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Governor's May Budget Revision Leaves Some Adult Educators and Assembly Members Concerned

Posted on 05/23/2013

Governor Jerry Brown, 2103 May Budget Revision

In what the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) is calling "a dramatic turn of events," California Governor Jerry Brown has dropped a proposal to shift responsibility for adult education from K-12 school districts to community colleges, at least temporarily. In his May Budget Revision he instead proposed that regional consortia, made up of community colleges and school districts, determine the future of adult education. Adult educators generally support such coordination efforts, but the plan's details has some of them concerned.

For the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year the revised budget proposes $30 million to be used for planning and implementation of the regional corsortia. In 2015-16 adult education is to be allocated $500 million to fund schools jointly operated by regional consortia of community colleges and school districts. Of this amount, $350 must be apportioned to existing adult education programs. This means that over the next two years the status quo will be retained for adult education. There is no dedicated funding stream proposed in the Governor's new budget proposal, but in order to receive future funding, school districts must maintain their current level of spending for adult education.

Chris Nelson, president of the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) said, "It appears that the $300 million that the governor proposed for next year earmarked for adult education to go to the community college system is no longer in the budget."

According to Dawn Koepke, a lobbyist for CCAE, many school districts do not want to fund adult ed without a dedicated funding stream. "School districts like Oakland are prepared to sweep the remaining adult education dollars in full to backfill their K-12 programs," she said in an e-mail. "As such, this proposal does nothing to ensure that the once fifth largest adult education program in the state is maintained – particularly with the increasing need for English as a Second Language and citizenship programs under the proposed federal immigration reform plan."

Since Koepke's remarks, CCAE has reported via Twitter External link opens in new window or tab that the "Oakland school board voted to maintain adulted investment."

"I don't believe the May Revise addresses the viability of adult education in California," said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, chair of the Assembly subcommittee on education. "We need to do that. We need to have dedicated funding for the next two years." Bonilla added that while discussions between school districts and community colleges on the future of adult education should be encouraged, "there's no reason to rush to prescribing action in this year's budget."

Assembly Education Committee Chair Joan Buchanan, D-San Ramon, says the status quo approach is better than Brown's original proposal, but without a dedicated funding stream, "I think adult education advocates should [be] worried."

Sources: Edsource Today External link opens in new window or tab and ACSA External link opens in new window or tab.