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4-H on the chopping block?

UGA proposes to cut 4-H, more

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POSTED: March 3, 2010 1:00 a.m.

The University of Georgia is considering putting 4-H and some county extension offices on the chopping block.

Various news sources around the state -- including the Associated Press -- reported the proposal Tuesday.

The cuts are part of an effort to slice almost $59 million from the system’s budget, the AP said.

It could save almost $6.4 million — but will also result in 116 immediate layoffs, including 94 county 4-H agents and closure of five 4-H facilities across the state.

These and other recommendations will be presented to the Legislature as possible means of reducing expenses. State officials at the Capitol will have the ultimate say, however.

Shanna Davis, who is Bryan County Extension Agent and heads the local 4-H program, said the cuts would be devastating for "the state and the people of Georgia."

Last year, the Bryan County Board of Education considered eliminating its share of funding for 4-H locally, about $16,000.

Word of the proposal brought dozens of 4-H supporters out to a BoE meeting, where they spoke passionately about the programs and its impact on their children.

The school board ultimately decided against cutting the funds.

It’s likely the proposed cuts also will face opposition from many.

Locally, supporters of 4-H include Pembroke councilwoman Tiffany Walraven, who posted a pair of blogs Tuesday regarding the proposed cuts on the bryancountynews.net website.

Walraven wrote:

"Can you image no County Extension Agent, no 4-H Agent, and most of all, no 4-H program for our youth in Bryan County? Furthermore, it could mean that we loose our beloved Bamboo Gardens. I encourage all of you who read this to please contact your Representatives and Senators at the capital. Don’t let the University or state cut the Extension Program!"

- Staff and wire report

 

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