Education was a major topic of discussion at the October Community Agencies meeting this week at the Chetco Senior Center.

School District 17-C Superintendent Dr. Paul Prevenas suggested the district should turn down what appears to be windfall funding from the federal government.

At the same time, Southwestern Oregon Community College District has decided to go out for a new bond for less money, said Peggy Goergen, associate dean of the district.

Commissioner Cheryl Thorp opened the discussion with a comment that the county was still waiting to hear about the status of Senate Bill 1608, which is designed to provide an additional $3.5 million a year in federal payments to the county (see related story above).

The bill, titled the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, was sold as a means of providing a stable source of funding for rural schools and counties.

Im amazed at the lack of awareness of the fact that this money wont actually come to the schools, said Prevenas.

In Oregon, the money earmarked for the schools will be offset by the states support of the schools. It will go directly to Salem, he said.

Prevenas said that in other states the schools will benefit, but not in Oregon. He said school districts are saying, Let the counties keep the money and provide needed services to the schools.

Give it to the counties so we can see the local benefit here in Curry instead of funneling more money to Salem, he said.

The discussion then switched to technology in the schools. Prevenas said the big focus at District 17-C this week has been technology.

Another two loads of new computers came in this week three big pallets to the middle school on Tuesday.

We got these computers for $750 apiece.

Goergen said technology has been the focus of SWOCC as well.

Were in the midst of a technology explosion, trying to teach people to use and install Server 2000, which has brought all of our computer up to date instead of five years behind.

Regarding the college districts new bond, Goergen said, We went out for $15 million last time. It will be $9 million now.

The main campus will get a $6 million science and technology building and Curry County will get a $3 million center in Brookings.

Goergen said the cost of the respective projects will be proportionate to the current tax base in the two counties.

She said the estimated property tax rate based on a local levy would be 12.4 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

This is equal to $12.40 per year for a home assessed at $100,000, she said.