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Counseling program faces funding loss

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, May 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A counseling program for troubled teenagers and college students in Morgantown is facing the possible loss of a major funding source.

The Dominion Post reported on Saturday that the Monongalia County Board of Education will decide soon whether to continue contributing $39,000 a year to the Morgantown Area Youth Services Project. The board has helped fund the project since it began in 1996.

The city of Morgantown is ending its $10,000 annual appropriation because of its tight budget.

“We just don't have the discretionary income,” City Manager Jeff Mikorski said.

Project founder Danny Trejo said the project once had a budget of about $200,000 but is operating on about half that amount after expiration of some long-term grants. Three of the project's seven employees left when their pay was cut by 20 percent, and Trejo said the at-risk counselor's position may have to be eliminated if the education board ends its support.

“We understand funding considerations, but we do want to appeal the board's decision,” said Trejo, 61. “We think we're doing good work.”

Some youths served by the project have alcohol, drug or truancy problems.

“Or, maybe it's a kid who's just really behind in his work,” Trejo said. “Some of the kids we see have rough backgrounds. We used to see single-parent families where the father left. Now, we're seeing families where the mother left.”

For now, the project can count on funding it receives from other sources, including an annual $23,000 outlay from the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. $10,000 comes from the Monongalia County Commission, which provides phone lines, and the Morgantown North Rotary Club kicks in $4,600 a year.

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