Adult education programs are merging statewide to cut costs

Jeff Bobo • Feb 19, 2013 at 7:04 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Although Hawkins County Adult Education is uniting with Hancock County as part of a statewide administrative merger, there is still ample opportunity for adults in both counties and across the state to earn a diploma.

Hawkins County Adult Education director Martha Stooksbury told the Board of Education earlier this month that the administrative merger was mandated by the state as a cost cutting measure.

In addition, Stooksbury said the cost of the actual GED test is also increasing as of Jan. 14.

“We know that the cost is going from $65 per test up to $120,” Stooksbury said. “The extensive material that is going to be covered in the new test is supposed to be more aligned with the new high school diploma requirements. As to exactly what’s on the test, I cannot tell you, nor can I tell you what’s on our present test.

“All I know is the material we use to teach from.”

Last month adult education programs across the state were also notified by the state director that they would be restructured across the state.

There are currently 87 administrative entities serving all 95 Tennessee counties.

The state director indicated that rising administrative costs were reducing available instructional dollars.

“We have to decrease the number of administrative entities from 87 to 46, increasing the size of the delivery service area while still providing services to all counties in the state,” Stooksbury said. “That was their goal. They didn’t want any county in the state to be left out, so they’re combining counties by numbers.”

Stooksbury added, “Hawkins County has been combined with Hancock County, and these two counties together cover 709 square miles. That’s a lot to cover, but we are expected to serve 660 students during the next fiscal year beginning July 1. They hope by doing this they will produce more GEDs, everything will move at a faster pace, we will be able to serve more and serve more effic i e n t l y. ”

Hawkins County Adult Education is one of the few in the state to have a full-time director, as well as a full-time teacher and two part-time teachers. Classes are taught in the evening at Rogersville Middle School, Volunteer High School and Bulls Gap School.

In 2010-11, Hawkins County Adult Education enrolled 198 students and graduated 92.

In 2011-12, Hawkins County Adult Education enrolled 183 students and graduated 64.

Since July 1, 2012, the program has graduated an additional 41 students.

“I’m very proud of my teachers and the job that they’re doing to ensure the adults in our community can step up,” Stooksbury said. “If they dropped out of school for any reason, Adult Education offers them a change.”

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