Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Meet Us Halfway" Proposal

This is a plan proposed by George Porter 
as a fair and functional middle ground 
on the issue of state funding 
for Older Adult Programs.

Assembly Higher Education Committee,


   Please find below an alternative funding plan to begin in 2015-16 for
Adult Ed.'s Older Adult programs. Since early May this proposal has
been sent to Senator Liu's office on more than one occasion and by a
number of advocates. To the best of my knowledge, the Senator's office
has yet to respond in any way and so I'm sending it to your committee
here followed by an abbreviated explanation of the rationale on which
it is based.

Local Adult Schools are limited to claiming from the Adult Education
apportionment 50% of the costs to provide courses contained in the
Older Adults programs. A student fee may be raised to cover the
additional cost. These fees may be off-set by community contribution
and/or support from the overseeing School District's general fund with
approval of it's governing board. All cost savings resulting from
providing offsite classroom space (at Senior and Community Centers,
etc.) will be considered as contribution and may be used to offset
student fees. The Adult Schools may also claim additional funds from
the Adult Education apportionment to provide fee reductions for
seniors living near or below the poverty line and disabled students.
In no case may an Adult School claim more than its net cost of
providing the aggregate of courses within this program with the
exception of maintaining a specifically designated reserve not to
exceed 20% of the program's estimated annual budget.


This plan, though simple seeming, was the product of much thought and
discussion and addresses many valid concerns of both those involved
with these programs as well as those of the Legislature. From the
Legislature's point of view, I assure you that if this plan is
implemented the Older Adult programs will not grow rapidly (if at all
for a while) and that the quality and effectiveness of instruction will
not be appreciably harmed and in some cases may improve. It also
encourages more outreach through community-based instruction as well
as the development of alternative sources of funding to support the
base subsidization. From the program's point of view, though this
"meet us halfway" proposal is in many ways and in many circumstances a
difficult and high bar, a group of us feel that - hard as it
might be at first - the OA programs  can adapt to it for the sake of stable funding 
and the chance it provides for a modicum of reinstatement of educational services 
to those communities most severely effected by Tier III, Block-grant funding.

At heart, it's a proposal that a group of the advocates for Older 
Adults programs feel we can live with and be able to prepare for by 
2015-16. Without this base of funding to build from, most 
(if not all) of these already hard hit programs will be decimated
at the beginning of that school year and the existing investment in
experienced, credentialed teachers, established relationships with
senior and community centers, etc., as well as the integration of
these educational services into the daily operations of Adult Ed. will
all be lost. Instead we propose this compromise that will be to every
Californian's benefit. PLEASE AMEND SB173 TO THIS END.

   Thank you,

George Porter
- Native Californian
- Prop. 30 supporter
- 31 year Berkeley resident and homeowner
- Faculty, Berkeley Adult School
- Chair, Berkeley City Council's Commission on Aging*

*(the views presented here are individual and may or may not reflect
those of the other commissioners, the Commission on Aging as a whole,
the Berkeley City Council or the appointing Councilmember)

To contact the Higher Ed Committee, email Karen Teel at  She will pass your message to the committee members.

If you agree with this plan, you can let the committee members know that you've read Mr. Porter's funding proposal and rationale and that you agree that it's a good compromise.


Click here for a recent article in EdSource on SB 173.