Sad goodbye to adult school
At a school board meeting earlier this month, Sonoma Valley Adult School honored its final Students of the Year.
The first was a Hispanic man who attended ESL classes so he could improve his English skills to better provide for his family and participate in community life. The second student was a young woman who chose to successfully earn her high school diploma through Sonoma Valley Adult School.
The third was a re-entry student who gained computer skills so she could start a second career at a local real estate office.
Sadly, they and others like them will no longer be able to access these educational opportunities because Sonoma Valley Adult School will close its doors forever on May 30.
Over the past year, I have written letters and emails and spoken at numerous public meetings as persuasively and passionately as I could to save Sonoma Valley Adult School, but to no avail. I understand that school districts are reacting to events in Sacramento, but there are always choices to be made.
Sacramento did not decide to close Sonoma Valley Adult School; the Sonoma Valley Unified School District administration recommended it, and the board of trustees made that choice. Ironically, Sonoma Valley Adult School was started during the Depression of the 1930s, a time when the economy was much worse than it is now. What does it say about this district if its leaders cannot figure out a way to preserve the adult school? Poor management? I will remember that the next time they ask for a parcel tax.
Perhaps the district is basing its cuts on priorities. The district could have chosen to make a reduction rather than close the school entirely, but by doing so it is telling Sonoma Valley Adult School students that they are not important – not a priority.
Sonoma Valley Adult School students are important, and the district and our community will be much poorer for not serving adult students. I give honor to all the students throughout the years, and to the teachers who chose to make them their life’s work. This administration and board will be remembered as the ones who closed down an educational institution that served the community well for more than 80 years. What a sad and shameful legacy.
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Loretta Carr is a Sonoma resident who has taught ESL and citizenship at Sonoma Valley Adult School for nine years. She, along with eight other credentialed teachers and three classified personnel, will be losing their jobs May 30.