Monday, August 24, 2009

Out of Business: Lawrence Township Community Ed

For months now, I've been worried about Lawrence Township Community Education. First came the spring calendar earlier this year: Instead of the usual mix of interesting local classes, LTCE offered only online options -- the same ones you'll find through any continuing-education program.

Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that the organization's Web site was down, at the very time when it should be posting its fall schedule.

So, I wasn't surprised today to hear that LTCE has closed its doors. It's unfortunate, because I've taken some really wonderful LTCE classes: biscuit making, cobbler making, tarot-card reading and more. I hope those instructors find homes with other programs, like MSD of Washington Township's community-ed classes at the J. Everett Light Career Center.

Kimberly Olive, the former LTCE director, attributes the closure to budget cuts in the Lawrence Township school district. This seems like only half an explanation, since a good community-education program can certainly manage to be self-supporting. Yes, people are cutting back on their discretionary spending, so it's harder for educational venues to survive. But I think LTCE was doomed when it released that online-only spring catalog. When you offer classes people don't want to take, you can't be surprised when nobody takes them.

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