The Milken Educator Award is a national honor that recognizes teachers who further excellence in education. This year, only one teacher won the $25,000 reward, and she works right here in Bend.
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was at the assembly at Bend Senior High School when the winning teacher got the surprise of her career.
State lawmakers denied Oregon State University-Cascades the funding to expand the Bend campus last summer, which came as a shock to officials and the school donors who had been working to make a case for a new academic building.
However, there is new hope for expansion after governor Kate Brown requested 39 million dollars for the university in the upcoming legislative session.
The OSU-Cascades campus opened in 2016 but the university’s goal of expanding it’s facilities took a hit last summer when the state allocated the university just $9.5 million of the $69.5 million OSU-Cascades had hoped for.
“We’re asking in the 2018 session for $39 million to build the next academic building because that’s the most critical thing,” said Becky Johnson, vice president of OSU-Cascades. “if we don’t have space for students to be in classrooms and for faculty to have office space we simply can’t keep growing to meet the demands of the region.”
Late Friday, governor Brown announced an $88 million-dollar package of supplemental spending she wants for the Oregon higher education system and OSU-Cascades is slotted for $39 million of that if approved.
However, within hours of Friday’s announcement, at least one lawmaker was signaling his disapproval of the plan. Democratic representative Paul Evans of Monmouth County tweeted “There is still no logical rationale for added capacity at OSU-Cascades.”
House speaker Tina Kotek expressed a similar sentiment in July while explaining why only $9 million of the $1.3 billion dollar state bond package went to OSU-Cascades.
Educators are always on the lookout for those elusive teachable moments. One Bend teacher will have plenty after an expedition to the Arctic. Michaela Pre-Court, a first grade teacher at The Waldorf School Of Bend, is flying to Iceland in just nine days, and Central Oregon Daily’s Mackenzie Wilson caught up with her before she leaves to see how the trip could inspire the next generation of activists. Learn more at downtoearthexp.org.