By Charles Thomas
The Venice Skills Center still needs your support and involvement, in whatever way you can avail yourself during the coming month. You may recall our coverage last month of the looming threat to cut all funding to the Skills Center. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) tentatively plans to end funding for adult education, which would “pull the plug” on the Skills Center.
The response to LAUSD’s plan has been public outcry and an inspired mobilization of forces. In response to the circulation of petitions; 220,000 signatures were gathered and presented to the school board, according to a press release by The United Teachers of Los Angeles. LAUSD has been inundated with e-mails, phone calls and hundreds of letters protesting the plan to kill adult education. Rallies and demonstrations led up to the big day, February 14, when the Board was scheduled to vote on an emergency budget plan to decide the fate of the Skills Center and adult education in general. The Board decided to delay the vote one month and is set to re-convene on March 13. So, we have a small reprieve during which the Skills Center continues on, but the Center’s fate may hang only by a thread. This has only been “round one.”
On February 9, the Rally to Save Adult Education took over the perimeter of LAUSD’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. More than 2,000 of us gathered to fill the streets around LAUSD. There were impassioned impromptu speeches. Simply put, this noisy but otherwise reasonably well-behaved contingent could not be ignored. On March 13, the Board will review the findings of the Superintendent and possibly carry out “the big vote.” In the meantime, please be generous with your time, whether it’s to take a moment to call your elected officials or committing an afternoon to attend the next rally. The information should be posted soon on www.saveadulted.org. This site also lists the addresses of key government officials to whom letter writing campaigns can be directed. Please call (323) 929-2529 to be connected with an appropriate government official and voice your support.
Fellow Venetians, let’s once again rise for a vigorous show of determination and belief in the value of adult education.