Teenage Parenting Center could close its doors due to budget cuts

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District may have found a way to save the school system $2.5 million, but it will come with a cost. The Teenage Parenting Center in Columbus could be shut down entirely in order to save the school district some money.

If the plan does pass, it means students all over Muscogee County will have two additional classroom days and teachers will have two salary days added.

"Right now it costs $2.5 million to operate the Teenage Parenting Center," explained Valerie Fuller with communications for the Muscogee County School District.

With the Muscogee County School District's budget being cut another $10 million, there have to be adjustments made in order to save money.

"The original intent of TAP was for the daycare portion to be funded by private donations and grants. When you look at the money we were receiving, the money the girls qualify for, you see a significant reduction in the amount of money from donations and grants," Fuller said.

But she adds, over the years the money has just not been coming in and the school district has had to pick up the slack, "You see in Fiscal Year '07 we received $95,000 and then as the years progress you see through '08, '09 and '10 Fiscal Years how much they have significantly reduced."

If the center does close, the faculty will be placed in other jobs throughout the district. Fuller told News Leader Nine, "The ones that may be the most challenging are daycare workers because that portion of the center would go away."

And with 111 students last year, we asked where will the young mothers attend school? She responded, "Of course the counselors and administrators would work with those students to transition them back into their home schools, because they still get the same education, to make sure they are ready and prepared to go back to their home schools."

The students would also be responsible for finding daycare services for their own children. But until a final decision is made, Fuller says the fate of this center is in the school board's hands, "It's important to note this is not final, no decision has been made yet. It's one of the things that will be brought to the table by the superintendent at our upcoming board meeting in reference to a proposal and a recommendation to close TAP."

This proposal will go before the school board on June 6th when they decide on the tentative budget for the upcoming school year. At that time the plan could be modified, voted down or approved entirely.

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