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'Respiratory care in the community is going to go down': LCC considers program cuts

There are only three respiratory therapy colleges in Oregon. One of them is at Lane Community College and it's at risk of being eliminated due to budget cuts. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – The Lane Community College Board of education is considering cutting the respiratory care program as it attempts to tackle a $10.7 million budget gap.

Students and staff in the program say cutting it would affect the entire community.

According to the proposed budget, cutting the program would affect about 20 to 30 students and save $273,000.

“I'm trying to focus on the positives and what we contribute and the fact that we actually do bring in students who are not in district students, but are here contributing to our FTE and paying tuition simply to come to our program,” said Norma Driscol, respiratory care program coordinator.

“It scares me to think that the quality of respiratory care in the community is going to go down because as people retire there will not be replacements,” said Kellee Rickerl, director of clinical education in the respiratory care program.

“Show the numbers, show the statistics and if all you're trying to do is cover a small gap, closing down this program is not the answer one bit,” said Robert Sherwood, a recent LCC graduate and current respiratory therapist.

There are only three respiratory therapy colleges in Oregon.

LCC serves students across the entire state.

The board of education is also considering cutting the early education program.

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