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Byline: The Register-Guard

Eugene School Board OKs

`status-quo-plus' budget

With no public comment, the Eugene School Board on Wednesday approved a 2005-06 budget that keeps existing staff and programs intact and earmarks more dollars for narrowing the achievement gap and strengthening the district's poorest neighborhood schools.

"It is status-quo-plus, so often that doesn't generate much (comment)," finance director Hillary Kittleson said.

The $315.1 million budget includes a general operating fund of $132.1 million, a 4.8 percent increase over the current year. While the Legislature has yet to agree on how much to spend on public schools, the district assumed a statewide funding level of $5.1 billion - probably a conservative guess, based on discussions in Salem.

Thanks largely to November's renewal of a local option tax levy, a slightly better outlook for the state budget and an improving economy that has boosted tax collections and interest earnings, the district will avoid cuts and will be able to add staff positions in the next biennium.

The approximate total for new staff, programs and capital projects in 2005-06 is more than $3.2 million, although about $2 million of that will be funded for only two years at most.

Motorists diverted while crews battle house fire

SPRINGFIELD - No one was injured in a house fire on Game Farm Road on Wednesday, but motorists were briefly diverted from the area while firefighters battled the blaze. One lane at the east end of Belt Line Road also was closed.

Three trucks from Springfield Fire and Safety and one from the Eugene Fire Department responded to 3282 Game Farm Road at 6:23 p.m. after a neighbor reported flames shooting from the roof of the house, Springfield Battalion Chief Mark Walker said.

Firefighters arrived at 6:27 p.m. and searched the one-story home. The sole occupant, who was cooking in the kitchen at the time, escaped after his neighbor alerted him to the fire, Walker said.

The fire began above the kitchen and spread to the attic throughout the home. Walker said the department is investigating whether the blaze was cooking related.

No damage estimate was available Wednesday night.

REGION

Person of interest sought in weekend robberies

JUNCTION CITY - Detectives are looking for a person of interest in a pair of weekend home-invasion robberies here.

A 34-year-old woman called the Lane County Sheriff's Office at 2:35 a.m. Sunday and said a man armed with a gun was inside her home on Noraton Road. She said he demanded drugs. When she told him she didn't have any, he stole a wallet and left.

The sheriff's office received a second call at 4:45 a.m. from a 42-year-old man who said someone broke into his home on West First Street while he slept and beat him on the head with a gun. The homeowner was able to escape to a neighbor's house and call 911.

On Wednesday, the sheriff's office identified Anthony Michael Giamanco, 33, as a "person of interest" in both cases. He is 6 feet tall, white with brown hair and blue eyes. He weighs about 200 pounds.

The robbery victims described the suspect as a white man around 5-feet-10-inches or 5-feet-11-inches tall. One said he was thin, with blue eyes and a dark beard graying at the mouth. He was wearing a leather jacket, knit cap and oversized glasses. The other victim said his attacker was about 180 pounds with short hair, wearing dark clothing.

Investigators asked anyone with information to call the sheriff's office at 682-4150.

- Register-Guard reports
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:General News; METRO
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 16, 2005
Words:593
Previous Article:Fire at former school called suspicious.
Next Article:School board says yes to funding for DARE - but for the last time.


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