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LCC Board of Education proposes cutting early childhood education program

Lane Community College is considering eliminating its early childhood education program to help its growing budget deficit. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Student teachers are up in arms at Lane Community College after the latest proposed budget cuts.

“It’s not just a program. These are people’s lives. This is their livelihood. This is what they've dedicated their lives to and we are lucky enough to absorb that wisdom and put that into our work that we are so excited to start,” said Corrinthea Caufield, advanced student at Lane Community College.

According to the LCC Board of Education, eight programs could be eliminated with the proposed budget cuts.

LCC President Mary Spilde says the college’s deficit started in the recession in 2008 and grew as more people went directly into the workforce instead of going to school. Now, she says the school is forced to make tough decisions to get the budget back in balance.

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One program they might cut is early childhood education.

“We have about a $10 million deficit heading into the next fiscal year,” Spilde said.

She said that growing number can’t be ignored.

“Our board of education has made clear is that we have to live within our means,” Spilde said.

She said living within their means could mean eliminating eight programs.

If the early childhood education program is eliminated, it would save the college more than $530,000.

The early childhood education program has taught aspiring teachers for more than 48 years.

Officials in the program say they will make their case against the proposed budget.

Aspiring teachers made signs during their students’ nap time to voice their concerns.

“We are not going to let this happen without giving it everything that we can,” Caufield said.

Some students believe there are other ways the college can save money, without cutting early childhood education.

“By cutting this we are, it’s such a contradictory thing to be doing at a community college, but what we want to do is inspire people to achieve their goals and feel success and that really starts with children,” said Miriam Valentine, a student in the early childhood education program.

Spilde said anyone currently enrolled in any of the programs at risk of being cut will be able to finish the program before it’s eliminated.

There will be a public board meeting about the proposed budged starting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lane Community College.

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