The latest budget proposal presented to the LAUSD board last month afforded a budget of $0 for the $120-million Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) for 2012-2013.
Adult education programs account for high school completion programs, ESL and career classes for about 350,000 students in Los Angeles. DACE is not alone, or being singled out – preschool programs, elementary art, summer school and thousands of administrators, teachers, nurses, custodians and cafeteria workers could all face cuts, for a total of $540 million in reductions. But adult education might be an easier target due to some shifting political winds in Sacramento, which three years ago released adult education from its earmarked funding pools, giving districts more power to decide how to allocate funds previously designated for specific services. That raises a difficult dilemma for districts as the spending plan goes to the school board for public review this month: what do you prioritize?
Can arguments be made for funding the aspirations of hardworking adults over the needs of children trying to learn to read and write?
Peter Birdsall, executive director, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), representing 58 County Superintendents of Schools and their respective county offices of education throughout the state
Candace Lee, principal, Metropolitan Skills Center, Los Angeles
Planaria Price, ESL teacher, Evans Community Adult School
Matt Hill, chief strategy officer, LAUSD