Downer Community Votes to Save Adult Education

There were about twice as many people at the Downer meeting than at any other community budget meeting, between 200 and 250 people. The district ran out of “clicker” handheld voting machines (they said they brought about 100), and started handing out paper ballots.  Then they ran out of paper ballots.  All through the meeting, the Downer principal was bringing in more chairs and benches as more and more people arrived. The atmosphere was very different from any of the other meetings, with lots of children running around, a few people holding signs in support of adult education,  members of the audience speaking out passionately, and applause after people in the audience spoke.  Some people even asked questions in Spanish.  Several people in the audience stated that English classes and other adult education classes had given them the skills they needed to help their children succeed in school, challenging the “it’s adult education versus the needs of the children” rationale for appropriating adult education money for K-12.

The idea of taking all of adult education’s money went down to a huge defeat with this crowd, as it did at all the other community meetings (except possibly Hercules — does anyone know what happened there?).  But the Downer group also gave a resounding “no” to the idea of taking a million dollars away from adult education and leaving some kind of skeletal program in place.  This idea has passed at all the other meetings, except at LoVonya DeJean, where the vote was evenly split between “yes” and “no” for this idea.

About LoVonya DeJean — apparently there was a problem with the data, and those who were at the meeting and left email addresses received an email asking them to vote again  electronically because the results of the voting had been lost.  How likely is it that the results at LoVonya DeJean will be replicated by a vote of only those people who left an email address and feel like voting again? LoVonya DeJean was the first meeting where a substantial number of people from low-income communities were in attendance — people who are less likely to have email addresses.

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