The Eagle Point School District has cut two school days — March 19 and 20 — to help offset losses in state funding.

The Eagle Point School District has cut two school days — March 19 and 20 — to help offset losses in state funding.

Up to 10 additional days could be cut starting April 16, depending on whether the state Legislature allocates federal stimulus or state reserve funds to schools, Eagle Point district officials said Friday.

"We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst," said Eagle Point schools Superintendent Cynda Rickert. "If the worst comes, it will be more prudent that we started cutting in March."

The Legislature is expected to make some decisions about appropriations by early next week. The Joint Ways and Means Committee on Friday approved $300 million in cuts to the state general fund to deal with a projected deficit in the current two-year budget. That was less of a cut than first proposed, but educators are awaiting final approval to see what the impact will be on schools.

The Eagle Point cancellations will extend spring break for the district's more than 4,000 students by two days, with the break stretching from March 19 to March 27.

Canceling classes for two days will save the district about $196,000 in salaries, utilities and other expenses associated with operating schools. The district already had trimmed about $600,000 from its budget for this year because of declining state revenues.

The district also has canceled early release on Wednesdays beginning April 1, making those days full days to offset the instruction that will be lost March 19 and 20.

Other possible closure days are April 16, 17 and 24; May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; and June 9 and 10. The information was sent home to families in students' Friday folders and included on the district's Web site.

April 16 and 17 are parent-teacher conference days, so instruction would not be affected by those cancellations.

Eagle Point is one of the few districts in Southern Oregon that does not need union approval for canceled days. Nonetheless, district officials did consult with the unions before deciding which days to cut, Rickert said.

Janean Nodine, Eagle Point union president, said the union appreciated that the district was responsive to its feedback on proposed cuts.

"Most people are glad that the two days coincide with the Ashland School District," Nodine said. "We are hopeful that if Medford cuts days they will be the same days for families who work in opposite districts."

"The reality is, on the face of it, these are more challenging times than in 2002-2004 when we went through big cuts," Rickert said. "These are much deeper. These are uncharted waters for us. Our district has chosen to be hopeful, but we developed a plan so we are not just waiting."

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.