Some Lake County residents want out of COCC district

Students would lose tuition discount, COCC $120K

COCC looking at district boundaries

BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon Community College is hearing from some people living in northern Lake County who no longer want to be part of the college's taxing district.

Now the Higher Education Coordinating Commission is listening to what the public has to say.

If the part of the district in northern Lake County does indeed leave the COCC district, it could cost the school some revenue.

The college listened to the concerns of those residents Monday night at a public hearing in Lake County.

Right now, that part of the district brings in around $100,000 from property taxes to the general fund, and an additional $20,000 is brought in through bond funds.

Also, students living in the district pay 40 percent less for tuition at COCC.

In a meeting earlier Monday, the COCC Board of Directors advised against the petition filed with the college in regards to the precincts wanting to leave the district.

Ron Paradis, COCC's executive director of college relations, said  the biggest impact would be on the students that are living in that part of the district.

"I think the most important thing is that it's for the students," Paradis said. "They would be denying their students from having access to affordable college education. As I mentioned, their tuition would go up by 40 percent if they were no longer in the district."

This district was first formed back in 1962, voters throughout Central Oregon were asked if they were willing to tax themselves to form the college district, and the measure was passed by a 78 percent yes vote.

Now HECC will decide how they want to move forward with the petition. If they would support removing the northern Lake County area from the COCC district, it will then go before the Oregon Legislature for consideration.

About six people spoke Monday evening at the hearing in Silver Lake, along with the board chair.

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