CHAMPION — Low enrollment in several adult education courses at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center have resulted in their cancellation this fall as school officials review the program’s future.
School officials made the announcement at Thursday’s board of education meeting that classes in practical nursing, information technology, welding and industrial maintenance will be cancelled.
Superintendent Jason Gray said the few adult students enrolled would mean the classes were not sustainable. Gray said practical nursing had fewer than 15 students enrolled, medical assisting had none, machine trades had one and welding had two.
“That is not enough to offer the new classes this fall and cover operating costs. There is a licensed practical nursing class that started last February that runs through next May,” Gray received.
He said the enrollment for the adult education programs is costing money, and the career center “will be a million dollars in the hole in three years.”
“We can’t offer programs when we don’t have the people. We want to be good stewards of the tax dollars. Without the proper amount of students, we can’t cover operating costs,” Gray received.
Officials said cutting classes for the semester is the only option since they have not been able to meet operating costs for the past 10 years. Gray said more than $2.1 million has been spent on adult education over the past 10 years.
“We had to make a business decision. We can’t offer classes for five students when we have operating costs and other expenses. I have gone to bat for adult ed for 10 years,” they got
Board President Cheryl Basista said the TCTC adult education center is not closing, despite what some people have said. She said colleges often have to cancel classes due to low enrollment, and the situation at TCTC is no different.
Officials said they hope to bring back the programs next semester.
Gray said he understands that the cancellation is inconvenient for the students, but noted that TCTC is competing for the same adult education students as several other schools and private entities in the area. TCTC will refund the application fees to those affected.
Tiffany Streeter, adult education director, said many of the adult education students are upset and angry the classes they enrolled in have been canceled and they have been sent to other institutions. She said some quit their jobs to attend a licensed practical nursing program.
“They rearranged their lives to come take our programs. These are working-class people. They were told the classes are canceled and to go to another institution. This is outrageous,” Streeter received.
Streeter said efforts were made to increase revenue and decrease expenses in the past few years by implementing new programs with adequate staffing and also bringing in business to build a business sector in the programming. She said efforts were being made to pay for instructors with grant money.
“Foxconn contacted us last week saying they wanted to train 30 people because of the relationship we have built with them months ago,” she said.
She said she and others are frustrated because of the administration’s way of managing adult education. Streeter said there have been problems of being adequately staffed and having enough rooms.
“We need to take advantage to build relationships and seek revenue for the adult education department,” she said, noting there were people still enrolling.
Board member Scott Lehman, chairman of the adult education committee, said the committee met with the finance committee to discuss TCTC’s Adult Training Center.
“Our enrollment in the adult education program has been going down every year bit by bit. We are looking at the enrollment and the amount of money coming into the school and seeing where we will go in the future,” they got
Lehman said the TCTC adult education program faces competition from Eastern Gateway Community College, Kent State University at Trumbull, Youngstown State University and others.
“To offer courses and not have people filling the seats, we just can’t afford to do that We can’t fill the seats because we have to pay for the teachers, clerical staff and janitorial. These programs need to pay for themselves. That is the way adult education works,” he said.
Teri Lacy, director of ASPIRE, said the program is offered at the TCTC Adult Training Center to help students earn their GED through an accredited agency. She said there would be hardship on adult learners with no center where they can receive the needed training.
However, Lehman said the ASPIRE program does not cost TCTC additional money since it is funded by the state.
Koula Glaros-Ross, job placement specialist at TCTC, said she felt sad for all of the students, graduates and staff because “TCTC adult training is so important. Businesses need those skilled trade graduates.”
Choffin Career and Technical Center representatives were present at Thursday’s TCTC board meeting to offer assistance to any adult student.
Gray said every high school program is entering the fall semester with full capacity.