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LITTLE SILVER: RBR’S ‘SOURCE’ FACES CUTS

rbr-100318-2-500x375-6090559The Source provides counseling and other services to hundreds of students and families annually, supporters say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486The in-school social services program dubbed The Source at Red Bank Regional High School faces extinction if a plan to eliminate state funding is not reversed, supporters said.

Under cuts to 91 school-based support programs statewide, the Source would lose about $277,000 in annual state funding, they said. That’s the full amount provided by the state, and its removal will have “devastating consequences,” Superintendent Lou Moore wrote in an announcement to the RBR community Friday.

While the state contribution is matched by the school district, and supplemented by moneys raised by a support foundation, “without State funding, The SOURCE and all of its free programming and services will simply NO LONGER EXIST,” Moore wrote.

The cut is scheduled to take effect September 30, Moore said.

He urged community members to contact Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer, as well as state legislators, to pressure them to reinstate funding.

“Governor’s office cut it. We are working to get it back in via the legislative process,” 11th-district state Senator Vin Gopal wrote in a ‘Save the Source’ chat group on Facebook Friday night. “Hang tight.”

The 20-year-old Source provides a broad range of services to help students overcome obstacles to their education, from mental health counseling to a food pantry. Here’s more information about services.

“Still trying to wrap my mind around possibly losing our funding after 20 yrs and at a time where our students, families and community needs us most,” program Supervisor Suzanne Keller wrote on Facebook

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Source Foundation has raised about $40,000 to help families pay their rent and cover funeral expenses, according to a ‘Save the Source’ petition posted at change.org.

The petition had generated more than 1,800 signatures as of Sunday. Here’s a sampling of comments (click to enlarge):

source-petition-comments-083020-469x500-3353677

Gopal, along with 11th-District Assembly members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling, has also launched an online petition.

Here’s the full announcement by Moore: RBR Source Press Release 082720

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