Portland Adult Education Finds Short Term Facilities to Replace West School

PAE Student Solange Techatat (L) with Portland School Superintendent Emanuel Caulk in front of Silent Rally at City Hall Today.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,455)

It’s official!  Starting this fall, students in the Portland Adult Education program will be attending classes at two separate locations for the short-term.  Meanwhile, a task force of people is being established to locate one suitable long-term building. Tomorrow morning is the last day of classes for 2,500 students at the West School, 57 Douglas Street in Portland.  That’s because West School has deteriorated into conditions that no longer make it a safe environment for its 2,500 students.

Peter Eglinton, chief operations officer for the Portland Public Schools, told the city’s finance committee this news early this evening.  For the short-term, students will be divided between the Kavanagh School, at Cathedral Church and Portland High School.  A long-term single building is the ultimate goal of the city Emanuel Caulk, Potland’s Superintendant of Schools, told a silent rally on the steps of city hall prior to the finance committee meeting.

“We are immigrants who benefit from this project.  We are pleased to be here to support the rally and see so much of the community here.  We will struggle until we find a new home,” Claude Rwaganje, who teaches financial literacy at PAE told those attending the rally.  He learned English at PAE and has been teaching at PAE for four years; originally Rwaganje is from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Solange Tchatat, a student at the PAE, told the rally said:  “We don’t ask for much.  We want to be good citizens. We need to be educated.”  Superintendant Caulk said the city values adult education and this program was an attraction to him when he recently accepted this position.  “The West School has served us well, but because of its rapid decline, we our ultimate goal is to find one building for the PAE program,” said superintendent Caulk to a large crowd.

The Portland Adult Education program was established in 1850 specifically to educate immigrants.