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Budget shortfall threatens Brunswick DARE program

READ MORE: Budget shortfall threatens Brunswick DARE program
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The DARE program has been run by the town of Leland for the past three years. Now, budget concerns may mean an end to it. Like many local governments, the town of Leland is bracing for a budget crunch. A DARE program advocate says the town is not only robbing the community, but the future of the town's youth. Skip Wittkofsky wears his DARE hat proudly. He's been a supporter of the drug awareness program since it came to Leland three years ago. He's so invested, he personally raised thousands of dollars to get it off the ground and into area schools. “We need to reach these kids to let them understand about drugs, about crime. It's just so important, it's not a major amount of money to put a program on like this,” Wittkofsky said. For two years, DARE was funded by donations from business owners like Wittofsky. Last year however, the town of Leland took over the $75,000 a year cost of running the program. But now, DARE might be in danger. "We are at the point where we need to make the most effective use of all of our resources so that we don't have to lay anybody off,” said Bill Farris, Leland Town Manager. Under a new proposal, the town would stop funding the DARE program, and instead use the money for priorities like public works projects, and running the police department. Wittkofsky said he understands belt tightening, but not sacrificing a crucial program in the process. The town wants to take DARE officer Sherry Lewis off her education route, and switch her on regular police patrol. Her DARE police car would go back into the fleet, a car Wittkofsky said was bought with money donated by people in the community who support the program. Sources tell WWAY Officer Lewis's DARE car has already been stripped of its decals, despite the fact that town council still has to vote on taking away the DARE program. There is talk of the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department taking over where the Leland DARE program left off. But, there are budget concerns there as well.

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I DON'T KNOW "FUTCH"

WELL IS SEEMS THE TOWN OF LELAND MAYOR'S REALLY DOESN'T KNOW VERY MUCH ABOUT THE TOWN THAT HE IS IN CHARGE OF. ALL THE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DARE PROGRAM WENT UNANSWERED, ALL HE COULD SAY WAS I DONT KNOW. ANOTHER LADY THAT HAD BEEN IN THERE LAST AUGUST, HER PROBLEM CANT SEEM TO GET RESOLVED, AND IT DIDNT GET RESAOLVED LAST NIGHT EITHER. HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT OUR POLICE CARS NEEDING BRAKES AND TIRES, THAT THE TOWN APPARENTLY CANT AFFORD. MR. FUTCH ALSO COMMENTED TO MS. TAYLOR THAT HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE DARE PROGRAM, SO APPARENTLY HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITY. BUT WE HAVE A 1 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET FOR RECYCLING. DONT YOU THINK THAT IS MONEY THAT COULD BE SPENT FOR MORE USEFULL THINGS AT THIS TIME, WITH EVERYONE CRUNCHING BUDGETS-NOT JUST THE TOWN OF LELAND. AS A TAX PAYER I WOULD RATHER BE SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS THAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW. RECYCLING CAN COME LATER, WHEN THE ECONOMY HAS RECROUPERATED. WE HAVE RECYCLES BINS DISTRIBUTED IN SERERAL LOCATIONS, JUST BECAUSE MAYOR FUTCH MADE A CAMPAIN PROMISE DOESN'T MEAN THE REST OF SHOULD PAY FOR IT. WANTS & NEEDS WHICH SHOULD COME FIRST?

DARE WHAT

Truly DARE has a potential but it targets children while they are too young. The program as it is now would not work with children in middle school or high school .It needs to be revamped and program offered for older children.Some type of program that actually showed older children the benefits of not using drugs.Elementary aged children are drug free thank God, its the older children that are using, experiencing and searching for answers. Let the current system fall to the wayside and come up with a system /program that actually targets the age group that needs it the most.

DARE

Unfortunately children do start using drugs in elementary school, but parents and teachers and churches can do a lot to teach children about drugs.

The root of the problem

What completely floors me is the fact that every year we hear about how drugs is such a big problem in our schools...yet they want to do away with the DARE program! That's like saying traffic is going too fast...but let's take down all of the speed limit signs. Come on! There's got to be a way to continue the DARE program. There's been a lot of progression with this program throughout the years. Don't start going backwards now.

Dared to do drugs

DARE is a joke. When I was a kid DARE was like the biggest joke. Drugs are bad ok Every kid doing drugs has graduated from the DARE program. Yeah it works great! Why dont they teach us how to get a job, that sounds like a better way to invest in the kids.

DARE is a very important and

DARE is a very important and it does not need to be taken out. As a former DARE student it was taught by Ronald Hewett. If possible let the Brunswick County Sheriff take it back over until Leland can get it back. It does not need to be taken out of the scools its is very educational and it teaches the students how to say NO!!!!

Leave Dare program alone

Leave Dare alone. She is trying to help protect our neighborhoods from crime and keep our potential crackheads in school.

DARE Program

Since our property taxes are going to be raised, and since that will be based on the higher assessed values from the last assessment, it appears there should be more than enough money to fill the city's needs.

DARE

I really thing the resident's of Leland need to appear at the meetings every 3rd Thursday of the month at 7pm. Its time for resident's to speak out. And what makes the town manager think that we can afford a property tax increase to pay for recycling. Does the town manger think that the Town of Leland is the only one that has to tighten its budget belt. A property tax increase to pay for a 264,000.00 a year for 5 years. He said on the wway interview, that they had to cut budgets so they dont have any layoffs. Well dont you think that the residents of Leland would rather spend 264,000.00 a year on something better than garbage.

My comment

Oh come on! I'm a DARE student in 7th grade at Shallotte Middle. I love DARE! We have fun while learning about how to stay away from drugs and violence. Cutting this program is like telling children they have no future. In 5th grade, DARE really helped me and others make the right decisions. Please do not cut it! It is important and valuable to our community and future! PS: My DARE officer, Deputy Stanley, is awesome!

D.A.R.E. vs curb side recycling

Come on people! Which is more valuable,plastic or our children's future? For the Town of Leland to spend a "proposed" $264,000.00 on curb side recycling, and cancel the D.A.R.E. program, is just plain stupid! Leland already has recycling bins available at Town Hall. It may be a little farther than the curb, but which is more important? Maybe we need to recycle some of the Town's leaders next election!