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Adult Education Shift Rejected by Assembly Budget Subcommittee

Posted on 03/20/2013

Stockton School for Adults
Stockton School for Adults
Credit: OTAN, Randy Bayne

An Assembly budget subcommittee voted unanimously, 5-0, on Tuesday to reject a proposal to shift responsibility for adult education from K-12 school districts to the state's community college system.

Governor Jerry Brown's proposal would shift $300 million in Proposition 98 funding to community colleges for adult education and eliminate the requirement that K-12 districts provide adult education programs.

In 2009, the state lifted categorical funding requirements on some programs, including adult education. This resulted in severe cuts, including the elimination of some adult education programs. The chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), said she is concerned that the Governor's proposal would result in even more cuts to remaining programs.

Bonilla said the consensus of the committee was that the proposal needed to be sent back to the drawing board. "We want to send a message that adult education needs to be rebuilt," Bonilla said. "But, we don't want to in any way lead to further undermining of those programs."

Bonilla and Dawn Koepke, a lobbyist for the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE External link opens in new window or tab) and California Adult Education Administrators Association (CAEAA External link opens in new window or tab), said they will be working with the governor's office, Senator Carol Liu (D-Glendale), who will be sponsoring a bill regarding adult education, and the Department of Finance to fashion a compromise that will ensure funding for the state's existing district adult education programs and create clear pathways from district adult schools to college.

"We consider this Assembly vote very important," Koepke said. "Comments made by the assembly members showed their understanding and appreciation that access, skills, programming and services are best served under the K-12 system. The subcommittee chair made it very clear that neither the governor's proposal nor the committee's actions should be a path to layoff notices or closed adult schools."

"We are in the early innings of the budget debate," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the governor's Department of Finance after Tuesday's vote. "We understand some lawmakers have concerns. We will continue to work with the Legislature and other education officials to move this process forward."

The Senate is scheduled to consider the governor's proposal on April 11.

Watch a video of the hearing External link opens in new window or tab on the California Channel External link opens in new window or tab.