Adult Education Centers At Risk Of Losing Buildings
Two adult education centers in our area could lose their building. A Kentucky law requires free adult education in every county, but some centers said their state funding keeps getting cut.
Most Kentucky adult education centers in our area pay little to nothing for their classrooms. Centers typically partner with their city, school districts, housing authorities, or colleges for building space, but not every county has that luxury.
Susan Jackson oversees nine adult education centers in nine different counties through West Kentucky Education Co-Op. She said Kentucky Adult Education Department (KYAE) offers grants to cover their costs, but it’s not enough to keep Calloway and Crittenden County under their operations budget. Both pay for rent for their own building, unlike most centers with community partnerships that allow centers to have lower operating costs.
“We are doing well with our students and meeting community needs. Our problem is just I’ve got to reduce our operating costs. That’s my big killer,” Jackson said.
In 2008, the center received more than $20,000 in grant money. This year Calloway County’s Adult Education Center received $112,000. KYAE allows centers to use 5% of their grant on operation costs which would be $5,600. Jackson said to run the building it costs more than $20,700.
Calloway County’s center actually went from seven full time teachers to two part time teachers over the last couple years because of continued grant cuts.
The center helps with getting your GED Diploma, college preparedness, employment tests, and English as a second language teaching.
Jackson said their worst case scenario would be KYAE finding another fiscal agent to take over the grant if they cannot meet budget costs. This would mean possibly losing Jackson’s staff, building, and experience.
“They would find someone else to do it, but what you would lose are all these years of experience. My staff here I think we totaled up more than 55 years of experience teaching adult education here in Calloway County. We know the material. We know the students. We know what the community is looking for,” Jackson said.
The center sees more than 400 students a year, helping people like Charlena Mendez, who is working towards her GED Diploma.
“I can’t help my 13-year-old, because I don’t know how to do her level of school work,” Mendez said.
She raises three kids, works nights, and takes free classes at Calloway County’s Adult Education Center during the day.
“If I didn’t have their help I wouldn’t be able to make it,” Mendez said.
Jackson said they love their building in Murray and its location, but while rents low, it’s not low enough.
“What we’re really looking for is community support. Someone that might be able to say, ‘Hey, I can pick up a month’s rent for you,’” Jackson said.
So, they can keep helping people like Mendez achieve their goals.
To help Calloway County’s Adult Education Center meet their operations