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Idea of not cutting community colleges again gains support

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On Wednesday, the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee – the Legislature’s budget-writers – came out with a proposal to hold Oregon’s 17 community colleges harmless for the last four months of the 2007-09 biennium.

I wondered how that would play out, so I sat in on a hearing of the Education Subcommittee of Ways and Means today.

What I saw was a lot of nodding heads up on the dais. The consensus of the subcommittee members seemed to be: That makes sense.

Community colleges where whacked once when the governor released his proposed budget in December, providing more funds for K-12 schools and the Oregon University System, and cutting funds for community colleges.

Community colleges look a second hit in January, when every state agency was asked to cut 1 percent. Making another cut now would be three times for community colleges and just twice for everyone else.

Sen. Rod Monroe had another reason to back community colleges: in a bad economy, community colleges help give people the skills to get a job, a better job, or to stave off a lay-off.

He called the community colleges, “a critical economic tool we have in this state.”

dana

About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »

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