Higher Education Scholarship Bonds

Full Report

Executive Summary
Press Release

 

Draft City Club Report Recommends Voters Approve
Constitutional Amendment to Create Higher Education Fund


Bonds are a politically viable way to generate desperately needed
higher education funding.

(Portland, Ore.) The City Club of Portland today released a draft research report that recommends Oregon voters amend the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature to issue bonds to support post-secondary education and career training. The measure will appear on the November 4 ballot.

If approved by City Club members, the recommendation will become one of the earliest and highest-profile endorsements about the measure, which Oregonians will vote on in November.

During a four-month process, a committee of nine City Club member-volunteers interviewed witnesses on both sides of the issue and reviewed relevant documents. The full draft report, which includes a witness list and complete bibliography, is available online at http://www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-bonds.

“Bonds provide a mechanism to accomplish something the legislature has been unable or unwilling to prioritize up to this point,” the report states. “Bonds allow the State to spread the burden of repayment over many years, rather than forcing the legislature to make a large up-front allocation that could potentially reduce funding for other programs.”
The measure would create an “Oregon Student Opportunity Fund” that the Legislature would be authorized to seed with money raised by bonds. Revenue from the fund would then go toward providing financial aid to students.

The Legislature referred this Constitutional Amendment to the ballot at the urging of State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

“This measure has the potential to truly be a game changer for our state. The possibility of trade school or higher education benefits Oregon in myriad ways, and this ballot measure is an opportunity for Oregonians to show their support for keeping it affordable,” Committee Chair Charles McGee said. “After 30 years of declining funding, the state needs a new model for higher education, and a public endowment is a viable solution.”

Seven of the member-volunteers on the committee endorsed the recommendation. However, two members signed a minority report recommending voters reject the proposal as an inappropriate use of general obligation bonds.

Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Charles McGee (chair), Abby Coppock (lead writer), Beth Crane, Ulla Dosedal, April Ruth Hoffmann, Ian McDonald and Christopher Stadler. Members in the minority were Krystine McCants (vice chair) and Eric Fruits. Rob Brostoff and Roger Eiss served as the committee’s research advisers.

City Club members will debate and vote on this and nine other election-related recommendations at a “Ballot-Palooza” from 5:30pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Village Ballroom at the Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St.). The event will be open to the public, but only City Club members may vote on the recommendations. For more information on the event visit: http://bit.ly/BallotPalooza2014. Outcomes of the votes will be published on the City Club of Portland's website and reported in the City Club Bulletin, released August 26.

This year, City Club’s ballot measure research and recommendation will reach more Oregonians than ever before. Committees started their work earlier than in past election years in order to finish in time for the Club to place its adopted recommendations in the State Voters Pamphlet that will go out to all registered voters prior to the election.
City Club member-volunteers have researched more than 400 state and local ballot measures since 1916. City Club’s Research Board screened all researcher applicants for conflicts of interest, and participants affirmed that they are unbiased on the ballot measure they sought to study.

Four months ago, City Club of Portland chose to study nine statewide proposed ballot measures. Today we are also releasing a report on IP 52: Religious Liberties and IP 10: Castle Doctrine, both of which did not make it to the ballot. Given national attention to these and similar laws, however, both these issues could return to Oregon someday either on the ballot or in the Legislature. City Club therefore released these two reports to inform discussion about future efforts. To read the press release and report visit: http://www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-religious and www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-castledoc.   

City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for everyone. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit www.pdxcityclub.org or call 503-228-7231. Follow us on twitter @pdxcityclub and on facebook.

Committee Members

Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Charles McGee (chair), Abby Coppock (lead writer), Beth Crane, Ulla Dosedal, April Ruth Hoffmann, Ian McDonald and Christopher Stadler. Members in the minority were Krystine McCants (vice chair) and Eric Fruits. Rob Brostoff and Roger Eiss served as the committee’s research advisers.