Budget cuts put Oregon in jeopardy of losing half-billion dollars

6/28/2010: From Bill Graves in the Oregonian, last week:

Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s order for state budget cuts this week puts Oregon in jeopardy of losing a half billion dollars in federal stimulus money for education.

State leaders say they will make sure that doesn’t happen. But that means they either must get a waiver from federal rules or raise at least $14 million for the state’s community colleges and universities and about $3 million for public school special education.

To keep that money, the state must maintain its financial support for public schools and higher education at or above 2006 levels – what government calls a sufficient “maintenance of effort.”

 The governor on Tuesday ordered 9 percent across-the-board budget cuts to adjust to a $577 million hole in the budget resulting from the recession and declining state revenue. His order shaves state support for higher education in next year’s budget below 2006 levels by about $32 million.

State higher education funding this year topped the 2006 federal minimum by about $18 million so the state may be able to shift that much money into next year’s allocation for colleges and universities. That would leave the state $14 million shy of what it needs to meet federal requirements for higher education.

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