As the Charter Oak Unified school board voted to eliminate an instructional aid position from its adult education program Thursday, questions were raised on how the district would continue the program once the governor’s plan to eliminate adult education funding goes into effect next year.
The Tri-Community Adult Education Program, in conjunction with Covina Valley Unified School District, has offered a variety of courses, including parent education, GED, ESL, high school diploma, U.S. citizenship and job training classes.
Public comment speakers addressed the board Thursday urging them to maintain adult education services within the district despite decreased funds.
Student Tina Gibbs said she depended on parent education classes, which offer side-by-side learning experiences for parents and their children in a preschool setting, on helping her to provide better learning opportunities for her daughter.
“If we didn’t have this class, my kid will be behind when she gets to Kindergarten on day one,” she said.
Many school districts have opted to significantly cut adult education courses or eliminate the program completely. Azusa Unified School District voted to cut one-third of its adult education program last year to bridge a $5 million deficit.
Charter Oak’s adult education program has also faced reductions over the years, specifically instructional aids in classrooms.
But Brown doesn’t plan to eliminate adult education completely. His plan proposes $300 million in new Proposition 98 General Fund revenues to pump into a K-12 adult education service within the community college system.
Until the Legislature decides on a course of action, Charter Oak Superintendent Mike Hendricks said districts are left with the dilemma of either funding adult education classes out of the general fund, establishing tuition for classes or seek assistance from community colleges since that is where funding is expected to be shifted.
Courses are currently funded through the rest of the school year, but how and where adult education will function in the fall is still uncertain.
“In the meantime, we have to be prepared for a different type of structure,” said Hendricks.