The Off-Site program at the Berkeley Adult School serves both adults with disabilities and seniors. Our program is the only one in Berkeley that tailors its classes specifically for these important and vulnerable populations.
For many of our sites we are the majority of their program. Our classes provide a crucial lifeline for both physical and mental health and for easily accessible life-long learning. They are located in diverse community centers and offered at little or no cost. If they are eliminated, our students will have no place else to go."
Students describe the importance of the classes as: “life transforming”, “I have learned through self-applied acupressure to cope with grieving the loss of my husband and to help heal a severe tendonitis”(Moving Qi Class), “when I first came I could barely walk; now I’m only stiff in the morning – and what can you expect in the morning” (Arthritis Relief Class), “this is where I grow” (Poetry Workshop).
The need for growth doesn’t end at any age; we all need a place to learn. People are not less important because they are old. People are not less deserving of education because they are disabled. The students in this program are part of the larger community for our K-12 students – grandparents who model going to school, artists and political activists who shape the environment around our children.
Last summer our program took a 50% budget reduction. The district currently receives almost a million dollars more than we cost from a block grant based on our program’s historic ADA. For years we generated more money for the district than we needed – those funds supported other BAS programs such as ESL and GED. Should we return to ADA funding, the elimination of the off-site classes will be a funding loss for the entire school.
Many of the parcel tax payers in Berkeley who have voted consistently to support education are over 55 and are students in this program – this is the one place that is designed to answer their educational needs – and it doesn’t cost a lot. The district notes that our total elimination will save just over $400,000. This is less than half of 1% of the total district budget. We serve over 1600 students in 19 sites with this funding.
Please support the continuation of the Berkeley Adult School Program for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities.