Resolution on Higher Ed Funding 2019

Resolution on Budget and Revenue Presentation to Western Oregon University Board of Trustees
by Western Oregon University Federation of Teachers

WHEREAS, since the passage of Measure 5 in 1990 Oregon has consistently underfunded its schools and failed to adopt a means of sustainably paying for public services, and

WHEREAS, adequately funding public education is the best investment this state can make to strengthen our economy, create thriving communities, and improve the quality of life for every Oregonian, and

WHEREAS, in her inaugural address in January 2019, Governor Brown acknowledged “Higher education also needs to be more affordable and more accessible to Oregon families. . . [and] our current strong economy gives us the best chance in a generation to address persistent, structural challenges in our education system,” and

WHEREAS, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) recommendation included a $186 million increase in the Public University Support Fund (PUSF) for a total of $923 million for the 2019-21 biennium to keep tuition increases below 5 percent and enable increased investments in student services, advising, and other programs that will both increase retention and the time to graduation, and

WHEREAS, all seven public university presidents indicated that without an increase of at least $130 million, for a total investment of $867 million, universities will not be able to hold tuition below a 5 percent increase and risk either or both significant, double-digit, tuition increases and disruptive and unacceptable budget reductions, and

WHEREAS, the Governor’s investment budget proposal recognizes the need for additional revenue to total $856.9 million for the PUSF, and

WHEREAS, the Governor’s base budget for 2019-2021 includes no new revenue and only allocates $737 million for the PUSF, and

 

WHEREAS, all public universities will have to make up the legislative budget shortfalls from the state by raising tuition and make deep program cuts affecting the jobs of hundreds of hard-working, student-serving faculty and staff, which will reduce course offerings and services to students for each year of the next biennium, and

 

WHEREAS, each dollar allocated beyond base funding will go directly toward lowering tuition hikes, reducing student debt, enhancing academic and career advising and thus raising graduation rates, and expanding resources for underserved communities, and

 

WHEREAS, if Oregon is serious about addressing the challenges of reducing student debt, achieving greater economic fairness, and creating better opportunities for all Oregonians, we must increase funding and find stable state-level revenue across the education continuum from cradle to career, and

 

WHEREAS, nationally, 36 percent of 4-year college students are food insecure and 9 percent are homeless, and

 

WHEREAS, 38% of Oregon’s “hard to fill” vacancies require a bachelor’s or advanced degree, and

 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT The Western Oregon University Federation of Teachers calls on the Western Oregon University Board of Trustees to

 

  • make a formal recommendation to the Oregon Legislature to appropriate the revenue needed to sufficiently fund education across the continuum, and
  • specifically, to fund Oregon’s public universities at the $923 million level currently proposed by the HECC in order to increase degree completions and ensure more students of color, more low-income students, and more first generation college-goers succeed.