Commissioners OK $4,000 for adult learning program

Recreation department to take over operation from the school system

July 28, 1999|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN STAFF

If you want to learn how to weave a basket or dance the foxtrot, Carroll County's recreation department is the place to turn.

The county commissioners voted yesterday to allocate $4,000 in seed money to begin an alternative learning program that was previously handled by the county Board of Education, which has decided to limit its adult education offerings.

The 22 courses that will be offered by the county beginning in September include intermediate bridge, home landscape design, chair-seat weaving, basket-making, ballroom dancing and edible art (to make your food "more attractive, interesting and exciting," according to the catalog).

"These are the kinds of things people are looking for to fill leisure time -- just fun things," said Gary Horst, director of the county's enterprise and recreation services department.

Horst made sure to add a disclaimer: "Not that people don't take bridge or ballroom dancing seriously."

Community college role

Carroll Community College is also picking up a chunk of the courses being dropped this year by the school system, which wants to focus more of its adult-education energies on courses that go toward degrees, such as the GED -- General Educational Development -- rather than on enrichment or hobby-related classes.

The community college has added about 30 courses to its extended learning and work force development program in the fall to pick up the slack.

These include noncredit courses in the arts and crafts, accounting, basic computer skills, fitness and health, and English for speakers of other languages.

Bill Schaefer, recreation supervisor for the county, said most of the new county classes will be offered in the rooms where they were held when the school system handled them.

The majority were at Westminster High School.

Tuition -- which ranges from $35 to $60 for six- to eight-week courses -- will cover instructor salaries.

A small portion will go to the county for administrative costs and publishing the brochure each year. Classes are offered in the fall and spring.

Brochure to be available

The county will publish a brochure called "Alternative Programs" -- similar to the one put out by the school system -- that will be available to residents within weeks through the mail, in libraries and at the County Office Building in Westminster.

Cynthia Little, director of pupil services and special programs for the public schools, said the cut in programs was not a cost-saving move because the courses were funded by tuition.

"We just made the decision that we wanted to be more focused on getting people diplomas," Little said.

Pub Date: 7/28/99

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