South Whidbey School District helps adult education

The South Whidbey School District has agreed to help the Whidbey Island Community Education Center get its footing by providing accounting services.

The school board approved a memorandum of understanding at its business meeting May 23, which provides up to a 5 percent reimbursement for being the fiscal agent for the education center.

“This will be a real asset to the community,” said Board Chairman Steve Scoles. “It’s something that’s missing.”

Duncan Ferguson, a proponent and founder of the education center, proposed using school district facilities to house classes for adults to the board in February. Since there are no community colleges on South Whidbey, only an extension program through Skagit Valley College, Ferguson said there is  a need for adult education.

At the time, the idea had little structure. A few months later, and the group is an incorporated, legal entity with a board of directors and an  executive director - former school board member Rich Parker.

The education center has applied for a $5,000 to $10,000 grant from the Sparkplug Foundation. Most of the center’s funding will be spent on rent, perhaps in one of the school district’s vacant spaces, and teaching fees, if Ferguson’s initial business plan he presented to the board in February is followed.

“Our progress is not as fast as we would like,” Ferguson said.

The school district will provide accounting services while the education center tries to obtain its nonprofit status. If the Whidbey Island Community Education Center becomes a nonprofit, the memorandum will be terminated.

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