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State budget forces Communities in Schools to look elsewhere

Communities in Schools of Renton has had to adjust its approach to funding, after the state eliminated close to $100,000 from the organization’s budget.

On July 1, the agency that provides resources and support to impoverished students in Renton lost about $100,000 total in state funding. That money is equivalent to two CISR family liaison positions, which would support about 1,500 students in the district, said Sue Paro, CISR executive director.

A week ago, Renton School District officials notified Paro that the district would step in to replace the more than $90,000 shortage from one grant alone, with new funding.

“This is very good news and we are very appreciative of the support of the RSD (school district),” Paro said. “They have supported CISR through our 19-year history along with the City of Renton.”

More than $90,000 was eliminated through the loss of the Readiness to Learn grant, which CISR has received for more than 15 years. The changes came on June 30, when the state budget was voted on and passed.

“In that budget, the legislature took RTL funding along with several other programs’ funding, rolling it together and giving it to school districts under the Learning Assistance Program,” Paro said. “Renton School District received $1.2 million of new money to LAP. The Legislature designated up to 5 percent of this money to be for community-based organizations, like CISR.”

The redirection of funds has triggered an evaluation of CISR’s funding resources, but Paro said the new arrangement also creates opportunities for better service in the district.

“It’s a good solution as long as the school district partners with community groups to address the students’ needs,” she said. “We’re the No. 1 dropout prevention (resource) in the country,” said Paro. “We address the learning needs as well as the social, emotional needs of students.”

Without the district stepping into its “oh-my-goodness-help” situation, she said the state cut would have devastated their programs.

Renton School District officials were unavailable for comment at press time.

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