PAISD looks at future of GED here
An adult education program might be established at the Port Aransas Independent School District in the not-too-distant future.
Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14, the PAISD Board of Trustees asked Superintendent Billy Wiggins to look into ways that the district possibly could partner with other entities in Port Aransas to supply an instructor for night classes for adults seeking a GED (General Education Development) certificate.
Trustees made the move during discussions about the tenuous nature of a GED program housed at Community Presbyterian Church. If that program disbands, Port Aransas would have no adult-education program for people trying to get a GED.
Volunteer Toni Somers runs the program. But Somers, 73, suffers from multiple sclerosis and has stated publicly that her health problems could force her to withdraw from the program. The only other folks helping run the program are four volunteers.
Somers has met with Billy Wiggins, superintendent of PAISD, to discuss the future of adult education in Port Aransas. Wiggins told trustees Thursday that he offered use of facilities at Port Aransas High School, including computers that use software called NovaNET, for an adult education class. The software allows students to do a wide variety of schoolwork at their own speeds. It also could be used by adults studying for a GED.
How to staff an adult education class at PAISD remains a question.
Trustees including Ken Dunton said PAISD should approach large employers in Port Aransas to see if they would partner with the school district to split the cost of a professional instructor who would conduct classes using NovaNET at the high school a few nights each week.
"Let's treat this with some freakin' seriousness," Dunton said. "…We should lead."
The program needs a professional, not just volunteers who might leave after a few months, Dunton said.
Large employers - both government and private - stand to benefit from a GED program because the program would help the employers obtain job applicants with better educations. Those are the entities that should be approached for partnerships, said Rick Adams, president of the board of trustees.
Wiggins said he will approach the University of Texas Marine Science Institute and Port Aransas City Hall. He said he also will talk to the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau to make connections with local businesses on the GED matter.
Wiggins said he also will put together a plan that would include a budget for the program and a calendar proposing a specific schedule for when the classes would be held.
Wiggins said he later will present results of his research to the school board to see what trustees want to do next.
Trustee Rita Reed said the school district should consider running a GED program by itself if no other entities step up to help out.