The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 5, 2013

Literacy Council closing the book

Funding dries up for adult learning

GREENVILLE — Much like parents who are overjoyed watching their children learn new things, the staff of The Literacy Council of Mercer County have enjoyed helping adults learn the skills many take for granted.

“It’s one of the most fulfilling things you can ever imagine,” the council’s intake coordinator, Gerry Moore, said Friday.

That makes the anticipated closure of the council at the end of the year tough for staff members, Moore said.

“It’s heartbreaking to see it close,” she said.

Moore’s been involved with the council since it opened its doors in 1987, when it was formed to help Greenville-area adults gain the skills they needed to get new jobs in the wake of the regional industrial collapse.

For generations prior to the shuttering of companies like Trinity Industries, Chicago Bridge and Iron, Damascus-Bishop Tube and R.D. Werner, people didn’t need much of an education to find work and it wasn’t a priority.

“In this day and age you can’t work at McDonald’s without a GED,” Moore said.

The council served between 300 and 400 clients each year and expanded from solely serving Greenville residents to becoming the county’s lead literacy agency since 1993, when it merged with the Sharon Literacy Council.

It was funded through community support, United Way allocations, and the state Department of Education, Moore said, the latter of which was delayed in the last fiscal year and the council was informed it wouldn’t be funded in the next fiscal cycle, leaving it without enough cash to continue.

“We did everything we possibly could,” Moore said. “The bottom line is there’s not enough funds to continue.”

“We’re extremely sad this is ending,” she said. “We feel particularly sad for our clients, they’re going to be the losers.”

The council’s executive director, Nancy Castor, said there was really no other option but to shutter the council at the end of the year.

“This was not an easy decision,” she said. “We all worked very hard to figure out if there was any way to stay open. It was a gallant effort.”

Castor was hired in May and replaced longtime director Dr. Georgina Rettinger, who resigned in February because of health issues.

At its height, the council employed 20 people, but presently there are six staff members who will stay on until the end of the year.

The top priority now is seeing to the adults enrolled in the general educational development (GED) diploma program, Castor said.

“We are spinning our wheels to help those people this fall,” Castor said.

“I would like the community to know we have enjoyed working with adult learners,” Castor said, adding she’s grateful for the support people gave the council, a sentiment echoed by Moore.

“The staff and community support have been outstanding,” Moore said. “We could not have done it without that kind of partnership and help.

“We really wanted to end on a positive note. We want to celebrate the good things we’ve done,” Moore said.

Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • Bus cameras will be listening, too

    Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.

    April 24, 2014

  • Union, city OK 4-year contract

    Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.

    April 24, 2014

  • 2 principals to be hired

    Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo