For Curry County citizens considering advocacy, please remember Curry Campus during this Legislative Session. After being a part of the Southwestern Oregon Community College District for a few decades, we would hope to have a well-funded Curry Campus, Sadly, the funding is not being budgeted for our local Curry Campus. Why not? The taxes are collected in Curry County but most of that money is not used for Curry Campus?? Why not?
It is important to recognize that Southwestern Oregon Community College District collects over $2 million in taxes from our Curry County citizens while budgeting only about $850,000 for Curry Campus operations. The College District's Board of Education is currently operating with an at-large voting policy which essentially limits the representation on the SOCC Board of Directors. Essentially, one board seat is not representation on a five or more person board of education. An at-large voting policy is being challenged by the ACLU at the City of Fort Bragg, CA. Ultimately, this will provide the legal premise across the country for equity of funding. We are hopeful that the State of Oregon is on board with representation on Community College District boards especially when taxation and representation are in the mix together.
Please contact our State Legislators with your concerns about this ongoing funding disparity which handicaps Curry County's community and economic development. In fact, the taxes collected in Curry County on behalf of the College District were used as part of SOCC's marketing effort to create a pipeline of students to Coos Campus--and student housing is part of the business plan of the main campus, during an affordable housing crisis. Until such a time as there is affordable housing for students, Curry taxpayers will continue to be duped into this taxation with barely any representation conundrum.
The Oregon State Legislature is looking at things that could make a big difference. We hope to see changes with regards to the problems to our college district's choice to take over a million dollars a year annually from the citizens of Curry County with very little return on our investment for Curry citizens at Curry Campus. The State of Oregon is listening like never before. That being said, our State legislators are: Representative Court Boice and Senator David Brock Smith. Please let them know that Curry County's taxes should stay in Curry County and help develop a program at Curry Campus.
Thursday, March 9,, 3:00 P.M. House Room F, there will be an Informational Meeting and invited speakers only giving a presentation, Overview of Community Colleges, by the Oregon Community College Association To view a live stream of the meeting go to: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Committees/HHED/Overview Please see the Oregon Legislature’s website for information on how to submit written testimony or register to testify on bills scheduled for a public hearing.
Also, please note, Oregon Senate Bill 423 -- The Oregon Senate is also considered a bill (SB 423) during a Work Session that was held March 1st. This is an important bill as it is relating to composition Boards of post-secondary institutions of education and requires that faculty and nonfaculty staff members of governing board at public universities are voting members of the board. Please consider advocating that Community Colleges be given the same considerations.
If you need additional information regarding this, please let me know,
Professor Ray "Skip" Hunter
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