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BHUSD May Cut Adult Ed To Fund Other Services

The Beverly Hills Adult School is losing money at a time of reduced education funding from the state.

The Board of Education will consider a bold move Wednesday evening as it discusses ways to bridge a potential shortfall in the 2011-12 budget: drastically cutting funding to the district’s adult and alternative education department.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District’s adult education department offers a wide variety of daytime and evening classes to the community. But it is losing money.

“Last year we lost about $100,000 on adult education….[and] this year we are projecting losses of between $120,000 and $180,000,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alex Cherniss told parents at a PTA Council meeting on Tuesday.

In addition, the district spends about $540,000 in state education funds to run the program. In prior years, the state mandated that these funds be used specifically for adult education, but a law that came into effect in early 2009 gave school districts the flexibility to keep these funds even if they do not offer adult education classes.

The board members are looking at tapping these funds in order to save teaching jobs.

The $700,000 being spent on adult education “represents at least eight teachers [salaries],” Board President Lisa Korbatov told the PTA Council.

Her comments allude to a to send potential layoff notices to more than a dozen teachers and school counselors in accordance with a state directive to slash about $1 million from next year’s budget. These “reduction in force” notices represent possible cuts because the district can rescind them if additional funds are found. State law requires that staff be told of potential layoffs by March 15, with actual layoffs by May 15.

At that same board meeting, Vice President Brian Goldberg convinced his colleagues to send a reduction in force notice to Director of Adult Education Pat Escalante to show that administrators were taking potential cuts along with teachers. Since then, he and Korbatov have considered downsizing the department in order to free up spending for teacher salaries.

Assistant Superintendent Cherniss will be presenting several options to the board for downsizing the adult education program, he told Patch.

“Other California school districts have reduced adult ed,” he said, naming the Irvine Unified School District and the San Jose Unified School District as examples.

I hope that the board members take the brave step of cutting adult services in favor of more funds for K-12 education. Our residents will survive with fewer adult classes, particularly when the Beverly Hills could boost its offerings.

In better economic times, no school district would be cutting adult education services. But when forced to prioritize spending, the emphasis needs to be on educating children—not adults.

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mahsa arasteh March 29, 2011 at 06:00 AM
In a better economic climate, it would be ideal to retain the BHUSD adult education program. However, if the options are increasing class sizes to upwards of 30 children in a classroom (which is a real possibility) or cutting adult education, to me, the choice is clear. I like to ask our Board of Education members to to cut adult education in order to restore teachers to the classrooms.
tillietile April 01, 2011 at 03:17 PM
No. Our adult population consists of people who are training for jobs and in many cases they are the parents of the children being educated. How do we expect to educate the children if their parents are not educated. I am an adult vocational teacher, my students become trained workers in the field and they do get jobs. Who ever passed the bill putting adult ed funds with K-12 is robbing our adult population of an education and or training they so desperately need, was wrong.
tillietile April 01, 2011 at 03:19 PM
You seem uneducated if you can even ask this.
Ms. Slisaiah April 01, 2011 at 09:57 PM
American adults are not only seeking degrees; there is an enormous requirement for occupational training. How can we develop a stronger , globally competitive country, if we continue to eliminate education of any kind. We should be making the education of both our children and our adults the top priority. Considering that there are a variety of adult educational institutions, eliminating adult education would be disastrous on numerous levels. Ms. Slisaiah
DoughBoy April 01, 2011 at 10:01 PM
tillietile - you are obviously sincere in your beliefs, but there's no justification for a program that is bleeding money like this and does not support in any material way the core mission of a local district, which is to education our children first and foremost (or even ONLY, if you really look at a school board's mandate). Adults seeking career guidance and skills have various other options from government and private entities.
Rabbit April 07, 2011 at 04:25 PM
DoughBoy - When the children you are speaking of start climbing in your windows and robbing you blind; you'll be wishing there was still adult eduction programs to train them to be responsible community members. If BHUSD is losing money (and I doubt it is any substantial amount), it is because it is not being properly managed and it is the administration who should be made accountable. Adult educational programs address all the cracks in traditional education, helping people to, receive their HS Diploma or GED, learn English, and train for a career. The "core mission" you speak of address none of the fore mentioned; if fact it only references quotas produced by a data driven system that quantifies high achievers, offering nothing to the 30-60% who are not college bound.
keith April 18, 2011 at 03:22 AM
I'm told Bev Hills Adult Ed program's been around 60 years.
keith April 21, 2011 at 02:56 PM
My students tell me the program's closing this term, I've been teaching there for the past 6 years. Perhaps I'll find out about my job by reading it here on Patch.
DoughBoy April 22, 2011 at 01:17 AM
It has been some time since Rabbit responded to my post, but this comment chain -- and the funding issues -- are alive and ongoing. Once again, I have complete sympathy for adults who seek vocational training, but having that service carried out by our local school board only stretches our resources and ultimately hurts our children by taking resources away from the K-12 classrooms. A local school district is charged with educating our children, and that's what we should focus on in these economically challenging times. Vocational training is already addressed by a variety of entities -- including churches, charities, corporations and yes, government agencies other than school districts -- and we should encourage them to step up their efforts while our schools focus on our children... so they won't need vocational training when they reach adulthood.
keith April 22, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Adult ed is/was a great way to share facilities & resources to offer a top notch education at very affordable prices. Properly managed adult ed classes can bring in additional funding that would benefit the district too. Culver City & Burbank continue to offer such a program, I'm not aware of any churches that do. Well, the Ebell offers an amazing range of lectures & events in their historic facility on Wilshire.

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