[Vision2020] Otter cutting help for families ... AMID BUDGETSURPLUS

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Sat May 19 22:55:47 PDT 2007

  It truly is upsetting that so many programs are to be slashed. This article states three times that the reason Governor Butch Otter is cutting the programs is because of information and recommendations made to him by legislative auditors. 
  The head agency in Idaho responsible for auditing government programs and making recommendations is the Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE). 

  Perhaps if enough concerned Idahoans emailed the office and asked the OPE Director for a detailed explanation or report of why such recommendations were made you could get an answer as to why they are slashing Head Start and other quality programs you are so concerned with. 
  Director Rakesh Mohan
  rmohan at ope.idaho.gov 
Debbie Gray <graylex at yahoo.com> wrote:
  Education subtractionPrograms for needy children face
funding cuts
Idaho Falls Post Register (Idaho)
May 16, 2007
Copyright2007The Post Register All Rights Reserved

Head Start will lose $1.5 million because of federal
cuts, while Parents as Teachers faces extinction
because of an interpretation by Otter's

The letter Sandra Jacobson got last week wasn't a pink
slip. But it might as well have been.

Jacobson, who runs the Parents as Teachers program for
the Clark County School District, was one of 60 parent
educators to get a contract-termination notice from
the state.

The letters came at the behest of Gov. C.L. ""Butch""
Otter, who, after conferring with legislative
auditors, determined that the federal dollars funding
the Parents as Teachers program were being used

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne launched the program in 1999. Its
goal is to teach parents how to keep their children
healthy and prepared for school.

Advocates of Parents as Teachers point to scholastic
success of participating children as evidence of its

But it's one of several state programs that could
suffer because of a mix of federal budget cuts and the
views of the Otter administration.

The federal government has proposed cutting the
federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
funding the state funnels into Idaho's Head Start, a
nationwide program for preschool children from
low-income families. (Parents as Teachers is funded
through the same pool of money.)

The $1.5 million cut proposed for Idaho would leave at
least $22 million for the Head Start program here, but
the Otter administration, backed by legislative
auditors, says the roughly $1.5 million in TANF
dollars earmarked for Head Start and similar programs
shouldn't have gone there in the first place.

The administration believes the Parents as Teachers
program and Head Start don't meet the criteria
required by the federal government, which calls for
TANF funding to provide assistance to needy families
as a means to promote job preparation, reduce
out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage two-parent

So they're planning on closing the Executive Office
for Families and Children, which oversees the Parents
as Teachers program, on June 15.

As a result, state officials estimate 25 programs
statewide will be abandoned.

Several other programs that Kempthorne initiated -
including suicide prevention and teen pregnancy
awareness - will also be affected, but the plan is to
merge them into the Department of Health and Welfare.

""We're just trying to respond to what's been
identified as an unauthorized use of funds,"" said Jon
Hanian, Otter's spokesman.

Janet Goodliffe, the program's supervisor for the
Madison School District, said she's set to lose
$26,000 - a fifth of her budget. Because the Madison
program is large - it serves about 400 children -
Goodliffe said she'll be able to keep the project
running through other funding sources.

Still, she finds the abrupt notification regarding the
contract terminations to be troubling.

""Why mid-contract?"" she said. ""Why can't we at
least have a chance to voice our concerns?""

Jacobson, who teaches 21 families a month in Clark
County's school district, agrees.

""This totally cuts off our programs,"" she said.
""It's an upsetting thing.""

Did you know?

Idaho will receive $35.6 million this year through the
federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
program. That will drop to $32.1 million by fiscal
year 2009, according to the Idaho Department of Health
and Welfare.

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