Proposed budget cuts threaten adult education

Budget cuts would eliminate funding for adult ESL classes such as this one at SoBRO.Photo courtesy of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
Pending cuts to the city’s budget threaten to derail long-running adult literacy programs across the five boroughs, taking some of Gotham’s poorest down with them, advocates fear.

The Mayor’s proposed budget for 2011 would eliminate over $5 million in funding for adult literacy services, which if combined with the Governor’s proposed $2.6 million reduction, would “cripple adult literacy programs at organizations” across the city, wrote Phillip Morrow, President and CEO of SoBRO, to supporters of that group.

The Mott Haven-based organization is one of many community groups that offer adult literacy classes, and one of the biggest in the South Bronx.

“The proposed cuts will force us to eliminate all of our adult basic education and half of our ESL classes that serve a combined total of 750 individuals every year,” Morrow wrote, then added, “This means that approximately 520 students currently enrolled or about to enroll will be denied the chance to improve their or basic education, language, and job readiness skills.”

“Over 40 percent of adult residents lack a high school diploma and over one-fifth has less than a 9th grade eduction,” Morrow continued.

SoBRO is asking for tax deductible donations through a account to lessen the impact of the prospective cuts. A rally will be held on June 3rd at City Hall Park in lower Manhattan to protest the city’s proposed cuts.

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