Building Schools

The 4J school district has a golden opportunity to do right by both students and parents in our community, by adopting a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the $300 million in new school construction funded by the recently approved bond.

CBAs don’t add anything to the cost of construction, but they do guarantee that the benefit of the work stays in our community. That’s why the Lane County Commissioners voted adopt a CBA for the new courthouse — it guarantees jobs go to local people, with special effort to provide jobs for veterans, women and workers of color.

The 4J district should also use the CBA to create pre-apprenticeship training for 4J high school students interested in going into the building trades. We have a unique opportunity to work with the building trades unions to create a training program that will give graduates an employer-recognized credential, will give them access to salaried apprenticeship slots and will equip them for jobs that often pay better than those of college graduates — and ours would be the first such CBA in the state.  

The 4J bond creates the perfect opportunity to launch this new program, and the construction economy is booming, making this good timing for students entering apprenticeships. The school district should take advantage of this unique opportunity to create more living-wage jobs for Eugene families and to provide interested students a path to challenging, intellectually rigorous and well-paying careers.

Gordon Lafer

4J School Board candidate