Associated Press BUTTE (AP) - Gov. Judy Martz announced her appointment Wednesday as Montana's chairman of a nationwide program for at-risk students, but local funding for the program is at risk itself.
The Jobs for America's Graduates program helps students stay in high school and develop skills to obtain employment after graduation. The classes teach students leadership and other topics, and help with resumes, job training and job placement.
The governor said she accepted the appointment because JAG's goals for young people dovetail with her own. "We need to help all young people gain the skills to be successful, including those that might be struggling in school or have dropped out," she said at a news conference.
But the program is being cut in Martz's hometown of Butte, and is threatened at other Montana high schools as well.
"Butte, Billings and Helena are all experiencing budget cuts due to loss of student enrollments," said Lorelee Robinson, state coordinator of the program. "For the school districts, it's easier to cut a program than to cut teachers."
The program serves 42 students at Butte High alone, and has averaged an enrollment of 60 students each year since 1990. The program is funded by the school district, but was cut in the upcoming school year to save money.
Robinson said Martz is committed to the program, and the group has a committee looking at alternative sources of funding, such as money from the private sector. Robinson plans to meet with the Butte school district in the next few weeks to help find funds for their program.