Adult education loses funding
By Amber Price
McNairy County Adult Education is in financial need due to recent reduction of funds normally granted from United Way.
Adult Education, which has received and depended on the funding for the past 15 years, now has a significant budget gap and is requesting support from the community. This year’s grant was 90 percent less than the previous year.
According to Alan Turner, President and CEO of United Way of West Tennessee, available funds in McNairy County decreased by 10 percent this year. Volunteers from each county are responsible for determining which programs receive funds. Turner stated that, generally, for every $3 requested only $1 is available to distribute.
Patsy Pearson, Supervisor of McNairy County Adult Education, expressed gratitude for all assistance received that has allowed the program to help individuals in need of service.
Last program year, Adult Education served more than 200 adults. Sixty of those students were able to earn a GED. Adult Education also strives to help people refresh skills after job displacement and people who need assistance learning basic skills such as math and reading.
“We try to make a better life for people, and it starts with education,” says Pearson. “We value people who have not had the same opportunities that we have.”
Students entering the program are assessed and educated according to their individual needs. Many students are able to greatly improve the quality of their lives through the assistance and encouragement they receive from Adult Education.
In the past, United Way funds have been used to pay for student test fees, utility bills, and student materials among other things needed for the program. The funds also help provide a graduation service for the students. If United Way funding continues to be low, the funds for these things will be needed from other sources.
The program hopes to be able to continue providing the best possible service to the citizens of McNairy County.