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Adult School now charging for GED classes, ESL learners

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POSTED September 3, 2012 12:09 a.m.

For years, Manteca Unified residents who took classes in the Manteca Adult School for their General Equivalency Education, or GED certificate, and to learn English as a Second Language did not have to pay a fee.

That has changed in the 2012-13 school year that just started. Students who enrolled in those classes had to pay a “modest registration fee” this time - $30 each for GED and $25 for ESL classes plus $30 for the workbook.

“Legislation passed last year gave Adult Schools the option of charging for ESL classes. We did not want to begin charging in the middle of the year so we began the new year with the new registration fees in place for both GED and ESL,” explained Adult School Principal Diane Medeiros.

She further clarified that the Manteca Adult School always “had the ability to charge for GED classes.” Vocational classes, on the other hand, have always charged a fee in line with the philosophy that each class has to pay its own way.

 “While the registration fees do not begin to meet the costs of running the programs, they do provide minimal revenue to assist with registration and processing costs,” added Medeiros.

There’s another positive side to instituting the fee. Medeiros said, “Students tend to attend class more regularly when they’ve invested in the class.”

The Adult School, like many school district programs, has been hard hit by the persisting budget crunch from Sacramento. The gradual fiscal belt-tightening started about two years ago with the elimination of many of the community classes offered at the Lindbergh School on East North Street where the Adult School was operating. While the main building of Lindbergh School, the brick structure that faces North Street, was shuttered due to seismic issues, the portable classrooms around the parking lot in the back did not have those kinds of problems. The fact that the entire facility is practically like a ghost town today is a mute testimony to the fiscal erosion that has debilitated the school district, as is the case throughout the state at every level of the educational spectrum.

The only programs remaining at the old Lindbergh School is the Automotive Technology Class which is an ROP class for junior and senior high school students in Manteca Unified, as well as the Childcare Center which “provides childcare for our teen parents,” Medeiros said.

Additionally, the Adult School no longer offers classes in the summer.

With the closure of the Lindbergh site as a cost-saving measure, the Adult School offices and classrooms were moved to the three-story district facility on West Louise Avenue. Some of the ROP classes also were relocated to different high school campuses in the district. These are elective classes that are required for high school graduation.

Despite the fiscal diet that has been forced on school programs across the board, Medeiros points out that the Manteca Adult School remains a viable educational entity that continues to offer many educational and job training opportunities for the community’s residents.

“Even while the economy struggles, Manteca Adult school continues to offer classes that serve the needs of community adults. Adult students registering for classes last week found both new class opportunities and, in some cases, new classes fees.

“In these tight times, the School has focused on its core mission to offer adults the opportunity to earn their high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate, in addition to helping second language adult learners improve their English language skills. These basic skill and academic classes are supplemented by vocational and career education classes,” Medeiros stated.

Fall classes started on Aug. 27 and will run through Dec. 14. Spring semester registration will be held Jan 16-25, with classes to run Jan. 28 to May 16. There will be no summer classes.

For more information about the Manteca Adult School and the classes being offered, visit www.mantecausd.net.

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