Letters to the Editor
Community college funding below what's needed
For more than 50 years, students have been investing in themselves and their futures by enrolling at Clackamas Community College. Did you know that the average associate degree graduate from CCC will earn $10,800 more a year than someone with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, this amounts to about $378,000.
The community has also invested in the college. In 2014, voters passed a $90-million bond measure to update and expand college classrooms and labs. You may have noticed our new building on the Harmony Community Campus and beginning stages of construction of our Industrial Technical Center on the Oregon City campus.
This spring, the Oregon Legislature also invested in CCC with two matching grants. The college is receiving $8 million toward our DeJardin/Pauling Science Complex and another $8 million toward the replacement of our Student Services & Community Commons. These two projects will remove obstacles that can delay or even prevent degree completion.
We are appreciative that our elected officials recognize the importance of the college's bond projects, having matched $32 million in total. This funding helps close the gap between our $155 million of identified high-priority projects and the $90-million bond.
However, community colleges in general received disparate funding compared to public universities in the 2017-19 legislative budget. The Community College Support Fund increased just 1.1 percent over current service level, while the university budget was increased 6.3 percent. Community colleges will receive $570 million, far below the $634 million we need to prevent cuts.
We want to thank our local legislators who stood up for our students and our community by voting against the budget and championing for more funding for community colleges. Thank you, Senator Ferrioli, Representative Kennemer, Representative Bynum, Senator Thatcher, Representative Lewis, Representative Meek and Representative Parrish for your carrying the message that the legislature needs to invest in the Community College Support Fund.
Clackamas Community College Board of Education:
Greg Chaimov (Zone 1, Milwaukie)
Dave Hunt (Zone 3; Gladstone)
Chris Groener (Zone 4, Oregon City)
Ron Adams (Zone 5, West Linn Wilsonville)
Jane Reid (Zone 6, Estacada)