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Wednesday marked the final day of classes at Lewis Adult School in Santa Rosa – a real reminder of the impact of budget cuts.

The Santa Rosa School Board voted in May to shutter the campus as a budget-saving measure.

“I’m totally persuaded that the value for Lewis Adult School related to the general population is there, but it’s not our core responsibility,” said board member Bill Carle said at that May meeting.

Carle has recommended the district examine a fee-based program for adults while maintaining credit recovery courses for primarily high school students.

“We can’t reasonably take monies out of the general fund that are meant for K-12 and use them in this fashion at this juncture,” he said in May.

On Wednesday, that vote became very real.

“There are a lot of gifts for the teachers, it’s a little overwhelming,” said interim principal Laura Hendrickson.

For weeks, representatives from Santa Rosa Junior College have been on campus, helping students who take English, computer and other classes at the small campus navigate the potential transition to the larger Mendocino Avenue community college campus.

“There was a lot of trepidation and concern about not being able to get through the system at the JC,” Hendrickson said.

But many of those fears have been alleviated, she said. Students who have already found the classes they need have been coming back to Lewis and helping classmates make the move, she said.

The school issued between 15 and 20 high school diplomas in the last week, as teachers scurried to get students out with as many credits as possible.

But on Wednesday, as the final class sessions wound down, there were mixed emotions, Hendrickson said. 

Flan was served, there was music, potluck offerings.

“This is an amazing place,” Hendrickson said. “It’s bittersweet.”

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