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County Funding Cut Would Affect Literacy Volunteers Reading Program

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Under the County Executive's disaster budget, Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo and Erie County would be forced to cut one of its youth programs.

In the current budget, Literacy Volunteers received $50,000 in county funding toward its $400,000 budget. It also received an additional $5,000 in county money to pay for a peer tutoring program for youth. But if Giambra's proposed budget that slashes all non-mandated spending is approved, it would mean a cut in a program that helps children read.

"If we don't get that money, we will not be able to run the programming that we do, particularly the youth program. We won't be able to serve as many people as we did last year," said Tracy Diina, executive director of Literacy Volunteers. "And the projections are that we need to serve more people, because more people are knocking on our door."

Diina says each year they've been losing funding and have trimmed as much as possible.

"The County Executive has told the non-profit sector to scale back spending, and we have," Diina said. "He has endorsed a report, the state of the Child and Family in Erie County, and asked us to produce outcomes. We have done that. We are doing what we can and we are producing tremendous results."

Literacy Volunteers is among a large group of public benefit agencies that is banding together. They say they serve about 100,000 individuals. Diina says her group plans to continue rallying against proposed county budget cuts.