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Idea of not cutting community colleges again gains support
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
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.”