C.I.T.Y. program faces budget cuts

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Like many other educational programs in Alabama, the C.I.T.Y. Program of Chilton County may be forced to make cuts due to proration.

Program coordinator Betty Tidwell said they may lose at least four staff members if the state program’s money situation doesn’t improve quickly.

“If we lose four staff members, that means we will only be able to help 20 students instead of 30 that we have done for the last few years,” she said.

Chilton County’s program is not the only program that will be hurt by the budget cuts.

The state has cut $1.7 million from the state C.I.T.Y. program budget, which is one-third of the program’s operating expenses. That means 28 employees statewide including one of the state’s 11 programs will be cut.

“It’s going to affect everyone,” Tidwell said. “Students will not be able to get the same kind of one-on-one contact with teachers and counselors that they need.”

The C.I.T.Y. program helps at-risk students ages 12-17 that are not able to be in the regular classroom. Many have fallen behind in their class work from being in the juvenile probation system. The program helps these students catch up in their schoolwork to the point where they can get a high school diploma, G.E.D. or employment.

Tidwell said they have already frozen their enrollment at 20 students until they find out what kinds of budget cuts they will face.

Until then, she is hoping that the state legislature will find a way to give the program more money.

“I would encourage everyone to contact your state representatives and senators and encourage them to support funding the C.I.T.Y. program,” Tidwell said.

She also added that anyone who would like to donate may do so at the C.I.T.Y. program building in Clanton.