Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS) Meeting Notes 12/13/10

Present: Janet Johnson, ESL teacher, West Contra Costa Adult Education (WCCAE), Eduardo Martinez, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Karsa Miles, CCISCO, Pat Miles, ESL Teacher WCCAE, Kristen Pursley, ESL Teacher WCCAE, Lisa Raffel, Catholic Charities of the East Bay

Michael Krasny Radio Program

The KQED Forum program with Michael Krasny featured an hour long segment on adult education on the morning of December 13th, prompted by plans at San Jose Unified to cut its adult education program by 2/3rds.  The group agreed that the show gave good coverage to the issues surrounding cuts to adult education.  There is a link to the show below:

 http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201012130900

Catholic Charities Report — Lisa Raffel

Catholic Charities of the East Bay has agreed to be a fiscal sponsor for COSAS.  Checks for COSAS must be made out to Catholic Charities of the East Bay with “COSAS” in the memo.  For this service, Catholic Charities will charge COSAS $25 per year to handle an income of up to $2,000, and 5% for an income over $2,000.  There will be no charge if no money comes in.

Catholic Charities has also agreed to arrange for visits by local state legislators to Catholic Charities projects that partner with adult education. These projects include the Family Literacy program at Verde Elementary, the Project Access program for child care workers at English Action Center, and the B-MAT medical assistant program at Serra.  The message will be that these projects are endangered by cuts to adult education, as Catholic Charities does not have enough money to replace the components of these programs that would be lost if adult education is defunded.  Central Contra Costa County will be included in the plans for these visits, as  Catholic Charities also partners with Mt. Diablo Adult Education  there. State legislators who may be invited include Senators Mark DeSaulnier, and Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Susan Bonilla, recently elected to the state assembly, and Tom Torlakson, the newly-elected state superintendent of schools.  As part of this visit to sites, there would also be a meeting between the elected officials and supporters of adult education.

Richmond Progressive Alliance Report — Eduardo Martinez

Richmond Progressive Alliance held a meeting on November 18 to define areas of concern for the Richmond mayor and city council to focus on based on what the City of Richmond needs and wants. The schools were part of this discussion.

Eduardo Martinez ran for city council on a platform that included community schools, meaning schools that are a gathering place for the community. This would involve providing services for parents such as English as a Second Language and Parenting classes as well as tutoring services at neighborhood school sites. A grantwriter who used to work for West Contra Costa Unified School District has agreed to work on developing this idea.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance working group decided to develop Grant Elementary as a model for the type of community school that could be developed throughout Richmond.  Grant was chosen because it is one of the schools West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) voted to close in 2008 and is now being kept open with money from the City of Richmond, and also because it  has a large group of Latino parents who are very involved in the school.

Eduardo Martinez is planning a meeting for people interested in forming a vision for education in the City of Richmond, probably in January.  He will also be representing the City of Richmond on the WCCUSD Bond Oversight Committee.   He also serves on the WCCUSD Budget Oversight Committee, and he has promised to get a copy of the adult school budget for COSAS to review.

Board of Education Meeting of 12/08 Report — Kristen Pursley

Summary of Pertinent Sections of the First Interim Financial Report (explanatory material in italics):

Tier III Flexibility, (the arrangement that allows the district to route adult education money into the district general fund), continues until 2012-2013.  The district is currently using 15.3 million in Tier III flex monies (this does not all come from the adult school; there are many other programs in Tier III).  The monies are being used to pay for instruction, school safety and more. 

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has recommended an extension of flexibility funding and the adding of more programs to Tier III, and many school districts would now have a very difficult time if they had to revert to the pre-flexibility rules regarding categorical funding.  The end of flexibility (which would mean the return of protected funding for adult education) is now being referred to (by districts?) as the “funding cliff”.

The district will be holding Community Budget Meetings on January 24, 26 and 27th, and the decision making for the budget will take place at the January 19th and February Board of Education meetings. (Mark your calendars).

West Contra Costa County Senior Coalition Meeting December 8  — Ken Ryan, by way of  written report

Ken Ryan alerted the coalition to the possible elimination of the Older Adult program as well as adult education in general.  The Coalition and the City of Richmond Commission on Aging are both willing to send letters to the Board of Education in support of the Older Adult program. We need to contact Joan Carpenter, of Supervisor John Gioia’s office regarding the content of this letter, which COSAS will draft.

Next Steps

1.  COSAS members will begin preparing speeches of various lengths (30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes and 3 minutes and 10 minutes) which they will be able to deliver to groups and at Board of Education meetings.  There will be an opportunity to practice these speeches at the next COSAS meeting on January 3.

2. COSAS will encourage adult education classes to take turns attending Board of Education meetings to represent adult education and talk about why their class is important. The next Board of Education meeting will take place January 5.  Janet Johnson has volunteered to present at Hope Lutheran Church in El Sobrante. COSAS will look for other places to present.

3.  COSAS will prepare a flyer about adult education. Pat Miles is working on the design and Kristen Pursley will work on the text.

4. COSAS will help prepare a letter to the Board of Education in support of the Older Adult program for West County Senior Coalition and the City of Richmond Commission on Aging.

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One Response

  1. I am completely grateful to my colleagues and fellow citizens of the Bat Area who support each other. I am impressed by everyone’s dedication, skills, and wise approach to serving the greatest good. Power on!

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