Education

Clovis Unified considers raising Adult School fees

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Clovis Unified School Board will take up the issue of raising fees at its Adult School.

Administrators found current costs are lower than certificate programs at state schools and drastically down compared to private colleges and universities.

The move could save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some students say it could be a struggle to graduate.

Ashley Hudson is a full-time student in the clinical medical assistant program at Clovis Adult School.

"This class is Monday through Thursday, 8-4, and studying is outrageous so I don't have time to get a job."

Instead, she relies on financial aid, but says the last time she received a check, it had been drastically reduced.

"I was worried because I still have bills to pay, live-in expenses and even have stuff for school. I talked with my mom the other night and was trying to figure out how to pay for my uniforms for CNA, so it's hard."

In September, Hudson plans to start the licensed vocational nurse program. Right now, it costs $4,500.00 to complete, but under the proposed hikes slated for January, that number could climb to $6,000.00. An increase Principal Kevin Cookinham says is a necessary shot in the arm to keep the programs going.

"All we're trying to do is have less of a burden on the main budget. Throughout California, I get emails almost every week, from districts that have had to shut down their Adult School. They're saying this is flux money, it's not going to Adult School, so we're just gonna shut it down, focus on K-12."

Right now, the Adult School receives $2.8 million from Clovis Unified to put towards certificate programs like computer literacy, medical front office and floral design. With budget cuts occurring almost every year, Cookingham says Adult Schools need to look at running campuses more like a businesses. He also says, many of his students attend class almost for free.

"For instance, in our LVN program, 9 out of 10 are on Pell Grants. Pell pays 100%. If you look at our other programs, anywhere from 60-100% are either Cal Works or Pell, that means they pay nothing."

But for those who do pay all or a portion of their education, any increase is still a tough pill to swallow.

If approved, the fee increases would take effect January third and would be evaluated each year to determine whether they're in line with other schools providing the same services.

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Tags:
clovis unified school district, clovis, fresno county, education, linda mumma
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