To the Editor,
In the upcoming election, Oregon voters will face decisions about two measures of critical importance: Measure 41 and 48. The Board of Directors of Central Oregon Community College urge you to cast a no vote because we believe the approach taken to government accountability by these two measures is flawed.
Measure 41 could cause losses to the general fund as high as $792 million between 2007 and 2009. Based on prior allocations of funds by the state, analysts estimate a $77 million cut to our 17 community colleges and seven universities.
Under Measure 41, students will be forced to pay higher tuition and higher fees. Community colleges around the state would suffer and community college students, who are often the least able to shoulder the burden of tuition increases, could be denied access to programs that help them gain the knowledge and skills necessary to support their families and make meaningful contributions to society.
Measure 48, the so-called TABOR proposal, ties spending caps to population growth and inflation and will insert this flawed formula into Oregon's Constitution. The measure could have a multibillion-dollar impact on services such as health care, higher education, K-12 schools, and public safety.
Furthermore, Measure 48 will drive community colleges around the state to raise tuition, cut programs or close campuses. It happened in Colorado where a similar law caused community college tuition to skyrocket by more than 21 percent. We cannot let that happen in Oregon. Now is not the time to significantly raise tuition or drastically cut educational programming at COCC. In fact, as Madras, Culver, Metolius and Crooked River Ranch and the other communities in the COCC District are experiencing huge growth, a changed economic base, and increased demands for a well-educated workforce, it is time to expand programs and make them more accessible and more affordable to patrons in the region.
If passed, Measures 41 and 48 could have a detrimental impact on programs currently under way at COCC as well. Collaberative efforts with regional high schools could stop, the joint development of programs with Oregon State University could end, and expansion of programs in nursing, the culinary arts, and aeronautics halted. Plans to construct a branch campus in Madras could be compromised.
Please join members of the board of directors in protecting the healthy vitality of COCC by voting NO on Measures 41 and 48.
No public funds were expended to create or print this document.
Don Reeder, chairman
COCC Board of Directors