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Blog: The fight for a fair budget continues
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
The fight for a better budget in Salem continues.
The proposed budget, as outlined last week by the co-chairs of the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee, just doesn’t recognize the critical role the community colleges are playing right now as an educational safety net for Oregonians who have lost their jobs in this economic melt-down.
If the co-chairs’ funding level for community colleges were to become reality, community colleges could not continue serving thousands of Oregonians relying on them during these difficult economic times. We are seeing the largest enrollment increases of any sector of education in Oregon as displaced workers turn to us for the training and education they need to get back into the work place.
Spring term enrollment is up almost 18 percent, year over year, for the independent community colleges. Meanwhile, the co-chair’s funding level amounts to an 18 percent cut to state support for community colleges – a far larger percentage cut than K-12 or the Oregon University System face.
Bottom line: this budget would make it unsustainable for the community colleges to keep serving Oregon families affected by the recession. The co-chairs’ budget likely would mean devastating cuts such as those seen in Oregon’s last recession in 2002-03, when college enrollment statewide dropped by 60,000 students annually.
To learn more about PCC and the 2009 Legislature, click here.