Such as: More resources available for families, a stronger sense of community, more families living with in an area with (young) kids
Yes – strong neighborhood schools make for strong neighborhoods. For several decades, 4J’s policies around choice, I believe, created false perceptions that some schools were appreciably “better” than other schools, causing stratification in neighborhoods and disadvantaging some neighborhood schools. Neighborhood schools bring people together from all demographic levels creating opportunities for understanding and experiences with diverse peoples that strengthen community and (at the risk of sounding too grandiose) that strengthen our democracy.
3) Can you think of any advantages for no public schools within a neighborhood? Such as more room for business, etc.
School districts need to make decisions about how large elementary schools should be and how large an area they should serve. Eugene has had some very small catchment (sp?) areas for some elementary schools that are an inefficient way to deliver elementary education services because the schools don’t have a large enough population to provide more comprehensive programs.
4) Is the Whiteaker, and its residents, at a disadvantage for its lack of public schools?
I believe Whiteaker is at a disadvantage because it has no nearby elementary school and its attendance area aligns it with River Road/Howard, Kelly and North Eugene High School instead of South Eugene High School which is closer and makes for easier transportation linkages.