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Old 02-13-2020, 01:43 PM
11 posts, read 41,679 times
Reputation: 18


My husband and I (and toddler) are considering a move to the Eugene area. We would like to know people's thoughts on the following:

1) Public school system - Does anyone have children in the public school system and how would they rate/review their experiences?

2) Where are the best areas to live for families within the Eugene/Springfield areas?

3) How are the neighboring rural areas? Any places better than others that are still within commuting distance to Eugene and family-friendly?

Just a little background...both my husband and I were raised in Albuquerque NM, however, lived in Hillsboro OR for 6 years but we made the mistake of moving back to NM. We are regretting our move to NM from Oregon. We love Oregon and all of the outdoor recreations it offers, but the Portland area has become very expensive and is very crowded and so, here we are, researching Eugene. Any input is appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:29 AM
Location: North Idaho
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The state of Oregon is not famous for the quality of the school system. Eugene is one of the more liberal cities in Oregon.

I like all of the small villages strung along the McKenzie highway, but I would be surprised if they have excellent schools. Although it is possible for a small town to have a good school. The elementary school in Tumalo is excellent and Tumalo barely qualifies as a wide spot in the road. (population 488 )
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:23 AM
Location: WA
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I grew up in Eugene and moved away long ago. But I still have family in the area. Most people would probably consider the 4J school district in Eugene to be the best. It certainly has the most resources and highest rated schools. It covers most of Eugene including all the most affluent parts of the city and is the biggest district in the area by far. Springfield has a separate school district, as does Bethel which is a more working class part of Eugene on the western side. 4J extends into some rural areas along the southern and southwestern hills outside town, but beyond that is mostly going to be smaller rural school districts that are going tend to be more struggling and more insular because of the lack of adequate state funding for education.

You can peruse school rating sites like Niche to figure out which schools are more highly rated and which aren't. But those patterns mostly just follow demographics and affluence. Like everywhere else, the more upscale parts of Eugene are going to have more highly rated schools on paper, simply because they have a more stable population and less social issues to deal with which tend to bring down test score averages. Doesn't mean the actual schools and teachers are any better.

If it were me, I'd locate in Eugene proper, somewhere in the 4J district, and just go by the character of the neighborhood and local schools. The South Eugene HS attendance area is probably the most affluent, it covers the downtown, university area, and south hills. Sheldon HS covers the newer suburbs across the river to the Northeast. Churchill HS covers the suburbs to the southwest. and North Eugene covers the mostly unincorporated area along River Road to the North. The South Eugene and Sheldon areas are probably the most affluent and highly rated at the HS level. South Eugene is the only Eugene area HS that keeps up with the top schools in the Portland metro area in terms of things like national merit scholars and national rankings. Sheldon is the only one that keeps up in things like football. I don't know how much that filters down to the elementary level.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:36 AM
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I raised my daughter in Eugene and removed her from the 4J system when she was almost out of middle school. The middle school she attended was sued by parents three times for rampant out of control bullying. It is in an affluent area and has a new gorgeous building. I believe schools are like churches, it's not really about the building. There was also bullying and shaming in her elementary school that I didn't believe until I witnessed it happening to a friend's child. I am disappointed in 4J and in Eugene in general. The city has not dealt with many issues as they are deadlocked between the liberal and conservative so most issues are just debated to death. Bandaids are popular here. The schools are insanely well funded. Our property taxes in Eugene were insane and most of the tax were bond issues for the schools so the schools should be stellar. Much teaching to the test. Many people that we know have moved their kids to private schools or started homeschooling. After dealing with vagrants camping and littering on my property, no police support and a general failure to move forward by Eugene, I moved to Springfield. So far, I have been very happy here. I do live in a fairly affluent area of Springfield. I had to call the police once as I thought there was a prowler. Turns out it was a crazy raccoon but the police arrived in mere minutes. We waited almost five days in Eugene when we had an extremely aggressive vagrant living in our arborvitae attacking people driving or walking by. It's much further away but I have heard good things about the Mapleton schools and a little closer Fern Ridge seems pretty good.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:50 PM
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I have 3 kids in the 4j schools and I've been mostly happy. Class sizes could be better, but they have all had great teachers. My youngest is not a traditional learner and his school has done a good job keeping him challenged and happy.

I would not live outside Eugene proper, for lots of reasons, the schools being only one of them. To me the point of living in a small city is to be able to access the city amenities easily. I had had enough of distant suburbs by the time we relocated.

Housing in the better neighborhoods is not cheap. And I'm originally from NY, so I know from pricey real estate. Eugene desperately needs more housing and it shows in the prices. Do your research before you choose Eugene as a cheaper Portland alternative.

I live in the South Hills and my kids go to South Eugene HS and its feeder schools. Sheldon is also fine, as is Churchill. I don't know much about North or Bethel. I have friends who love Springfield, but I don't know anything about the schools. The downtown is getting spiffier all the time, which is nice.
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:26 PM
11 posts, read 41,679 times
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Thank you, everyone, for your in-depth replies. It helps as we research places to live.
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