Janesville School Board OKs spending on programs

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April 28, 2010
— Two programs that keep at-risk students on track and in school got the thumbs-up and funding from the Janesville School Board on Tuesday night.

The programs were at risk of being phased out because grants that support them run out at the end of this school year. They are:

-- The TATE Center, which gives expelled students a place to continue their educations.

-- Two “youth advocates,” who help students of color who might otherwise fall behind in school.

The board voted to add $38,000 to next year’s budget for the TATE center and $90,355 to cover the salaries and benefits of the two advocates. Both programs boasted accomplishments that impressed board members.

The TATE Center was credited with helping 49 formerly-expelled students graduate, which generated $441,000 in revenue, according to a


The youth advocates, who are black, are credited with serving as role models in a district that has almost no other black adult faces in the schools.

Their efforts are credited with reducing truancies, increasing graduation rates and increasing college visits by students who would be the first in their families to attend college.

Board member DuWayne Severson said the programs are worthy, but he opposes approving the budget piecemeal. Spending items should be weighed against all other items in the budget when the time comes, he said.

Severson noted that various budget scenarios the board is considering for next year call for cutting expenses by as much as $4.3 million.

Severson led a charge to postpone the votes. That effort failed, and the full board then voted unanimously to fund the programs.

The board did vote to postpone a vote on adding a half-time teacher of Chinese until its special budget meeting next Wednesday. The teacher would join the existing full-time Chinese teacher and support the expansion of the Chinese program into the sixth grade.

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