Youth program cuts likely won’t be drastic

Published 10:03 pm Monday, July 6, 2009

Chilton County’s CITY program will likely face some cuts due to a lack of state funding, but those cuts won’t be as drastic as originally thought.

Statewide, CITY programs received $5.2 million in funding — about $1 million less than the amount needed to keep all the programs running at full staff.

The program, which stands for Community Intensive Training for Youth, allows students who are falling behind to get back on grade level or pursue a GED.

“We know there are going to be a few cuts. We’re not sure exactly what they’re going to be,” program director Betty Tidwell said.

Even if CITY should lose a couple of staff positions (there are currently nine), Tidwell said they should be able to serve the same number of students, between 60 and 65 per year.

If that happens, however, some of the remaining staff could have to double up.

“We’ve done it before, and we can do it again,” said Tidwell, who has been there for the entire 13 years.

Chilton County Superintendent of Education Keith Moore has said he will continue to support the CITY program.

The board of education will provide a bus and required maintenance for the transportation of students to the CITY program’s facility for the 2009-2010 school year.

The facility is located in the old fifth grade building of the former Adair Middle School.

Although the state is no longer funding a bus driver, CITY will provide a driver for the coming year.

“I think it’s a vital part of our education process,” Moore said in a recent meeting.

A slight adjustment is being made on the program’s enrollment.

Instead of remaining enrolled in the Chilton County public school system, students may be listed as transfers to a private school.

This is being done because the Alabama Department of Education does not recognize a General Equivalency Diploma, Moore said.

“We’re being punished on AYP (adequate yearly progress goals) because the state sees a GED as a dropout,” he explained. “I know that sounds nitpicky, but one person could keep a school from making AYP. I am in 110-percent support of the CITY program because it helps our system, but I don’t want it to hurt our system either.”