Governor Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal for the 2013-14 fiscal year calls for shifting responsibility for adult education from K-12 school districts to the California Community College system.
"It's an interesting concept," Ceres Unified School District Supt. Scott Siegel said. "I'm curious to see how it plays out. I don't know how the Legislature is going to react to it. We'll make our decisions on how to handle it once it happens."
CUSD's Adult Education program currently has an enrollment size of 450, of which 250 are high-school students making up for units they lack in order to graduate. The remaining 200 students are adults who are beyond high school age who would have to complete their education elsewhere next year if California Community Colleges take control.
"Our graduation rates will go down if we don't continue to offer services to high-school students who need to make up units through adult education," Siegel said. "We'll continue to do that no matter what happens through summer school, and academic extended-day and after-school programs. We'll not compromise that piece of it."
Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of Public Instruction, is wary of the possible changes to the adult education system.
"I'm concerned that severing the longstanding ties these programs have with K-12 districts could diminish access to classes that play a vital role in helping Californians receive the basic education they need to become productive citizens," he said.
"I'm concerned about the geography issue," added Siegel. "Residents will have to drive to Modesto Junior College. Our adult courses are offered in town and are more accessible. We'll see if Modesto JC wants to contract out with us to run the program. That has been discussed as a viable option if the change occurs. The main thing is the community needs to be served."
Turlock Journal Reporter Nancy Angel contributed to this report.