Area Youth Programs May Face Huge Cuts

Diana Crawford
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - There's an unprecedented budget shortfall in the Lone Star State. This means Texas legislators are being forced to make some tough, but very crucial decisions about what can stay and what has to go. These massive budget cuts could especially affect youth programs in our area.

The latest estimates show the shortfall is anywhere from 15 to 30 billion dollars, which means everything state-funded will most likely be affected.

Perhaps one of the biggest targets for cuts are youth programs like the Maverick Boys and Girls Club, Campfire, and the recently closed S.O.S. Center, which depend on state money. Jason Sabo, Senior Vice President of the United Ways of Texas says, "You don't have a lot of foundations, a lot of wealthy corporate donors. If the state stops funding these prevention intervention programs, which impact people of all income levels, let's be honest here. If the state does stop funding them, there's no one to pick up the slack. These programs will shut down and they will go away."

Sabo says if these programs shut down, hundreds of area kids will have no place to go, adding without them, these kids are more likely to dropout of school, end up in prison, and rely on public funds such as welfare.

Youth program directors we spoke with say they know the cuts are inevitable, they're just hoping they're not too steep.