Kate Brown and Bud Pierce both want improvements in higher education, but they cannot agree how.
According to the National Center for High School Statistics, Lane County had a 74.2 percent high school graduation rate, the worst in the country, as of 2015. Kate Brown told The Oregonian she was aware of the subpar rate. Additionally, Brown noted Oregonians need to “work together to improve it.” Brown visited 12 Oregon high schools, she then decided to endorse Measure 97 as a way to improve the state’s education funding system.
If Measure 97 is passed, corporations making more than $25 million in sales will be taxed 2.5 percent.
Kate Brown wants to create Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer position should the measure pass. The innovation officer would implement policies to ensure more Oregon students will not only graduate, but leave high school with a clear plan for their future.
Pierce opposes Measure 97. Paris Achen, of the Portland Tribune, reported Pierce is disturbed that Brown supports the “largest sales tax increase in Oregon’s history.”
Pierce wants to begin with modeling many schools similar to the Career Technical Education Center High School in Salem. According to the Oregonian, Pierce stated, “Simply restore the ‘excellence’ focus in our schools.” He suggests putting qualified, well-trained and motivated teachers back into the schools as opposed to those with the highest seniority.
Both candidates promise funding increases for career and technical education to help adults learn skills for high-demand jobs. Equally important, Brown suggests an expansion of state scholarships and grants. She also wants to lower community college tuition to $50 dollars per term. Ryan Kounovsky, Eugene Democratic Community Organizer, said, “Kate Brown is going to continue fighting for more funding for higher education, and to ease the burden on students.”
Pierce countered Brown’s proposal. He has stated colleges largely need to be more accessible and affordable for students. Pierce looks to implement a degree program that is specifically designed for nontraditional higher education students. The proposed program aims to guarantee students a degree with less class time. He seeks a tax break to help middle income Oregonians pay for student loans.
Kate Brown and Bud Pierce do not have any events scheduled in Eugene as of Nov. 1.