Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to shift responsibility for adult education to community colleges has been rejected by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.
While adult education officials consider this an “excellent first step,” it is not the end, said Rhonda Slota, principal of Napa Valley Adult Education. The proposal will still be considered by the Senate Budget Subcommittee.
Brown has proposed eliminating funding for adult education with local K-12 school districts and transferring the responsibility to community colleges. How this transition would work has been unclear.
The vast majority of adult education officials oppose the transfer, Slota said. One of the arguments is that Brown’s proposal is more costly, because it would require dismantling the existing system and re-establishing something new, she said.
Last week, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee rejected Brown’s proposal unanimously. The Senate Budget Subcommittee is scheduled to hear the proposal on April 11.
Slota said adult education officals are “hopeful” that the Senate will reject the plan, and that the governor and his budget writing team will revise the proposal.
A final decision is expected by June 15.
“We’re hopeful that, by then, we’ll know,” Slota said.
Napa Valley Adult Education offers career and technical education courses, parenting classes, high school diploma and GED programs, as well as classes for low-level English learners. Adult Education also offers fee-based classes for self-enrichment, including courses in art, music, fitness and language.
In California, kindergarten to 12th-grade school districts and local community colleges are authorized to provide adult education programs. But according to Brown’s budget proposal, the state has no way of coordinating these combined efforts, and this has resulted in an “inefficient and redundant system that is not always structured in the best interest of adult learners.”
Slota said there is little to no redundancy in the adult education system in Napa.
The majority of adult education classes here are operated by the Napa Valley Unified School District, Slota said. These courses serve about 6,000 students, many of whom are at a lower skill level than what is required for entry at Napa Valley College.