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Adult education on LAUSD chopping block

February 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles school budget crisis could claim its latest victim: adult education. Adult students are speaking out, hoping the school board spares the program that educates hundreds of thousands of adults.

Adult education students at nine schools in Los Angeles rallied to save a program that could be axed next week by the school board: 350,000 adult education students would face empty classrooms.

It's important to adults who are fighting save their programs at places like the Belmont Community Adult School. These adult students are learning English and how to use computers.

The Los Angeles School Board has to cut $557 million by June 30. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has said they are being forced to cut back and focus on the kindergarten through 12th grade. Adult education may be expendable, along with its $139 million budget.

Eight-thousand school district employees have left or lost their jobs. The district has cut nearly $3 billion over the last few years.

Erasing the current deficit could result in the loss of another 7,500 employees. But these adults and their teachers believe they shouldn't be sacrificed. They can't afford other schooling.

"It represents a better life for all of them. They would be able to have better jobs, they would be able to integrate into society better," said Anita Merzel-Todd, an adult-education teacher.

There's still a slight chance they can save adult education. The school board votes next week. They hope they can be there in force and change their minds.