All posts by Bryan Kalbrosky

Bryan Kalbrosky is an NBA writer for HoopsHype and the managing editor for USA TODAY Sports Media Group's NBA Wire sites. He was previously the editor of The Rams Wire with USA TODAY SMG as well. Bryan has published with FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, VICE, Huffington Post and various other publications.

Eulogy for Pauline Samuels


My grandmother explained death to me when I was eight years old shortly after the sudden and tragic loss of her husband, my grandfather Barry. Heartbroken but strong, I’ll always remember these words: “Do you remember what happened to your grandmother Etta?” My dad’s mother had passed away when I was very young, but I knew what she meant and nodded. “Well, that’s what just happened to grandpa.” After a warm embrace, I’d suddenly understood mortality in a way that helped turn what could have been a painful experience into one filled with learning and love. From that moment on, I recognized the loss of someone that you hold dear is an inevitable part of human existence. And because she taught me to be cognitive of that as early as she did, I feel I became capable of living a more impactful and meaningful life. So, grandma, thank you.

Grandma made the most of her time here with us. She was stunningly gorgeous, always with a beautiful manicure and a meticulously well-kept hairstyle. Her fashion was loud, proud and so dang fun. She was a beloved business owner in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. She even got to make an appearance on one of her favorite shows, People’s Court, and starred alongside her sister in a commercial for a local station casino. Grandma was truly charming in an unparalleled way. Even in her darkest days, she had a way to make her nurses laugh and feel a special and strong connection to her. They knew she was sassy, witty and her quirks were endearing. Many were overwhelmed by her support system, though I wasn’t. Everyone loved grandma. It made sense that so many people would spend so many hours doing whatever they could to help her.

There was a calm lightness and casual sarcasm with which she approached her life. She always talked about “when she’d croak” even when she was fully healthy and self-sufficient. One of her favorite jokes was that she wanted to meet a rich man with one foot in the grave and another foot on a banana peel. Recently, she referred to her death as “putting me in the junk pile” and we were always able to laugh at the absurdity of her acceptance. Her vocabulary was always filled with brilliant imagery, even if you had to sort of guess meaning when she used more dated Yiddish colloquialisms. Those of you who knew her well know it it was always a sight to see when she would tell people to “kish meine tuchus” with somewhat repeated regularity.

I’d like to end with one particularly fond memory. After spending many years in Vegas unable to gamble, my grandma and I were thrilled at the chance to finally play cards together with real cash rather than our usual Monopoly money. When she was getting tired, she announced that she was going “all in” on the next hand. As a sign of risky empathy, I threw all of my money on the table as well. She lost all of hers; I hit a blackjack. She was so happy. We danced liked fools and celebrated like we had just won the Super Bowl. She found so much joy in her family and that was an endless source of purpose in her life. Grandma loved her friends, she loved video poker, she loved jazz — especially Frank Sinatra; she once cried when I played his music for her on Spotify — and she always spoke to me about how much she wanted to go dancing with me. I wish I could dance with my grandma again; I used to go on walks and talk to her about how our days were going. I’m devastated that I can’t do that again, either, but thanks to the lesson she taught me in 2001, I’ll always understand why we can’t. Cherish those who mean the most to you and you’ll appreciate them, especially someone like Pauline Samuels, forever. I miss her to pieces and love her to the moon. But I am at peace. And I know she is as well.

KWVA: Radio Disney

Interview by Maya Zimmerman, for J412 (Understanding Disney)

How do you determine what songs to play? There’s a weird method to the madness of creating a typical “The Everything Bagel” (which is the name of my show) playlist. Essentially, though, I keep a note on my iPhone and write down songs that I enjoy during my week. I also have a Google Drive file where I keep links to all cool songs I find on blogs and social media websites across The Internet. And on the night before my show, I take a look at The Weather Report and think about where we are in the terms (e.g. syllabus week, midterms, dead week, finals week, day after Halloween, etc.) and compose a playlist that will fit the mood. Once a song is played once, I’ll remove it from the list and try to not play it again. That way, my show focuses on a lot of new releases//new discoveries relevant in my life and maybe also in those around me. You get songs from film soundtracks, remixes discovered at bars, some folky tunes from local coffee shops, a new beat floating around online. It’s a very organized chaos.

What are some rules and regulations of the radio? I’ve got a show on Thursday at 3PM, which means we’re in safe harbor hours. So no f-bombs in the studio! Also: none of the other Dirty Words (c/o George Carlin) as well as nothing unsuitable for a family audience. We can’t play more than two songs from the same album. We can’t stream anything from The Internet, specifically non-premium Spotify accounts or anything with YouTube ads because we’re public radio and that’s an advertisement for a sellable product. No endorsements of any kind: be bold, certainly, but nothing overly biased is allowed (“We’d like to go to the local concert” is fine but “You should come!!!” is not) over our airwaves. Guests needs to learn these rules, and we’re accountable for their mistakes. Some other boring administrative stuff, like PSA’s and 3-4 songs from rotation (“what’s new and hip”) are also required.
What are your influences for your radio show? My influences include the weather, my life, good conversation, independent record labels, electronic music, punk rock as a genre, conceptual art, trips to the river, acoustic guitars, music festivals, rainy days, NPR’s Ira Glass, Shaquille O’Neal and Oregon burritos from El Super Burrito.
Did you listen to the radio as a child? I pretty much listened to classic rock radio and old CD’s by The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel in my parents car. They’re still listening to that same stuff. My favorite activity is to drive my dad’s nice car really fast on road trips while blasting some rappers like Action Bronson or other modern hip hop really loud in his car and see how uncomfortable my parents get. It’s fine.
Did you listen to RD? I think I listened to Radio Disney maybe three times or so, and it was always in the car of another friend. I say that like we were driving. It was their parents car. But yeah. I never listened to Radio Disney. And I guess my “crowd” (lol we were like in fifth grade when Radio Disney was still a thing right?) wasn’t really into that sort of thing either. So no, didn’t really listen to RD.
Did you have any restrictions on your media consumption as a child? Nah, my parents definitely trusted that I wouldn’t be putting my nose (or, for this, my ears) anywhere they didn’t belong. I remember one time I left elementary school early and pretended I was sick so that I could play sports video games and that wasn’t exactly encouraged. But otherwise, I was mostly on my best behavior when it came to the media. And now look at me! I’m about to graduate with honors and have a degree in journalism. See? The restrictions can only go so far.
Would you play any of the top 10 RD songs? I don’t even know if I’d be able to recognize any of the top ten Radio Disney songs, to be honest. I don’t really go anywhere (physically, like a mall–or even virtually and online for that matter) where that kind of stuff would be played. This is college radio. One time I got a call after playing a Beyoncé song the night after her HBO special came out and the dude gave me the old “this is college radio! we shouldn’t play something so popular!” but it’s whatever because he didn’t Respect The Crown and that’s not my problem. I could only imagine the reaction if I played Radio Disney. I don’t think that’d go over well.
How do you establish your audience? I made my profile picture on Facebook a photo of me DJ’ing so now literally everyone knows that I’ve got a college radio show. I created a Facebook fan page for my show ( and it has about 100 likes or so. I also make it my Snapchat story whenever I’m about to broadcast, but that usually goes over not so well. For my paid job, I’m an office assistant at the station so I tell other DJ’s about my show and listen to theirs in return. Sometimes I’ll hold a live interview with someone famous (like Yoni Wolf from the band WHY? or comedian Brent Weinbach) and I’ll often bring on a co-host so that they can tell their friends to listen. The Emerald once wrote a story about me and my college radio DJ’ing gig, so that got some momentum for the show. Plus, I’ve had the show for like three years now so the Eugene community is starting to dig it. And then I’ll leave for Portland, and everyone will miss me. Bwahahaha.

KCRW Radio Race: You’re Going To Need Heart Surgery

The Independent Producer Project is KCRW’s initiative to cultivate and support the work of independent media producers and artists. By commissioning both long-term projects and weekly on-air and online content, the IPP provides an opportunity for experienced independent storytellers of all kinds – radio producers, photographers, and multimedia artists – to distribute their unique and compelling content worldwide through KCRW’s radio and digital audience.

Journalistic Interview: Themes & Thoughts

The University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication is unique in its strategy to allow students to interact with the industry that students are preparing to enter.

My “Journalistic Interview” course, for example, offered students the opportunity to talk with some of the most fascinating media minds in the Pacific Northwest. Our presentations included people from diverse backgrounds, such as: local news anchors, public radio personalities, newspaper reporters and even major network broadcast producers. While people from strikingly different points in their careers hosted each question and answer session, this allowed the students in our class a lens into the world of journalism from varying perspectives.

“I’m talking to people that are entering an industry that is in flux—the future is daunting,” said Bill Goetz, formerly of KVAL. “Television news photographers like myself are dinosaurs.”

Goetz, who was laid off in December 2012, told our class he never earned much money as a TV news photographer.  Goetz explained he stayed in the industry because he loved the work that he was producing.

According to Goetz, however, various publications across the country followed the lead of the Chicago Sun Times and cut their entire photography staffs. Now, countless reporters have become “multimedia journalists” and are responsible for the same amount of work as an entire whole staff but for a significantly cheaper salary.

For many, this means that they were forced to adapt and evolve with the changing times of the job market that the students in our course are eagerly anticipating.

“It’s a tough industry,” said Cathryn Stephens, who used to work in television for KVAL/KMTR before a career transition. “You need tough skin; you have to be able to move on.”

Stephens, who is now the Deputy Director for the Eugene Airport, knows that the skills she learned in journalism (such as multitasking and maintaining clear lines of communications) helped her become successful in the position that she has today. She encouraged all of the students in class to “keep our options open” because there are always cool opportunities happening around each of us.

While many presenters admitted that it was incredibly challenging to balance their career in journalism with a family life as well, UO professor Karen McCowan explained that her occupation helped her children get exposed to the most incredible stories in the world.

According to McCowan, who has written as a columnist for The Register-Guard and The Oregonian, journalism is essential to democracy and she was even able to interview President Barack Obama through her position. McCowan may no longer work as a writer, but like Stephens, she has applied the skills that she learned in the industry to her two new professions: a professor at the UO SOJC and as a licensed private investigator.

It was particularly refreshing for me to hear from KLCC News Director and radio personality Tripp Sommer, however, because of his undying passion for journalism and storytelling. Other presentations made me worry about the “burn out” factor in journalism, but thanks to Sommer, I was reminded that it would always be possible to maintain a sense of love for my craft. His unique storytelling in his interview with Bobby Seale, co-founder of The Black Panther Party, was notably inspirational.

Many are worried about the “state of journalism” in the industry right now, but it was also reassuring to hear from folks like UO professors Ed Madison and Chris Pietsch about their undying love and successes in the industry.

Both come from journalism families, but their unique work ethic and passion for the field helped them reach incredible heights remarkably early on in their careers. For Madison, he became a founder and producer at CNN as well as various other high-profile broadcast networks—even interviewing Michael Jackson and Elton John along the way.

Madison recommends that each of us find the part about journalism that excites us enough to keep going, adding that good storytelling will always be in demand. He believes audiences today are more sophisticated but with a lower attention span that needs grabbing. According to Madison, multimedia journalism is the convergence of each storytelling method.

Pietsch, who works for The Register-Guard, had become a professional photographer at 16-years-old and even had his work published in National Geographic. His advice for young journalists was simple.

“Find yourself mentors that you can have a good relationship with; absorb everything that you possibly can,” said Pietsch. “That’s where I really learned.”

Meet UO Alumni Association Employee: Susan Burton


Shortly after donning a cap and gown at her college graduation, UO alum Susan Burton decided to ship out to sub-Saharan Africa and work in HIV outreach for the Peace Corps.

Burton, who now works as the Assistant Director for Student and Alumni Relations for the UO Alumni Association, knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps after college. She had done HIV outreach while at the UO, and was accepted into the Peace Corps to work for Community Health Outreach Program (CHOP) after she applied. The program combined both of her top choices for area of work as well as her choice of ideal location. Immediately, she expressed very little hesitation for her journey to begin.

“My parents were a little concerned, but being my parents, they never told me until I was there,” Burton says.

While she was volunteering for the Peace Corps, Burton was particularly inspired by the South African motto Ubuntu—which means that a person is a person through other people. Burton explains that the people she met truly live by that style of life, and that everyone that she met would always make time for the people that surrounded them.


Although she was originally hired to be an HIV outreach worker, she ended up mainly working with NGO (non-governmental organization) development because her organization didn’t yet have the capacity to be doing health promotion. As such, Burton spent much of her time working on building the organization to the point where they could begin their outreach program for the following year.

During her second year, however, she ended up doing similar fieldwork because the program let go of their entire management due to misappropriation of funds. Burton ended up training and hiring new staff for her second year before she moved to the capital city for her third year, focusing mostly on hiring a volunteer from the Peace Corps ready to do health promotion and training care.

Burton’s favorite work during her 38-month commitment was her job while working at schools. There, she focused on after school programs, youth camps and various day-to-day office tasks and assignments.

“A lot of Peace Corps volunteers feel that their main contribution was through changing the lives of the children that they worked with,” Burton says.

While much of the impact made by Peace Corps volunteers are not detectable until long after the volunteers have left, her favorite memories from the trip include daily visits from a group of about six to eight children. The group would come to her house to work on homework and watch movies; their favorites were X-Men and Transformers, and they were particularly obsessed with Wolverine.

The children, and all of the other villagers in Makhushane, called her Karabo—which translates to “The Answer” in their local dialect.

“When you name someone that, it’s because you’ve been praying for something for a long time and they’re the answer to your prayers,” Burton explains. “So, not much to live up to at all.”

After working with kids, Burton also realized that many of the children in South Africa have very similar interests to the children in America: they enjoy hanging out with friends, talking on the phone and playing video games.

While her service with the Peace Corps finished in April 2013, Burton and a friend spent three months traveling through ten countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. The purpose of the trip was to interview youth from each nation, and they now have eighty interviews archived. Her favorite interview that she conducted was with a young man that, upon graduating high school, opened and now successfully operates the first Internet Café in his village.

Today, Burton is in the process of pitching the compilation of stories to an e-book publisher in Scotland, with the hopes of marketing their product to schools across the world.

Burton explains that one of the most valuable lessons she learned on the trip also applies for much of the work she now does for the UO Alumni Association, where she works to help students create a lifelong connection to the UO. Working with students, she says, many are often be sidetracked with midterms or the various crises of being a college student.

“One of the things I really learned was flexibility,” says Burton. “You realize that you just have to go with the flow, because nothing is going to work out how you wanted it to.”

Meet Eugene Weekly Arts & Culture Editor: Alex Notman


As the arts and culture editor for the Eugene Weekly since September 2012, Alex Notman has truly immersed herself in a beat that she’s passionate about.

Her most fascinating interviews include the creative director from The Black Panther Party, the lead singer from Beach House (which didn’t exactly go well) and Ryan Lewis from Macklemore. “Nothing can replace good preparation for an interview,” Notman says. “Research, research, research.”

While she earned her undergraduate degree in French and International Studies from University of Minnesota Duluth, her goal was always to move to the Pacific Northwest. Notman doubled as a waitress and as a copywriter in Minnesota for a travel agency before relocating.

“I really loved the writing and research aspect of my job,” Notman says. “But I was turned off by having to fluff things up for the corporate travel agency.”

Notman came to Eugene to pursue her professional master’s degree in journalism at the UO in 2009. When she received an extravagant invitation to a “steam punk” party on a farm with a strict costume code, however, she began to fall in love with her new home. Her story about the experience was later converted and published as a cover for Eugene Weekly, where she consistently submitted freelance work for nearly two years.

Eugene Weekly also published her final project for graduate school, which explored human rights conditions for female veterans. She later worked as the project manager at EMU Marketing, co-produced the documentary Meet Me At The SU (2013) and completed internships at West Lane News and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. At the UO, she was a designer for Flux Stories and the creative director for Ethos Magazine.

“I learned how to motivate a group of people and how to marry images with words,” she says. “It gave me insight to all parts of the paper, not just the text.”

Notman says that she has been an artist for as long as she can remember and was exposed to art from her father and grandmother. In fact, she nearly applied to graduate school for curatorial studies for museums. Notman believes that Eugene would benefit from having a more polished and competitive art scene. In the next few years, her goal is to be an artist as well as a journalist in town.

“It is a really difficult industry,” Notman says. “You have to be better than everyone else that’s around you.”

University of Oregon: 2013 Fall Press Day Helps Inspire Young Journalists


Aspiring young journalists from across the state of Oregon met in Eugene on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for the 2013 Fall Press Day. 

The Northwest Scholastic Press Association (NWSPA) and the University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication (UO SOJC) hosted the events, which included skill-based workshops and notable guest speakers. The conference was held on October 15 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the EMU student union on campus at the University of Oregon. 

According to Guru Amar Khalsa, an intern for NWSPA, attendance at the 2013 Fall Press Day was expected to include nearly 500 middle school and high school students from across the state. 

“It’s great to expand their view of journalism to more than just newspaper and yearbook,” said Amar Khalsa, who was a volunteer at last year’s convention. “There are so many opportunities to spark their love for journalism.” 

This year’s event included lectures and workshops led by some of the most respected minds in the Pacific Northwest journalism community, including keynote speaker and 2012 Dow Jones News Fund High School Journalism Teacher of the Year Ellen Austin. 

Austin is the Director of Journalism at The Harker School in San Jose, Calif. and spent four weeks of her summer working in London as a National Endowment for the Humanities grant recipient. 

Other guest speakers for the 2013 Fall Press Day included UO SOJC professors such as Ed Madison, Dan Morrison, Deb Morrison, Peter Laufer and Kyu Ho Youm. 

Unfortunately, however, UO SOJC associate professor John Russial believes that recent budget cuts have caused lowered attendance than previous Fall Press Days. The lack of more flexible spending, Russial said, has likely forced hundreds of students to miss the events because schools can’t afford to secure transportations for students from across the state. 

Registration for the event reached nearly 600 students, but Russial remembers when the event had more than 800-900 people in attendance. Fortunately, he still believes the event is a positive experience for many of the young students that had attended this year. 

“It’s great for high school kids to spend a day working with journalism and see if it’s something that they want to pursue,” said Russial. 

The event included a faculty of approximately 40 advisers that led roughly 30 breakout sessions. 

Some of the more popular breakout sessions at the conference included multimedia workshops. According to members of the NWSPA, multimedia storytelling is a creative field of journalism often overlooked by young students interested in the industry. 

Another session that was offered at the conference included a workshop on cross-cultural and cross language journalistic interviews. 

Led by UO SOJC professor Peter Laufer, who has either studied or taught at institutions around the world, the session taught students how to properly pursue interviews when the subject does not share a common culture.

“This not only gave students a taste of what it’s like to learn about journalism, but also served as good recruiting for the university,” said Russial.


Ray Kraut Turns Guitar Craftsmanship Into Way of Life

Credit: Bryan Kalbrosky

Eugene artist Ray Kraut refers to himself as a luthier, a term used to describe someone who either makes or repairs stringed instruments. 

Kraut may only have time to build a dozen or so guitars in a given year, but the value of his crafting skills has been sustainable since he moved to the Pacific Northwest. Based in the studio of a home that he now rents to tenants, Kraut works roughly ten hours a day for nearly two or three months on each guitar before he finally views the instrument as finished. 

The difference between Kraut, an independent craftsman, and a major manufacturer can be found in his process. Kraut says larger guitar companies (e.g. Martin, Gibson, Taylor, etc.) build for mass quantities of production and have standardized styles for each of their guitars. 

Kraut spends significantly more time with each instrument than many other craftsmen can afford to take with a single instrument. 

In order to remain productive, however, Kraut works on two or three guitars at the same time. He may be working on shaping the mold of a guitar on the same day that he’s finishing the neck of a separate guitar. 

Perhaps the most challenging part of Kraut’s crafting process is obtaining his favorite wood for the body of his instruments: Brazilian rosewood. 

“Each piece of wood has a different stiffness rating,” said Kraut. “Depending on the looseness of the wood, the base creates a different sound and needs to be treated differently.” 

Brazilian rosewood is considered to produce the most ideal tone for all stringed instruments. The wood was so popular with artisans and furniture makers, however, that it became overharvested. 

In the mid-1970s, the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) treaty was enacted. According to, the treaty was enacted to “ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival” and has all international trade subject to certain controls. 

Kraut and other craftsmen have to follow strict laws to get the wood. For example, many suppliers harvest the wood from a tree that naturally fell down. Kraut has also heard of people that bought old South American properties in order to remove the particular rosewood from the beams. Kraut has taken trips to various parts of the world just to obtain the wood. 

Kraut also works with many other types of wood as well. The back and sides of his instruments use wood from across South America and Africa. He features Italian wood on the soundboard, which makes up much of the sound for the guitars. In order to create the binding on each of his instruments, he uses African ebony. For the design on the front of the body, his preferred wood is Sitka spruce. 

He is one of the few remaining craftsmen to use the dovetail method when building the necks of his instruments. This method uses a self-compressing joint that connects the neck of the guitar to its body. The advantage is that it does not screw a single bolt into the guitar. Kraut prefers the dovetail method because it does not add any extra weight on the instrument. 

“Everything you do when building a guitar has an extreme impact on its sound,” said Kraut.  

Because sound is created through the transfer of energy, Kraut explains that adding a bolt blocks sound from passing through the body. The dovetail joint, however, is self-compressing. It allows a more fluid “voice” to pass through the instrument without any disruption. 

Additionally, Kraut sculpts the “braces” on his instruments to allow effective energy transfer. Braces are the wooden planks that structure the back of the guitar and hold the instrument together. 

Kraut then rests the mold of his instrument on top of the body. Next, he seals the two together with weightless “shellac” glue. The glue comes from the shell of a lac beetle.   

While Kraut is known for his association with his longtime mentor Ervin Somogyi, from Hungary, Kraut is considered to be a more affordable alternative. The base price is roughly $9,000 for one of Kraut’s instruments, but he remarks that upon completion a client will typically pay $12,000 to purchase one of his guitars. 

When building a guitar, Kraut says that there is always more to think about. He explains that two of the most important aspects include the structural integrity of the instrument as well as the actual sound that it will produce. He hopes to produce unique qualities in his craftsmanship, and he spends hours working with clients on perfecting each design. Kraut prides himself on never reproducing the same design on two different instruments, and penciled sketches of ideas can be found in nearly every inch of his studio.

For Kraut and craftsmen around the world, process is how he gets from an initial sketch to a beautiful, finished guitar.

Rural Lane County School Districts Affected By Loss of Eugene 4J from Lane ESD

Source: KEZI

The Lane Education Service District was notified on November 1 that the Eugene School District plans to opt out of their contract and seek financial independence for the 2014-15 school year. 

Each year, the sixteen districts in Lane ESD vote on what educational services they would like to see provided. The options vary each year, depending on what is needed at each district. The districts then select which services they want at each school based on a unit cost. 

The decision for Eugene 4J to quit Lane ESD, however, means a projected loss of approximately $5.4 million. Budgets for educational services are allotted to schools based on how many total students are enrolled in the combined districts. With 16,000 students, the Eugene School District is currently the largest to use services from Lane ESD. Lane ESD has a total budget of roughly $16.6 million, which means that the budget for next year would be cut by nearly 33 percent if Eugene 4J were to finalize its decision. 

Their announcement to opt out of the contract cannot be made official until the beginning of March. Many of the smaller districts that operate through Lane ESD, though, are already preparing for the projected impact. 

“This decision would make it more challenging to add some things that we’ve lost over the years,” said Tony Scurto, superintendent of the Pleasant Hill School District in Lane County. 

Educational services that have previously been cut from his district, without any foreseeable budget to be reinstated, include: business classes, forestry classes, and their own transportation service. Two of the total four schools that were once in the district have been closed as well. 

Scurto, who oversees 900 students, believes that Eugene 4J’S decision will make budgeting for next year even more challenging. He says Pleasant Hill projects a loss of roughly $36,000 per year, which would be the equivalent salary of an educational assistant.  

“Unfortunately, with state funding in the last decade, this further takes away the cooperative spirit that should be involved in with making opportunities better for every student,” said Scurto. 

Carol Knobbe, assistant superintendent at Lane ESD, said Eugene 4J planned to leave the district because they wanted more control over the dollars that they generated. According to Knobbe, Eugene 4J believes that the overall revenue should have been divided strictly by student count. 

“Our framework has always been about what’s good for all kids and all districts in the county,” said Knobbe. 

Core services provided to every school are technology and school improvement. Optional services include special education classes, school psychologists and various business services. 

These service orders for each district will be due on March 1, 2014. That date is also when Eugene must give final notice that they will no longer use the services provided by Lane ESD. If they withdraw their funding, however, Knobbe believes it will be noticed across other local districts when it comes time for funding. 

“There would be a monetary impact on the other districts for next year,” said Knobbe. “A number of our costs will go up.” 

Knobbe worries that there may be a shrinking in the core services provided to smaller districts with the projected budget loss. This would be a severe hit considering how much lower the overall budget is for these districts.

One question that has yet to be settled is whether or not the current open enrollment policy will still apply to students in the Eugene district. The policy allows students that reside in one district to attend any of the other schools within Lane ESD. 

This policy is able to help smaller, more rural schools increase enrollment and obtain more financial flexibility. This works, according to Scurto, because the only way to increase revenue is to increase enrollment. 

Lane ESD hopes to keep this policy in order to help smaller districts like Lowell or McKenzie recover from the losses suffered by Eugene seeking financial independence.    

It’s unclear whether the Eugene School District will continue to cooperate with the other districts in Lane County for program planning.

Knobbe, however, remains optimistic. 

“As an education service, I don’t think we would ever have interest in shutting the door in the relationship with a district,” said Knobbe. 

While Eugene 4J may still ask to use some of the services provided by Lane ESD, they will not be allowed to provide any weight on what the actual services will be. Those decisions would be made entirely by the remaining districts within Lane ESD. 

Some districts believe Eugene 4J’s decision to seek financial independence may also alleviate previous tension between big districts and small districts. 

“I think they would prefer to have all districts be a part of the educational service district,” said Knobbe. “But I think that the change in philosophy could make things be more cooperative in the long run.”