Brown's proposal would shift $300 million in Proposition 98 funding to community colleges to provide adult education programs. Another $15.7 million was slated for apprenticeship programs at community colleges. In turn, the proposal would have eliminated the requirement that K-12 school districts provide adult education programs.
The shift was part of Brown's proposal to change how schools are financed through his "Local Control Funding Formula," which provides more money to at-risk children and gives school districts greater control over their money by eliminating most categorical funds earmarked for specific programs.
School districts already have flexibility with their adult education funding after the state lifted categorical requirements on some programs in 2009. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that the flexibility resulted in school districts using 40 percent to 50 percent of adult education funding for adult education programs.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who is the chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, said she is concerned that Brown's proposal for adult education would result in additional cuts. Bonilla said the consensus of the committee -- it was a bipartisan unanimous vote -- was that the proposal needed to be sent back to the drawing board.
"We want to send a message that adult education needs to be rebuilt," Bonilla said. "But, we don't want to in any way lead to further undermining of those programs."
Currently, there are an estimated 300 adult schools run by school districts and all of the 112 community colleges in California offer some adult education classes. The two systems offer different levels of education. K-12 school districts tend to focus more on English as a Second Language and high school diploma programs. Community Colleges offer more vocational programs and remedial math and English courses for students seeking a college degree. Brown's January budget proposal said the current system is "inefficient and redundant."
PHOTO CREDIT: Adult education students protest outside of the Sacramento City Unified School District in May 2012 to draw attention to the cuts facing their programs. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton