Effort to save family literacy funding fails, Teton Literacy Center remains optimistic

(Jackson, Wyo.) - In late January, the Wyoming Joint Appropriations Committee voted to defund Family Literacy programs throughout the state and this week, one Jackson representative tried to recoup some of this funding. Representative Andy Schwartz introduced an amendment to increase the budget by $3,243,807, which could help protect the funding for the Family Literacy programs across the state, but the amendment failed in its second reading in the House. This cut will impact nine sites that offer family literacy programs around Wyoming, including the Teton Literacy Center (TLC). Since TLC has three main programs -- enrichment, tutoring and family literacy -- the funding cut will impact one program, decreasing TLC's income by 35 percent starting July 1. “This is an unfortunate bump in the road, but we are not going to let it get us down. We were aware these funding cuts could arrive over the next three years. However, they arrived sooner than anticipated, but we are prepared to move forward. We have been working to create long term strategic plans that will enable us to diversify our funding and strengthen our programs,” said Laura Soltau, executive director for TLC. Currently, the family literacy program at TLC includes intensive kindergarten readiness, afterschool programs and homework support for school age students, parent workshops, parent Education - ABE/ESL/GED, and parent and child together time (PACT). The program serves 35 families, 46 parents, and 83 children. Since the beginning of the Family Literacy Program, TLC has helped more than 150 families. “We served 555 students during the 2014-15 fiscal year,” said Soltau. “The demand for free services continues to increase with 25,040 service hours delivered to children in 2014-15 compared to 4,755 in 2010-11.” TLC stated in a release issued today that "through collaborative efforts with partnering organizations and loyal community support, the center will continue to provide current programs." The organization also said that they will continue to provide free services to the families in the community. *Feature Photo: h/t Teton Literacy Center / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news