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CITY might get much-needed funding

Eleven CITY programs across the state, including Chilton County’s CITY Program, could get an overall $1.1 million in funding that would allow them to continue operating at full staff through September.

An appropriations bill has passed the House but now must pass the Senate to make the funding a reality. This would prevent Chilton County’s program from having to cut its staff from nine people down to two.

“We shouldn’t have to lose any staff at all if the bill passes,” Chilton County CITY Program Coordinator Betty Tidwell said.

Tidwell was relieved when she heard the bill passed the House unanimously 102-0. She said she has remained positive about it from the beginning because of the program’s success.

“Our numbers prove that we’re good at what we do,” she said. “We get kids back on grade level and help them get a diploma, GED or a job. Nine out of 10 of them stay out of trouble.”

Sixteen students are currently enrolled in Chilton County’s CITY Program. The program has a capacity of 30 students under its nine-person staff but has had to limit enrollment due to uncertainties surrounding future funding from the state. About 15 of the students that are on a waiting list can be enrolled if the funds come through.

“We don’t want any of them to be left out or fall through the cracks somewhere,” she said.

A 2010 budget would grant CITY programs statewide $6.7 million for next year, nearly a million more than requested.