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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Battling for adult education
(Page 2 of 3)
Ann E. Friedman/Herald
Hewlett resident Karen Schoenberger has been teaching Pilates as part of the Hewlett-Woodmere School District’s Community Education for the past seven years. She expressed her anger at the district’s initial decision to eliminate Community Education courses at the board’s April 10 meeting.

The Community Education office currently has two clerical employees, one of which would be eliminated in the proposed budget. The cost of the programs and the office’s daily operations, according to Weber, is $180,000. “The program is not viable unless we pump in enough money to sustain it, and that’s a significant amount of money,” he said. “This doesn’t mean we don’t think these programs are important.” One of the employees will remain to administer the children’s recreational programs.

Trustee Cheryl May said she would like the board to explore more creative ways to register Community Education participants. “I think we can figure out a way to get volunteers to help with registration,” she said.

Charlotte Davidson, a Woodmere resident, agreed with May’s suggestion. “I don’t see why we couldn’t get volunteers to help with registration, as there are a lot of bright adults and seniors whose children have grown,” she said. “I think there would be plenty of people who wouldn’t mind coming in, because they’d feel important and linked to the school district.”

Mitchell Greebel, president of the Central Council PTA, said that the organization has been stressing the importance of paying attention to every aspect of the community. “Part of the drop in enrollment is because there was no catalog, and there are people who don’t know about our website, and you expect people to look there but it’s not happening,” he told the board. “This is potentially fatal for our budget, and we ask the board and the administration to rethink its position.”

Deborah Adler said she has taken water aerobics, yoga and Mommy & Me classes in the district since she moved to Woodmere six years ago. “A lot of people take advantage of these courses — people of all ages,” she said. “I’ve met so many wonderful people, and it would be a shame if they took these courses away.”

Adler asked the board to consider increasing out-of-district fees, which are typically $130. Residents pay $110 for most courses. “Look at them on a class-by-class basis,” she urged.

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