BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A program designed to keep at-risk students in school and on the right track is in jeopardy. The non-profit, Communities In Schools, is pulling back some of its resources due to funding cuts and the Brunswick County Board of Education is not happy about it.
When it comes education, money is always a big issue and Brunswick County Spokeswoman Jessica Swencki says this year is tougher than most.
“This year has been particularly challenging,” Swencki said. “Because of the the K-3 class size reduction. The need to hire additional teachers and the need to also amend some of our capital projects to make sure classrooms are available for those new teachers.”
The size reduction along with cuts to the county’s at-risk funds led to budget cuts across the board. The cuts include a $75,000 reduction for CIS.
“Our overall goal is to keep students in school and have them be successful and work towards eventually graduating from high school, and being able to implement their own personal goals for college, career, and military services after they graduate,” CIS Executive Director, Bonnie Jordan said.
Swencki says the organization is vital for their students, but due to the budget Jordan says they need to cut back.
“Our primary impact will be the Peer Court Program,” Jordan said.
Jordan says it’s pulling its Peer Court Program that gives first-time juvenile offenders the chance to have their case heard by their peers rather than the court system. Jordan says the organization is also cutting hours of its five Success Coaches in charge of peer court.
All moves, Swencki says are unfortunate.
“Everyone needs one adult. And so the success coaches are really are in a position to be that one adult that connects with children at the middle school level,” Swencki said. “That kind of helps to make sure that they get the services and support and attention that they need and that they deserve.”
The Brunswick County Board of Education is still giving CIS $100,000, but Jordan says it is not enough for all of their programs. Swencki and Jordan say they hope they can work something out to keep the partnership going, and the kids in school.
“We appreciate the relationship that we’ve had, it’s been a tremendous asset to have Communities In Schools in our schools. And we hope that they will continue to reevaluate their resources and how they plant to utilize those resources in the upcoming school year,” Swencki said.
Jordan says they are going to try and raise the money needed in order to bring the Peer Court Program back. Jordan says they are planning a benefit concert in September and is planning to meet with the Brunswick County Board of Education in the coming weeks.