You are here - OLRC Home   |   Site Index   |   Contact Us
Ohio Literacy Resource Center LOGO Line

Testimony to the Ohio Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee
Mary Kern, Director
Marietta City Schools Adult Basic and Literacy Education
May 11, 2001

Good Morning. My name is Mary Kern and I am Director of Adult Basic and Literacy Education for Marietta City Schools in Washington County. I, and my colleagues, appreciate the opportunity to meet with you this morning. We are here today to request that you reinstate funding for education budget line item 509, Adult Literacy, to the governor's original requested level of $9,778,384 FY02 and $9,973,952 FY03. This line item funds 130 Adult Basic and Literacy Education programs serving 81,010 adults in Ohio.

Why are we asking this? Because ADULT BASIC AND LITERACY EDUCATION HELPS PEOPLE MAKE A CHANGE IN THEIR LIVES AND MOVE ON TO A BETTER LIFE.

Can you imagine being 32, the father of 4 boys and never having held a job in your life?
We often see individuals in this situation. Bob never knew any other life than that which Aid to Dependent Children could provide. He enrolled in our program to improve his basic skills. He never did achieve his GED, but he studied for the written portion of the CDL (commercial driver's license) with us. He passed, went on for his over the road training, and has driven truck for several years and stayed off public assistance.

Adult Basic Literacy Education helps people make a change in their lives. By supporting funding for Adult Literacy you can help the nearly 1.2M adults 18 and over in Ohio who have not completed their high school education, improve their situations. ADULT BASIC AND LITERACY EDUCATION IS THE BEST DEAL IN EDUCATION !! In FY 00, 81,010 adults were served through 130 state funded programs for an average cost of $282 per student per year. By calculating the number of adults who removed themselves from public assistance, secured jobs, or obtained a raise in their jobs through their contact with our programs, ADULT BASIC LITERACY EDUCATION PUTS BACK INTO THE OHIO ECONOMY OVER $4.00 FOR EVERY $1 SPENT. FISCAL YEAR 2000 ANNUAL REPORT SHOWS 919 ADULTS REMOVED THEM-SELVES FROM PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AT A SAVINGS OF $11,579,400. PROGRAMS REPORTED 8,252 ENTERED NEW EMPLOYMENT WITH ESTIMATED EARNINGS OF $88,395,424.

The cuts proposed by the House not only cut our state funding by 23-24%, but also jeopardize our federal dollars. There is a maintenance of effort stipulation in the federal legislation, which states if the state funding falls below 90% of the previous year's allocation, the federal allocation will be cut accordingly. The total proposed loss of nearly 4.8million Ohio dollars over the biennium will also mean a loss of 5M federal dollars Please don't let this happen! A loss of this magnitude will seriously affect our services to those most in need. I realize revenue is tight this year and you want to use the precious dollars where they will serve Ohioans best. Most Adult Basic and Literacy Education programs are part time with part time staffs. We share space in schools, libraries, churches, and civic buildings. ADULT BASIC AND LITERACY EDUCATION IS COST EFFICIENT! AND, ADULT BASIC AND LITERACY EDUCATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!

Jeff started working for Central Ohio Coal after he graduated from high school. He made a very good living and supported his family well. A few years ago Central Ohio Coal was shut down. This shut down had a devastating effect on the workers and their families who had been enjoying a very comfortable life style. Although the workers were eligible for retraining dollars, Jeff felt uncomfortable with his basic skills. He enrolled in our program to refresh his writing, reading, and math. Afterward, he attended Washington State Community College and studied computer technology. He is again working and providing well for his family.

Lina is a Japanese lady who married an American GI. Her husband was very supportive, but wasn't comfortable teaching her English. She started attending our classes to improve her English communication skills. She studied with us for several years. When she was comfortable with her English, she began working in a Chinese restaurant. She now OWNS that restaurant.

Adult Basic and Literacy Education serves adults who need to improve their basic skills in reading, writing, and math regardless of their level of formal education. We also provide family literacy and workplace literacy programs statewide. Our students come to us because they lack the basic skills that would enable them to function successfully as citizens, workers, and family members. Many of our students are parents and they cite after studying with us, being more comfortable helping their school-age children and improvement in their children's school work.. Because we work with the economically and educationally disadvantaged, all our services are free. We need your support to enable us to continue our vital job.

Adult Basic and Literacy Education is one of the best investments of Ohio tax dollars. It helps people turn their lives around. Also, Ohio school children have a much better chance for success if they are living in homes where the adults read and value education. Many of our students have gone from tax users to tax payers and, by improving their own education levels, helped secure their children's educational futures.

I am closing with a letter written by 2 of my former students. The full text is attached to my written testimony.

Thank you for your time and attention. We would be happy to respond to any questions you might have.





Ohio Resource Center Network Literacy Information and Communication System Ohio Adult Basic and Literacy Education
Return to the Top of the Page Return to the Top

Ohio Literacy Resource Center - Celebrating 10 Years of Enhancing Adult Literacy 1993-2003 This page http://literacy.kent.edu/Oasis/policy/testimony_kern2001.html
and is maintained by the OLRC WWW Development Team.
Follow us on
Facebook Twitter