URBANA — Next semester, Urbana Adult Education will no longer offer classes to community members in the evenings.
However, it will continue to offer adult education offerings such as studying English as a second language, becoming a certified nursing assistant and earning a high school diploma or a GED.
The evening classes are being cut because the position of the staff member who handles communication for them is being eliminated after this month, said Urbana Adult Education Director David Adcock.
They're known as community education classes, and those who participate pay to learn cooking, bridge, golf, foreign languages, computer skills and other subjects.
Adcock said Urbana Adult Education has been offering the classes for 45 years, but funding cuts and reduced staffing will force them to end.
"There's just no way we're going to be able to continue it," Adcock said. This semester's classes will wrap up as scheduled in early December.
"We're getting emails from instructors and people who have taken classes," Adcock said. "They're disappointed to see it go, but they understand it. It's been going on a long time."
This year, Urbana Adult Education took a cut of more than $90,000 in state funding. Salary increases for employees covered by the Urbana teachers' new three-year contract and other rising costs meant the organization had to cut about $190,000 from its budget this year, he said.
Community members paid to take the classes; the fees went toward pay for instructors and some staff time for Urbana Adult Education workers. However, the loss of that one clerical position makes it impossible to continue.
"It's been a kind of a community service," Adcock said. "It's never been a money-maker for us."
Adcock said he's grateful for the instructors who have taught the community education classes, as well as those who took them.
"It's been fun. It's been interesting. It's offered people some new skills," he said. "But all good things must end."
Urbana Adult Education will continue to offer its high school diploma, GED, computer, Certified Nursing Assistant and English as a second language classes, which are available to community members for no charge. All of those programs are popular, Adcock said.
"Pretty much all of our classes are still on wait list right now," he said.