COSAS General Meeting 03/22/10

Present: Kristen Pursley, WCCAE ESL;Ken Ryan, WCCAE Parent Ed; Inocencia Dacumos, WCCAE ESL; Janet Johnson, WCCAE ESL; Tani Martinat, WCCAE Sewing Teacher; Carol Kehoe, WCCAE Older Adult and Adults with Disabilities; Pat Miles, WCCAE ESL; Jan Duckart, WCCAE Older Adults; Marge Essel, WCCAE Older Adult

Meeting with Board of Education member Charles Ramsey

Andres Soto has agreed to arrange a meeting between COSAS members and Charles Ramsey, but this is not possible at this time due to an emergency in Mr. Ramsey’s family. 

Superintendant’s Statement in Adult Education Catalog

The new adult education catalog is out, and it includes a statement from Superintendant of Schools Dr. Bruce Harter.  The statement does open by saying that the adult education in West County “… remains a vital service to our community and we intend to do all we can to keep it strong”.  But further on, the statement reads: “Unfortunately, the State of California no longer supports Adult Education.  In order to fund the program, we have to take funding from our regular K-12 program to maintain our core adult programs …Few other boards are willing to take cuts in the K-12 program to preserve adult school”.

Because the State of California has temporarily suspended the law so that districts CAN use some of adult education’s money to fund K-12, WCCUSD (and possibly other districts) are taking the position that adult education money now belongs to the k-12 program, so that the district is “taking money from k-12” to fund adult education.  Dr. Harter’s statement is misleading, especially to the members of the general public who receive the Adult Education catalog and to whom the statement is adressed.  For anyone who doesn’t know about the intricacies of education funding, this statement would mean that the State of California has abolished adult education and ceased providing any funding for it.  In fact, the district still receives an apportionment for adult education based on the ADA and state grant monies WCCAE received in the 2007-2008 school year. The district is allowed to reallocate this money to fund the K-12 program, but that does not mean no money is coming in, nor has the state officially withdrawn its support for adult education. In fact, we just celebrated Adult Education Week in California (the week of March 8). 

Also, Dr. Harter’s statement that “Few other boards are willing to take cuts in the K-12 program to preserve adult school” is not supported by facts.  Adult schools in California are tottering but still standing.  A few have closed, but the majority still have their doors open, though their programs are greatly reduced.  If one accepts Dr. Harter’s view (which we don’t)  that all money for adult school now has to come out of K-12, then almost every board in the state has made the decision to allot some money to adult education.

The group agreed that a rebuttal to the superintendant’s statement is necessary, but plans for a rebuttal were deferred due to the need to prepare for the March 24 Board of Education meeting. The group will return to this item at a later time.

Informing Neighborhoods:

The group discussed a strategy of speaking to neighborhood councils, PTAs and other local bodies to talk about adult education and services that will be lost through further cuts to adult education.  Janet Johnson is working with her neighborhood council, Richmond Annex Neighborhood Council.  Ken Ryan is working with the Kensington parents.  We should contact the neighborhood association for the Serra campus area, which actually meets at Serra.

Older Adults

Some ideas for raising the profile of and advocating for the older adult program:

  • the adult school could run a parent nursery staffed by volunteers from the Older Adult program
  • Older Adult students could write to state representatives, such as Loni Hancock and Nancy Skinner
  • School board candidates’ forums to be held at senior centers
  • Jan Duckart will bring a group of Older Adult students to the Board of Education meeting on March 24




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