Governor’s budget proposal clouds adult education’s future

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VISTA, Calif. – Vista Adult School classes could be cancelled if Governor Jerry Brown’s new state budget including reallocating funding for adult school programs to community colleges is approved.

Vista Adult School students and teacherAnna Ramirez is one of 17,000 students at Vista Adult School. She attends an English as a second language class four times a week at the Sunset Drive campus.

“I’m learning to speak more English and how to get better in my writing,” said Ramirez.

The state’s adult school programs are funded by K-12 districts, however, under the governor’s new proposal it would create a $300 million grant for community college districts to provide adult-education programs.

“The logic behind the governor’s proposal is that community college already serves adults, therefore they’re better positioned to serve adults,” said Ebon Brown, Principal of Vista Adult School.  “For the priority of adult Ed to shift to the community colleges it’s just not feasible for a lot of our students.”

Brown said not only will access be a problem, but also cost.

“For these students, we’re local it’s easy for them. Parking is free. There’s no tuition costs,” the principal said.

Vista Adult SchoolBrown added when it comes to the two learning institutions, the goals are vastly different.

“The community colleges are more based on credit taking courses,” said Brown. “The majority of our programs are really set for students to build skills in order to survive.”

Even before the proposal is approved, students said adult school in community college is a big fail.

“It’s too far for me,” said Claudia Sanchez.  “I don’t like that idea, I like to keep this school.”

“I went to college before and it’s totally different,” said Ramirez, pointing out that at the adult school she knows she can talk to her teacher.

“Over there the teachers don’t do that,” said Ramirez.  “I feel more comfortable here.”

Exact effects of the budget impact are unclear, but many districts are already preparing.  Vista Unified School District has issued 82 layoff notices.


  • Ester Richardson

    Adult School is everything for me! If wasn't for an Adult school program and the caring of my dear teachers, I would never have obtained a High School Diploma. I later went to a community college and became a successful medical worker, caring many skills and able to help many people . I am now back in an Adult school program where I feel more comfortable learning, since English is my second language. I am very excited about attending Vista Adult School, because I know, that I will receive the care and the skills I will need to further my education. Thanks to the quality education Adult School Programs offer for many people like me, I am proud to say that I am a great member of society ,with a lot of confidence, and a productive citizen of american. PS: I want to thanks Mrs. Sharon Chen, who come to our school to listening and to report our histories and make known our frustration about our Gov. Brown proposal that shifts Adult Education Services from the K-12 school system to community Colleges and funds them with a new $300 M block grant.

  • Sharon Chen

    You're welcome!! It was a pleasure talking with you all! Please keep me posted on any developments!

  • Laura V

    Vista Adult School has given both my husband and me, the opportunity to become more marketable in the working field. My husband was into customer service for many years, and he had the opportunity to become a Certified Phlebotomist which has opened doors. For me, as a foreigner who has only a few years living in San Diego; Vista Adult School has brought me the opportunity to learn so much. I was lucky to have known enough English to be able to enter to the Medical Classes in this great school. I have amazing teachers that have life experiences that they share with us and inspire us to do more than just study. Thanks to these teachers and institution, I went to volunteer as a Medical Interpreter. Technically, Adult School helped me, help others. There is so much depth in knowledge in these schools. It not only teaches people basic school classes like English as a Second Language, GED, or such, it also teaches some of us to be into Professional Administrative Positions, or as an essential part of the Medical working force.

    Taking Adult Education away, is going to set many steps back into the growth of the people as a community. If people are willing to learn, to be retrained into jobs that are out there which can't find the right candidates, why would someone try to take that away? Sure kids need their basic education, but professional adults that can't find jobs in their fields, should have the opportunity to learn other professions and get those jobs. It's not only helping them, but also the companies that can't find the right candidates. Education for both kids and for adults is as important, no matter what age they are.
    Some of us are stuck in the middle, between being over qualified for retail-related jobs, and not having a BA degree because of an unfinished college degree. We need Adult Education to be once more a strong link to back up our community.
    I hope that people realize that there is much more into Adult Education than what meets the eye. In a hospital or clinic, there are not only Doctors and Nurses, there are many other professionals from which many got their education through an ROP program, and we are all links working together into saving lives and helping people.

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