OAKLAND -- The Oakland school board voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve eliminating or reducing full service programs like adult education, which will affect hundreds of students and employees.
Although Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan, which will shift adult education programs from K-12 schools to community colleges, is not finalized, the board needed to vote Wednesday to comply with a California Education Code. The code requires that employees whose positions may be eliminated or reduced must be notified by such changes by March 15 for the 2013-2014 school year.
Board President David Kakishiba voted to discontinue adult education programs in the school district, "in the context that we are looking to build back adult education, Family Literacy Programs and GED services in this city whether it's in OUSD or Peralta Colleges or in a contract with OUSD."
Board member Roseann Torres cast the lone "no" vote.
The district will save $1 million in costs for all teachers, administrative positions and teaching by eliminating adult education. The board's vote allows for that money to be spent on other costs in the district.
"It's important for us to figure out how to get more financial resources into our high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools to help the 36,000 students," Kakishiba said. "All of our schools are under resourced. We have to figure out how to give more capacity to our schools and for me, I think this is less hard."
That $1 million funding for the remaining programs was set aside after a majority of the funding was cut in the event that state funding allowed for the programs to stay in the K-12 schools. The district already expects cuts amounting to $14 million in federal funding, and plan to accommodate that loss with funding cuts of their own along with administrative restructuring.
General Education Development and English as a Second Language programs may survive if shifted to higher education, but as some speakers pointed out during the meeting Wednesday, programs like the Family Literacy Program cannot.
"Family literacy programs by design cannot move to community colleges. If you eliminate it, they are gone," said Victoria Carpenter, a teacher for Family Literacy at La Escuelita Elementary School. "These classes connect the parents with the teachers; they connect the parents with their children. If you eliminate it, it's not going to the community college."
The board can rescind the layoff notices before May 8 if budget plans change.