Adult ed finds new home at courthouse

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Potential impact on funding keeps agency out of old elementary school building

By Molly Haines

Following a meeting of the Owen County Fiscal Court and fear that students could lose some funding, the county’s adult education program will soon be located downtown.
The adult education program was expected to move into the old Owen County Elementary School located at 1945 Hwy. 22 East.
But on Nov. 13, Veronica Gayle, director of Owen County’s adult education program, approached the Owen County Fiscal Court to ask for a space in the Owen County Courthouse.
Owen County School District Interim Superintendent Sonny Fentress said the district contacted the education people in Frankfort and was told the computers are paid for through E-rate, which are taxes earmarked on telephone bills to benefit children’s education. If adults use the equipment, it could affect the amount of money the district receives through E-rate.
“We were going to move them in at the old elementary school,” Fentress said. “(Former superintendent David Raleigh) and I talked to (Gayle) before he left and we were all set to do that. Now we’ve run into this thing where we’re not supposed to do it because of the E-rate.”
Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said Gayle will temporarily setup a computer lab on the left side of the courthouse’s second-story courtroom, which has been left vacant since the Owen County Circuit Clerk’s office relocated to the newly-opened judicial center.
A classroom will be setup on the right side of the courtroom.
The program’s evening classes will be held at the Owen County Public Library.
The adult education program focuses on getting adult students prepared for obtaining their GED; getting skills up so they can return to college and also offers English as a second language and U.S. citizenship training.
Fentress said the district supports the adult-education program and the issue isn’t a matter of it endorsing the program.
Gayle said the original plan had been for the center to move into the Owen County Senior Center, located at 103 West Perry Street.
“So far, the county and the library board have not been able to negotiate that to satisfactory point,” Gayle said. “So that has kind of left us out in limbo. (Raleigh) offered us the elementary school, which would have been a good backup, but about two weeks ago we were informed we would have to wire the building ourselves for phone and internet. That was an expensive proposition that we couldn’t afford.”
Gayle said although temporary, the courthouse will make a good site for the program because the majority of their student population is located nearby.
The adult education program is expected to start back up Nov. 26.