Turlock Adult School Future at Risk

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The future of the Turlock Adult School may be grim under Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed education funding formula, and Turlock Unified School District Board Trustees are not too happy about it.

“Gov. Brown’s budget would transfer adult education to community colleges,” said TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto. “If approved, it will take the authority from K-12 education to provide adult school education, and community colleges will take over the adult school.”

In a closed session meeting, the Board of Trustees voted in a 5-2 vote to send out public employee dismissal notices to employees of the Turlock Adult School. Although the board voted to send out these notices to comply with state law, it was evident that none of the Trustees want to lay off employees.

“This was simply a precautionary measure to give classified employees due notices,” said Da Marto. “It’s not something we wanted to do, and not something we’re happy about, but we will have no choice due to the Governor’s budget.”

The decision is not set in stone, however, as the proposal has not been approved at the state level as of yet. Should the Local Control Funding Formula pass within the state budget, the responsibility of adult education would shift to the California Community Colleges system.

“It it doesn’t pass, then hopefully we can still provide the adult education that we always have,” said Trustee Frank Lima.

Trustees Grady Welch and Dr. Harinder Grewal voted in opposition to the closed session item, both sharing sentiments of strong disapproval to the Local Control Funding Formula.

“It is very important to keep the adult school going,” said Dr. Grewal. “I fully understand how important it is to our community. I voted no because I do want to keep the adult school and I am against layoffs.”

Welch also echoed the importance of the Turlock Adult School within the community.

“I work with disadvantaged people every day, and with people that English is their second language,” said Welch. “A lot of these parents (whose second language is English) are intimidated of going to back to school nights, and they tend to not show up because of this. We offer free ESL (English Second Language) classes at the Turlock Adult School that they attend, and many of these parents do not have the transportation to go to MJC for adult classes, or they are single-income and can’t afford the necessary babysitting. They need that education available here in Turlock.”

Welch also said that while public transportation is available to Modesto Junior College from Turlock, many individuals do not feel comfortable taking public buses due to potential safety hazards.

“We do have to provide layoff notices to the employees due to the state law,” said TUSD Board President Bob Weaver. “But it is our wish to keep those employees and the adult school.”

Since the Local Control Funding Formula is not approved as of yet, Welch asked the Board of Trustees and those who attended the meeting to contact their state representative if they would like to see adult education kept within K-12 jurisdiction.

“We need to look at the options to keep the adult school going,” said Dr. Grewal. “It is important to the community, and if somehow we can make it work, I am in favor of that. We need to look at all the options available and go from there.”

To learn more about the Turlock Adult School, visit http://turlock.k12.ca.us/tas.

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