Reallocation of state’s matching funds lead college to shift bond measure to May 2024
Measure aims to develop center for trades education
Oregon Coast Community College is proposing a new building – tentatively named the Center for Trades Education – to serve Lincoln County students, employers, and industry. The measure to fund the building, originally intended to appear on the May 2023 ballot in Lincoln County, has been rescheduled for the May 2024 election.
“One of the key elements that drove us to bring this proposal to the voters this year has changed,” reported Dave Price, OCCC’s Vice President of Engagement. “Since the summer of 2022, when we began discussing this May’s bond measure proposal, we’ve discussed the $8.14 million in matching funds from the State of Oregon. Recently, it became clear those funds have been reallocated and previously authorized projects for three community colleges, including Oregon Coast, were not carried forward as expected in the Department of Administrative Service’s budget request.” OCCC is refiling the project as a 2023-2025 capital funding request for the $8 million match.
Price said that the because the matching funds have appeared on the College’s ballot title and explanatory statement, and that hundreds of potential voters have already attended one or more of the college’s many public presentations held to date, College leadership decided to reschedule the ballot measure. “These folks have heard our commitment that their tax dollars, in the form of the $32 million our bonds would have raised for this project, would be matched by $8 million in state funds. If there’s any chance that we wouldn’t have been able to deliver on that expectation, we felt an obligation to wait for the next election cycle.”
Price added that the College is already working with agencies in Salem, and has solicited the support of Rep. David Gomberg and Sen. Dick Anderson to help ensure state-match funding will in fact be available in May 2024 election. But either way, pending Board approval, the College is confident it can craft alternative proposals reflecting the project’s scope in the event state match materializes as well as in a scenario where it does not.
Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, OCCC president, said the change to May 2024 is a mixed blessing. “While it’s true we’re discouraged by the potential delay of matching funds we’d been led to believe were available for this May’s election cycle, we are excited to have more time to engage with the community in planning what programs and expansions will be included. There’s more time to share how the County will benefit from this once-in-decades investment in career training for vital trades across Lincoln County.”
Ryslinge added that the OCCC Board of Education will vote on approving the May 2024 ballot measure at an upcoming meeting later in 2023.