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Oregon Board Approves Cutting Two Teacher-Education Programs

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Oregon's board of higher education has authorized the elimination of the college of education at Oregon State University and the teacher-education division at the University of Oregon.

The board voted unanimously March 1 to follow the recommendations of Chancellor Thomas Bartlett, as proposed by the university presidents, to help meet the university system's cutback of $85.6 million for the fiscal 1992-93 biennium. The chancellor will present the plan to the legislature this week.

Barring any legislative action to halt the plan or to enact a new tax measure, the board directed university officials to begin implementing the budget proposals and issuing notices of termination and transfers. Information about the timing of the dismantling of the programs was unavailable last week.

Gov. Barbara Roberts has called for a state sales tax, but observers predict that the idea is unlikely to be put before the voters until next year, after the cuts have been made.

Unless a new funding source is adopted, officials say, further cuts in higher-education programs will have to be made. "The magnitude of what we would be facing would be three times what we are this biennium," said Michelle Warnke, a spokesman for the chancellor.

The budget cutbacks are in response to a voter initiative last November reducing property taxes. To offset financial losses to K-12 education, state officials have ordered cuts in most other state programs. (See Education Week, Feb. 20, 1991.)

In a rationale presented to the board, officials cited a surplus of elementary teachers in the state and a sufficient supply of secondary teachers for most disciplines.

Critics of the cuts, however, have expressed concern about the message being sent by the elimination of teacher education at the state's most prestigious public universities.

At the chancellor's recommendation, the board granted a reprieve to a master's and doctoral program in curriculum and development at the University of Oregon; it may be shifted to Portland State University.

In addition, Oregon State's school counselors' program, the only one in the state accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs, will main tain its current faculty levels.--kd

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