County DARE program in jeopardy
Cutbacks in the Franklin County Sheriff's Department could spell disaster for the county's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.
Franklin County Sheriff Larry Plott said the program's mortality could be judged sooner rather than later, adding there is a chance the program won't even make it to the end of the school year.
"We cannot afford to fund the program because of a cutback in deputies, but we are trying to partner with the school systems to get this program funded," Plott said.
Plott added that even though DARE is a worthwhile effort in our county, he cannot leave Franklin County's residents unprotected to run it.
"They [the county commission] cut the number of deputies so that we can staff the new jail when the budget was passed," Plott said.
Plott feels the only way to keep the DARE program alive in this county is to partner with the school system. However, Franklin County Superintendent Bill Moss and Russellville Superintendent Dr. Wayne Ray don't know if they will have the money to continue the program either.
"We think it's a great program but there is no funds in the state budget for it," Ray said.
He added that the program has been very successful in their school system, and that if they had the resources, he would not object to funding it.
Moss feels the same way, but budgets have already been passed for this fiscal year, and no money was allocated for DARE because they were not aware that there was a funding problem.
Moss said that he was told that it cost about $36,000 per year to fund the DARE program. He said the two school systems would have to work together to fund the program.
"We can't fund it all by ourselves," Moss said. "We have very limited resources and cannot afford to fund the whole thing alone."
Ray and Moss both agreed that the program is worth saving, but neither of them know if they are the ones who can do the saving at this point.