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Adult School layoffs could signal end of Galt program

Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing to shift adult education to community colleges

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:00 am

All eight part-time hourly Galt Adult School teachers will be laid off at the end of the school year, as the Galt Joint Union High School District responds to the governor's proposal to shift adult education to the community college system.

It is the first step in possibly dismantling the district's program.

Additionally, last week the school board voted to halve the number of hours director Karin Liu can work. She is already working on a reduced contract.

Still, the board's decision was anticipated since Gov. Jerry Brown made clear in his 2013-14 budget and State of the State address earlier this year that he wanted to shift adult education programs from K-12 districts to the community college level.

Superintendent Matthew Roberts said the district will watch as the state's May budget revision unfolds with the possibility of reinstating the Adult School personnel reductions.

On Wednesday, the state Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance rejected the governor's adult education realignment proposal. It will still be considered by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, whose members are scheduled to hear the proposal April 11.

"It is 50-50 whether adult education will remain with K-12 or move to the community college level," Roberts said, adding that the notices will be issued as a precaution based on changes at the state level.

By law, teachers and other certificated employees must be notified by May 15 whether their services might be unneeded for the next school year. Board approval is required by March 15 so districts can prepare those notices.

"For most of our teachers, (Adult School) is an extra position beyond their regular teaching schedule ... (and they) are considered temporary," Roberts said.

The California Adult Schools organization says the shift in the responsibility for adult education to community colleges is problematic, as access for those students currently served by the kindergartenthrough 12 grade-based adult education system could be greatly threatened.

Adult education began within the K-12 school system, serving more than 1.5 million adults at its peak during the 2008-09 school year. Kindergartenthrough 12th grade-based adult education sites are spread throughout the state's 300 school districts, including Galt, while community colleges are represented by just 112 college districts, according to California Adult Schools.

California Adult Schools believes that adult schools statewide serve a significantly larger number of students than community colleges in literacy, citizenship, high school diplomas and short-term career training classes, such as the popular Emergency Medical Technician course offered in Galt.

It is one of eight programs currently serving 476 students, according to Liu.

"Despite the fact that my assistant and I received a 40-percent reduction to our contracts for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years ... Galt Adult School still provides quality education and career-training opportunities for our community and the surrounding areas," she said Wednesday. "Staff has been resilient and determined to find a way to do more with less. As you can imagine, this has not been an easy task."

The Galt Adult School offers classes in program areas including English as a second language such as classes for citizenship; adult secondary education including GED preparation and high school completion; and career and technical education.

"These programs have provided students with activities and learning experiences that have helped support them in better accessing the community in which they live," Liu said. "People have learned to read and write, earned high school diplomas or GED certificates, they have obtained citizenship, acquired jobs skills and training, have become more involved in their children's education, enrolled in higher education and training, and they have obtained meaningful employment."

"In a rural community such as Galt, the work that we have done and the services we have provided have truly changed our community," she added.

Despite these layoffs, local school districts are in line with a statewide trend of issuing teachers fewer pink slips than in years past. Herald's Arcohe Union School District plans to issue just one, while Lodi Unified School District voted earlier this month to cut three mental health clinicians instead of teacher positions.

Earlier this week, the California Teachers Association reported that California school districts have issued just 3,000 pink slips to teachers this year, a dramatic drop from the 20,000 sent out last year. They attribute the change to a boost in money for public education.

Among top 10 districts statewide reporting the most layoff notices for 2013-14 were Sacramento City Unified School District with 118 notices and Stockton Unified School District with 95, according to the CTA.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:25 am on Thu, Mar 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Why don't you ask your already paid administrators? You don't want to seem to give the immigrants, may legal and even citizens, their fair chance to assimilate into the Galt society? It seems your stuffed shirts on city council and school district duped you into voting to raise your taxes to save your schools and then instead of retaining the hands on teaching staff, administration gives themselves unneeded pay raises and lays teachers off. I would expect behavior such as that from Galt/Lodi and their self serving city council and school districts.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:18 am on Thu, Mar 21, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    With two school districts Galt should have excesses in both districts unless the waste continues at both the hi school and elementary districts. Too many layers of administration and staff could be the big problem. Why not merge into one district and keep the best administrators and staff and eliminate those who are just along for the "ride"? Or would the economy of Galt crumble without those high paid positions in the two district offices? Those two districts shouldn't be facing such financial difficulties if there were better planning and spending was scrrutinized to the penny, or merge the two districts into one. This should be a referendum put to the voters of Galt. Has no one the gumption? Mr. Maple?

  • Sunny Samuels posted at 10:52 am on Thu, Mar 21, 2013.

    Sunny Samuels Posts: 55

    Why is money being taken from my 7th and 1st graders classroom to pay for adults that do not speak english? We just voted ourselves to raise our taxes to save our K-12 schools while schools are still being closed and administrators are getting pay raises.



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