Residents of northern Lake County, including folks in Christmas Valley and Fort Rock, did not get what they wanted when the state refused to allow them to withdraw from the Central Oregon Community College district.
At the same time, however, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission made it clear that the region might be better served by Klamath Community College in Klamath Falls.
Commissioners want the switch to be made within a year.
It makes sense. Lake County residents support COCC to the tune of about $117,000 per year, and while Ben Cannon, executive director of the commission, was accurate in saying that loss of funds would be felt by every community college district, he implies far more pain than seems likely. After all, Oregon sports 17 community college districts statewide.
Meanwhile, only about three Lake County students per year attend COCC, and while Klamath Falls is about 30 miles farther from Christmas Valley than Bend is, the Klamath school does offer classes at North Lake High School, which is the high school for Christmas Valley, Fort Rock and Silver Lake.
The truth is that no matter which community college district encompasses northern Lake County, students face a considerable distance between themselves and much choice in higher education coursework.
Klamath Falls and Bend are both about 125 miles from Christmas Valley. There’s no way to change that.
By the same token, however, the Klamath college does offer at least some courses in Lake County, and Central Oregon Community College does not.
If property owners are not allowed to withdraw completely from a community college district, at least the one in Klamath Falls gives them a little something for their money.