Oklahoma cuts state support for adult education

Relatively small savings to state budgets have a big impact on those adults seeking to improve their education and their lives.  From The Oklahoman and Tulsa World.

Oklahoma education budget cuts end popular programs, have big impact
Lost was $2.3 million in funding for adult education programs across the state that help adults receive GED diplomas, learn how to read, or learn to speak English. That money was tied to about $6 million in federal matching grants, and Barresi said the state is working to make sure programs still receive their federal funds.

“We have just a huge need for these services, and it's a shame that they cut it like this,” said Jessica Martinez-Brooks, director of Community Outreach and Education with Oklahoma City Community College. “I am shocked that it actually happened.”

The program at OCCC serves about 3,000 students a year and always has a long waiting list.

Martinez-Brooks said the program is receiving a cut of about $203,000 but will be able to maintain some services. OCCC provides the program with support that will enable it to receive its federal matching grant.

“There are some that really have a lot more reliance on these state matching funds, especially those in rural communities,” she said.
Tulsa-based adult education program loses all state funding
A northeastern Oklahoma program that helps adults complete their high-school education or learn English has lost all state funding, a move that has major economic ramifications for the region, administrators say.

"This is a devastating loss," said Union Superintendent Cathy Burden. "In a time of economic downturn, this program is a generator of economic prosperity for our community."

The Oklahoma Board of Education last week slashed $2.3 million in fiscal 2012 state matching funds for all adult education programs statewide.

Beginning July 1, the Tulsa-based program will no longer receive $275,000 in state funds typically required as a match to receive about $825,000 in federal funding. That equates to about 25 percent of total funding to provide classes to 1,000 adults who want to earn a GED diploma.

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