COSAS Updates, Week of February 15

COSAS Fundraising Committee Meeting, February 16

 Present:   Father Ramiro Flores, Solomon Belette, Antonio Medrano, Lillie Clausen, Inocencia Dacumos, Ken Ryan  and Kristen Pursley.

At this meeting, the group decided to convene a funders forum some time in late March.  We will begin by composing a letter inviting funders to the forum.  We need to start working on this letter next week, but we will wait until after the March 3 Board of Education meeting to send it, so that we can add any crucial information that comes out at the meeting.  The letter will go out as soon as possible after the March 3 meeting. Solomon Belette said that if we send a draft of the letter to him, he will have Ellen Myers of Catholic Charities take a look at it.

 COSAS will also put together a fact sheet which will go out as an addendum to the letter, which will include information as to how many people are being affected, and a profile of what adult education looked like five years ago, last year, this year, and what it will look like next year, as well as other pertinent information.

 Next Fundraising Committee Meeting:  Tuesday, March 3, 2:00 pm at St. Mark Catholic Church, 159 Harbour Way (near Bissell), Richmond

 Concilio Latino Meeting, February 19

 COSAS members  updated the Concilio Latino on what happened at the last Board of Education meeting and the Fundraising Committee meeting.  Roberto Reyes of  Contra Costa Central Labor Council and the United Way told us to contact his boss and ask for a donation in a few weeks. 

 Also at the Concilio meeting, Pixie Hayward-Schikele of the United Teachers of Richmond made an announcement about March 4.  West Contra Costa teachers are not going to strike or walk out. The March 4 demonstrations for our area will involve gathering at two intersections between 6:30 and 7:30 am.  The two locations will be San Pablo and Sycamore (in Hercules) and Central and San Pablo (in El Cerrito).  The action has been extended to include other public services besides education, since all public services in California are suffering. 

 Next Concilio Latino Meeting, Friday, March 19, 9:00 to 11:00 am, Angel’s Restaurant, 12469 San Pablo Ave. (near Clinton), Richmond

 COSAS Political Committee Meeting, February 19

 Present:   Kristen Pursley, Inocencia Dacumos, Cecilia Ornelas, Ken Ryan, Jimi Williams, Dru Van Dam

 Jimi Williams of SEIU is new to COSAS.  We met him at a Richmond Vision meeting.  Mr. Williams represents the Home Health Care Workers, who help frail seniors to stay in their homes instead of going into nursing homes.  Mr. Williams pointed out that it is actually more expensive for the state to have people go into nursing homes.  An alliance between the Home Health Care workers and adult education seems very appropriate, especially since the reduced adult education plan recommended by the district completely eliminates Older Adult education, which also helps seniors to stay in their homes. 

 Dru Van Dam of CDHC and Americorps Vista visited the meeting briefly to drop off some flyers about an upcoming workshop to help people avoid foreclosure and protect themselves from loan modification scams.  The first workshop will take place at LEAP, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond on the night of Monday, February 22, from 6 to 9 pm.  This workshop will be one of a series, and the group discussed ways we can help CDHC get the word out, including possible visits to adult school classes to do outreach and also possibly bringing the workshops to some adult school sites.

 The committee looked briefly at some upcoming ballot initiatives.  All of these initiatives are in the process of gathering signatures to get onto the November ballot. COSAS members have already started passing around petitions for the Local Control for Local Classrooms Funding Act, (changing the requirement to pass a parcel tax from 2/3 to 55%)  recommended by Board of Education member Madeline Kronenberg.  We also looked at the California State Government Can’t Take Local Government Funds Initiative (09-0064, 09-0063) and the California End the Two-Thirds Requirement Amendment (the Lakoff amendment, 09-0037).    The committee will bring up to the larger group the possibility of petitioning for all of these ballot initiatives.

 The committee also discussed setting up meetings between individual Board of Education members and small teams of COSAS members, all of which should take place before the March 3 Board of Education meeting if possible.  Inocencia Dacumos has created a spread sheet with contact information for everyone who attended the Save Adult Education summit, with a separate chart for people who volunteered to be on teams to meet with Board of Education members, which will make it much easier to put the teams together.

 Next Political Committee Meeting:  We did not set a meeting date because many people had to leave early. We will set a new date at the next COSAS meeting on February 22.

 Hayward Adult Education Summit, Saturday, February 20

 COSAS members Ana Turetsky, Kristen Pursley and Ken Ryan attended this summit.  Hayward Adult School Principal Ana Solomon and Hayward Adult School teacher Madeline Kronenberg graciously credited COSAS with inspiring this event.  Ana Solomon presented an excellent power point which can be viewed by going to http://adulteducationsolutions.blogspot.com and clicking on the link on the home page.  It includes a stark analysis of what cuts to adult education will mean for the state of California:  more unemployment, more high school drop outs, more crime and more imprisonment, and higher costs to communities.

Jerry Green of Castro Valley gave a brief legislative update.  He noted that the state budget has been cut from $120 billion to $80 billion over the last three years. He stated that even legislators friendly to adult education say there is no way they will move adult education from Tier III to Tier II, because that is part of the budget deal they made and if they start making adjustments the deal will fall apart.  He said that categorical funding expires in 2012-2013, but no one expects that things will go back to the way they were at that time.

At this meeting, Principal Ana Solomon explained the Hayward Plan, also known as the Hayward Hybrid Plan. There will be a separate post about this plan.

Participants in the summit found it helpful, and they plan to have another one in a month.

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