Oakton trustees approve measure to fund adult education in absence of state budget

(Jan. 26, 2017) The Oakton Community College Board of Trustees approved a measure that would fund adult education for fiscal year 2017 in the absence of a state budget. Oakton’s adult education program has been operating without a grant contract—a total of $1.4 million from federal and state grant funds specifically designated for Literacy, English as a Second Language, High School and similar programs—in the current fiscal year.

“I think it is fortunate that we have the funds to be able to step up and provide this bridge,” said Board Chair Ann Tennes of the idea of utilizing institutional funds to replace state dollars on a temporary basis until the state budget situation is resolved. “The constituents that are served by these programs need the continuation of these services and the opportunities they provide.”

Oakton adult education programs serve approximately 4,500 students annually and are supported by 16 staff members, eight of whom are fully granted funded.

“Access to education for adults is fundamental to good citizenry and promotes participation in political, economic, cultural, artistic and scientific life,” said Colette Hands, associate vice president of continuing education, training and workforce development. “We are grateful to the board of trustees for their support and commitment to our students and community.”

The college has implemented cost reduction strategies such as combining class sections, developing additional partnerships and reducing out-of-district travel for professional development until grant funding resumes.