Lima schools will drop adult education, OPT Center

May 9, 2013

LIMA — A combination of funding cuts and declining enrollment is forcing Lima schools to drop an adult education program and Opportunities for Parenting Teens Center.

The programs will remain for the rest of this school year but won't return next school year. The district’s GED program will remain.

Superintendent Jill Ackerman said the decision to end the program is about being fiscally responsible.

“We cannot run entire programs with very few students,” Ackerman said. “And when funding is sliced, we can’t go in and pick up stuff with the general fund when we are not serving very many kids. It is just not a responsible thing to do.”

The adult education numbers have been diminishing over the past several years, Ackerman said. More students are opting to get a GED instead of a high school diploma.

“We have fewer and fewer and fewer adults,” she said. “Because of the way the GED is promoted so heavily, people find it easier just to get a GED than to go through the trouble and expense of a diploma.”

The adult program has some high school students coming in to make up credits. Ackerman said the district will create an after-school credit recovery program for them.

The OPT Center is an alternative educational opportunity for pregnant or parenting teenagers. The facility opened in 2000 in First Baptist Church on Cable Road. Along with standard curriculum, students also get parenting and life skills.

The center has seen repeated funding cuts, including being sliced by more than a half this year. Keeping the program, Ackerman said, would mean using about $200,000 from the general fund. That is not feasible, she said, with fewer than 10 students in the program.

The Lima school board approved eliminating the adult education secretary position at its Thursday meeting. Ackerman said other cuts have not been determined. Some of the staff could be tutors in the after-school program.

The school board also approved eliminating and then adding secretary positions at the high school. Ackerman said it is part of transforming the high school away from three small schools to one school.

“We are taking support staff we have and reformatting their positions to fit one school,” she said.

The reformatting of secretarial staff will not result in layoffs, Ackerman said.

Jill Ackerman