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Apr-16-2007 16:37printcomments

Governor Urges Legislature to Fund Capital Improvements for Oregon Universities

Governor tours Portland State University and meets with students to discuss connection between badly needed maintenance and improvements and academic opportunity.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski
Photo: Tim King

(PORTLAND) - On Monday, during a tour of Lincoln Hall at Portland State University, Governor Ted Kulongoski urged state lawmakers to restore capital construction funding for urgently needed maintenance and improvements for Oregon’s universities and community colleges to the 2007-2009 budget. “In order to compete in the global economy, we need to have the most skilled, highly educated workforce in the country. We can’t do that if our classrooms are crumbling, our labs have limited capacity and our students can’t access the coursework they need to graduate,” the Governor told a group of students during a roundtable discussion. “We need to stop the trend of disinvestment in our colleges and universities. And that begins with the funding levels I proposed in my budget.” Under the Governor’s proposed budget, state universities would receive $325 million through state bonding for construction projects, including $89 million for deferred maintenance and seismic remediation.

That funding was reduced by 85 percent to $50 million under the initial budget released by the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee last month.

The Ways and Means Committee is currently examining potential revisions to their budget before sending it to the full Legislature for consideration. “The Senate took a landmark step forward last week, passing the Shared Responsibility Model so we can make higher education truly affordable for all Oregonians,” the Governor said. “But affordability is an empty promise without first rate faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, modern buildings and adequate maintenance. That’s why we must invest in our buildings and our students and faculty.” The Governor began his visit to Portland State with a tour of Lincoln Hall, which was originally constructed in 1911 and was given to the University in 1949 because it was deemed unusable by Portland Public Schools.

The building was condemned by the city several years ago, but continues to be used for classes under a waiver due to the lack of classroom space at the University. “How can we expect our students to excel when they are attending class in a building with tiles falling off the ceiling and walls that are compromised?” the Governor asked. “With hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance across the Oregon University System, we simply cannot push these projects off to another budget, another legislature or another generation of students.” In addition to Lincoln Hall, the Governor’s proposed budget would pay for critically needed improvement projects across the state, including:

University of Oregon - Maintenance and seismic improvements to Fenton Hall, which was constructed in 1905 and requires replacement of heating system, doors, windows and its plumbing.

Oregon State University – Reconstruction of the university’s electrical grid, which failed in March leaving the campus blacked out for two days.

Western Oregon University – Seismic upgrades to the Humanities and Social Science facilities, including mechanical and electrical systems deficiencies. In addition to capital investments in the universities, the Governor’s budget includes $86 million for capital construction for Oregon’s 17 community colleges. The Co-Chairs budget reduced that investment by 90% for capitol expenditures The Governor also applauded the action last week by the Senate Revenue Committee, who voted to restore capital investments cut in the Co-chair’s budget, increasing the level of capital construction bonding to 80 percent of the Governor’s budget.

The Governor will continue fighting to ensure that the final state budget for the next biennium makes the needed investments in the state’s universities and community colleges.




Comments

Internal Comments are Closed on this story.



Hank Ruark April 18, 2007 9:44 am (Pacific time)

To all: Pls note Raise still avoids presenting precisely the right to speak about which he complains in educators...per my early invitation to discuss privately via ID to Editor. I repeat that invitation, here again, and submit that continuance of complex dialog should be via face-to-face rather than distort open channel via anonymous, thus always questionable, status. IF he has qualifications other than feelings, let him state them openly here or via ID to Editor.(Mine on record.) Dialog is dialog, requiring valuation of who-says-what, with what support. That's what I ask of him now: from what background and with what basis in experience and study and operations do you speak ? Fair enough, right ?? Otherwise how do we know who he speaks for, and why ?


Raise Tuition April 18, 2007 9:30 am (Pacific time)

May I suggest reading Rod Paige's (former U.S. Secretary of Education) new book titled "The War Against Hope: How Teachers' Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and Endanger Public Education." The unions, he writes, are "arrogant" and "destructive." They defend incompetent teachers and oppose merit pay for teachers who excel. "No special interest is more destructive than the teachers' unions, as they oppose nearly every meaningful reform," he writes.


Raise Tuition April 18, 2007 8:15 am (Pacific time)

These so-called "incremental steps" to improve the public system you mention, have been going on for decades now, and all they have accomplished is to provide for a continued slide into mediocrity. To all, be aware that the record of public school accomplishment on average (not all locations to be sure) has been in steady decline since the 1960's. Just here in Oregon, more and more data is acknowledging how private schools and homeschooling is out-performing the public system by leaps and bounds. Once again, when public school teachers, that are parents, when they have available funds, send their kids to private schools. Why? Because contrary to what Hank Ruark purports, they know the public system is irreversibly broken. Just look at the news stories that come out: High school drop out rates, expulsions and suspensions, failing test scores, college grads can't read, and on and on. You don't continue to hire and pay the same contractor's who keep building inferior houses, you fire them. Same goes with the teachers and administrators, fire them, otherwise not only will they continue to harm our children, they will bankrupt us! Think! If you had a kid in a low performing school, and you were offered a voucher to pay for a private school, what would you do? I love one story that really sends home the fact about the NEA and associated unions: In Florida, 63% of black 4th graders could not pass a dumb-downed reading test. The NEA said they needed more money to solve the problem. It's not about the money people! It's your tax money. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says you have a right to a public financed education. What we have now is a cancer that has metastasized, and a bunch of out of step individuals who are telling you to ignore the disease and for you to continue to trust them, because they know whats best for you, because , gee, look at their credentials. Sure!


Hank Ruark April 18, 2007 5:44 am (Pacific time)

To all: Education is greatest benefit of any democracy when well-done for all. We surely have problems in our system, as I know from 50 years within it at most levels. R.T. has good points needing real study and action -- way to win progress is not to kill off system we have, impossible to do anyhow, but to make many incremental adjustments at every level and every way. "Private" can serve only a small portion of our citizens; "religious" however defined same-thing. SO "common school" is STILL the "only way to go" --and we will get precisely what we deserve by what we work hard to build for our kids !! The Founders knew something profound when they settled on the "common school" concept.


Hank Ruark April 17, 2007 5:24 pm (Pacific time)

Raise:
You accuse NEA and moveon.org of being "extremist""corrupt", "incompetent" and "dangerous".
IF so, you can surely cite printed information from an authentic source or sources, or authoritative research by competent non-political agency or two.
If so, trot 'em out...this is my last to you, and truly intended as full welcome to such authentic information in lieu of obvious strong personal feeling, disguised as "opinion", which to be valuable must be based on something better than what you feel a la "belly-button".
I have some of that latter kind, too, from experience in education literally from K through grad-school as teacher, and years also as observer published with whatever I wrote open to review by other educators.
But in deference to others, will await yours direct via ID-to Editor...and thank you for chance to make statement.


Hank Ruark April 17, 2007 3:15 pm (Pacific time)

Raise:
Easy to talk, or write comment while concealing self...which does not speak well for the kind of education you advocate.
If you would ID-self, then you and I can address this in depth properly and privately, with due regard for "right to speak" instead of empty words ??
Strong opinion as you wrote should be backed by experience and reality, not simple sloganeering.
I know of and advocate myself for home schooling for some, and am NOT negative to great changes in education, badly needed from K to HS Grad and Super-Grad...but this is not the way to gain any change.
SO Put UP or SHUT Up...
Id-self and we can continue via positive work to gain the advantage we both seek...but do not propagandize here, please, without adequate information on right to speak built on solid educational experience.


Raise Tuition April 17, 2007 1:59 pm (Pacific time)

My credentials are plentiful, but my thesis is based on observations that only require common sense. My opinion is for the layperson out there in reader-land, afterall they are the taxpayer that is getting short-changed. The public school system needs a complete revamping, and the most effective way to achieve that is to provide vouchers. If the public system cannot compete with the private schools (which it cannot), then so be it. There are millions of students who have eshewed public schools for private as well as homeschooling, and have prospered. It's highly unfair that they must also pay double, i.e. , they also pay for the failing public system. At one time it worked, but no longer. There is no difference between outfits like the NEA and extremist groups like moveon.org. They are dangerous, incompetent, and thoroughly corrupt.


Hank Ruark April 17, 2007 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

Raise: If yoou have the guts, ID-self to Editor and I'll be glad to destroy your distorted, perverted view of reality. Don't forget to include any professional achievements which fit you to make such wild, wooly and wilfully misleading statements.


Raise tuition April 17, 2007 1:04 pm (Pacific time)

Problem solved. Except for the moronic education one gets from moronic instructors. Private schools and colleges are the way for the future. Dissolve public school system best cure, and get lower taxes, with the savings going to pay for private schooling. Let supply and demand set the market for education. Only the most competent will survive and thrive. There is a reason why a significant percentage of public school teachers send their kids to private schools (when they have the funds). National Education Association is the root reason for the irreversible decay that has infected public educational system.


Hank Ruark April 16, 2007 7:46 pm (Pacific time)

"Higher education" becomes an unattainable dream wrapped in a promise: "Sometime later...not now" for any future leadership we may possibly create here, given this deplorable status quo. Meanwhile other states sweep ahead of us, all the while our corporate tax breaks and $10 minumum laugher-payment, unchanged for decades, makes US the laugher-stock of many other states.

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