School district shuts down Community Education at Ackerman
Effective after spring term, District Superintendent Trip Goodall has closed the Community Education program, encompassing classes such as Spanish, art, guitar and martial arts, at Ackerman School because it is no longer self-sustaining.
"We have been evaluating Community Education over the past year," Goodall said. "The program is no longer cost-neutral and the District does not budget funds to administer it."
Formerly a middle school, Ackerman currently serves as a multi-purpose facility for Canby School District, including housing the Community Education program up until the closure.
Community Education has been available in Canby for more than 35 years, according to former program coordinator Terri Lepire. The program offered classes and activities for community members of all ages, including first-aid, photography, open gym volleyball and a variety of martial arts classes like Tae Kwon Do taught by Michael Matie and Kempo taught by Troy Soles.
"It is a phenomenal resource for the city, and the community and the surrounding area," said longtime Community Education instructor Debbie Hazapis.
"I'm very sad to see it go," Lepire said. "What the community of Canby is really going to miss is summer."
She added, "I have had people call me asking, 'Where's the summer catalog?' And they're surprised when I tell them it doesn't exist anymore."
Lepire acknowledged though that only 3-4 percent of the Canby community was utilizing the program. But she said she believes the economy and the community has the potential to support it. In the future, she'd like to see the program revitalized with a dedicated staff and possibly a Parks and Recreation facility to house all of the classes.
Goodall said that instructors have been notified that they are welcome to continue their classes on their own.
"They will be responsible for their own insurance, requesting the facility, marketing their classes and collecting money," Goodall said. "These are costs the District can no longer afford to incur."
But Lepire said she worries that it may not be feasible for instructors to take on the costs to continue on their own.