PCC supporters go #RedForEd, march for students to improve education funding
Portland Community College President Mark Mitsui joined thousands of Oregon educators to advocate for better funding for education in the state.
It was the Oregon Education Association’s “March for Our Students” on Feb. 18, which attracted large groups of students and supporters to the Capitol Building.
Dressed in a sea of red to honor #RedForEd, the crowd asked the Oregon Legislature to better fund K-12, community college and universities. Community colleges are asking for $787 million for their 2019-21 budget.
Without that level of funding, it’ll be tough on the 17 institutions. For example, two thirds of PCC students experience food insecurity and 13 percent have been homeless in the past year. In 2017-19, PCC had to deficit spend $10 million just to balance the budget due to a lack of adequate state funding. At all of the community colleges combined, deficit spending hit $33 million.
But with a full budget, Oregon’s 17 community colleges will double the number of career-technical graduates (7,900) annually. In addition to expanding support services, PCC will open more seats in healthcare programs and respond to industry training needs in business, manufacturing, microelectronics and computer technology.
“Community colleges are a fundamental part of our educational pipeline, with proven programs to problem solve many of our region’s needs — if properly and realistically funded by the state legislature,” Mitsui said.
To make a difference, register for the upcoming “PCC Day at the Capitol.”