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May 19, 2010 7:08 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Safe & Drug Free Schools Program: Funding Cut

Another educational program feels the blow of budget cuts. The State's "Safe and Drug Free Schools" Program will not receive federal funding for the upcoming school year. The program has been implemented in Lafayette Parish for over 30 years.

Supervisor of the Lafayette Parish program, Maxine Hamilton, says parents should be concerned about the absence of the program in schools, because she says, it's working to keep kids safe and drug free.

"There is still a problem, but that doesn't mean that what we've done over the past 30 years has not been in vain," Hamilton said.

Even without funding, the program is still required by the State. So, administrators gathered in Lafayette on Wednesday to discuss options for keeping the program operating in schools.

"They're going to have to be very creative... A lot of free stuff," President of the LA Association of SDFS, Tisa Hill said.

Hill says administrators will have to collaborate with outside resources, including non-profit agencies and the sheriff's departments, in order to provide the services the State mandates, but is not funding.

This round of cuts only affects the upcoming school year. The money will be re-instated in the fall of 2011, but on a competitive basis. This means, parishes will have to provide data, showing the individual need of each district, such as violence prevention or drug prevention. The funds had previously been distributed based on each district's population.

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