|Portland Children's Levy announces funding cuts
THE MIDCOUNTY MEMO
The Committee, comprised of City Commissioner and Chair Dan Saltzman, city-appointed representative Julie S. Young, county-appointed representative Adrienne Livingston, Portland Business Alliance representative Ron Beltz, and Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, reduced funding on nearly every program, some by as little as 3 percent; and others up to 50 percent. Six investments were discontinued.
The week prior, the committee approved $1.3 million in reductions for Leverage Fund, After-School and Mentoring grants, which brings the total overall reduction for Levy investments next year to $3.5 million.
The Portland Children's Levy invests in programs designed to help prepare children for school, provide safe and constructive after-school alternatives, prevent child abuse, neglect and family violence, and assist foster children. Organizations receive funding through a competitive process, must show a history of success, be cost effective, and demonstrate positive results.
Created by voters in 2002, the PCL was renewed for another five years in fall of 2008.
Homeowners support the PCL through a property tax of about $60 a year for a home with an assessed value of $150,000. The levy generates some $10 million a year. Audited annually, administrative expenses cannot exceed more than five percent of revenues.
The PCL funds 69 different programs for children from birth through high school and an additional 15 programs through the PCL's Leverage Fund.
The depressed housing market and lower real estate property values created a reduction in the money available to the fund the levy, resulting in necessary cuts. The following programs are a sample of the funding reductions affecting citywide and/or specifically Mid-county programs for the 2012-2013 year:
Early Childhood Programs: 22.8 percent overall funding cut
Impact NW Parent Child Development Services -33.5 percent cut, $112,500 renewed.
Program designed to help struggling parents develop the skills they need to support their children's learning and development.
Morrison Child & Family Services - Listos Para Aprender -33 percent cut, $285,481 renewed.
A home-visitation, school-preparedness program for families who have children younger than three or are pregnant, whose primary language is Spanish or an indigenous language from Central or South America.
Neighborhood House - Child Care Improvement Project -32.5 percent cut, $307,809 renewed.
Helps family childcare providers enhance the quality of their childcare programs and supports their professional development; many locations; Russian & Latina networks located in east county.
The Latino Network's Juntos Aprendemos/Together We Learn -25.5 percent cut, $162,789 renewed.
A program designed to help improve literacy among children of Spanish speaking families using parent education strategies.
IRCO - Child and Parent Success -25 percent cut, $190,363 renewed.
Imparts parenting skills that promote healthy child development for immigrant and refugee children ages 0 to 5.
The Morrison Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation -18 percent cut, $430,779 renewed.
Provides prevention services for young children.
Mt. Hood Community College - Early Head Start -13.5 percent cut, $284,079 renewed.
Enrolls pregnant moms and children who are birth to three in a variety of programs.
After School Programs: 21.4 percent overall funding cut
Chess for Success -34.8 percent cut, $31,123 renewed.
Helps children develop skills for success in school and life by learning chess.
Impact NW - Urban Opportunities -33.3 percent cut, $54,158 renewed.
Increases participants' knowledge of the job seeking process, engagement in the learning process, and self-confidence.
IRCO: Inspire program -31.3 percent cut, $158,171 renewed.
Serves Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Slavic 4th -8th grade children and their families at three schools in Southeast Portland: Lents, Marysville and Clark Schools.
Metropolitan Family Service: SUN Schools -7.9 percent cut, $192,014 renewed.
Offers academic support, recreational and social activities, and access to health and social services.
Camp Fire SUN Program - 2.9 percent cut, $288,026 renewed.
Offers both academic support and enrichment activities to students.
Foster Care Programs: (citywide by nature) 21 percent overall funding cut
Children's Relief Nursery -8.4 percent cut, $51,036 renewed.
Foster care services for abused, neglected or traumatized children under age 4.
Mentoring Programs: 13.9 percent overall funding cut
IRCO - AIM -19.2 percent cut, $122,024 renewed.
A community-based mentoring program that matches young African immigrants and refugees in Southeast Portland with an adult mentor from the community.
Metropolitan Family Services -17.7 percent cut, $137,547 renewed.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters -14.2 percent cut, $174,576 renewed.
Community-based mentoring program.
Impact NW - Mentoring Program -14.2 percent cut, $102,963 renewed.
Connects at-risk Portland youth aged 5-18 with supportive volunteer mentors.
SMART Reading Program -14.2 percent cut, $60,087 renewed.
Helps kids become confident readers by providing individual volunteer attention and new, take-home books.
Friends of the Children -9.2 percent cut, $399,302 renewed.
Professional, salaried mentors make a 12-year commitment to youth from troubled homes.
Trillium Family Services - Family of Friends Mentoring -9.2 percent cut, $53,764 renewed.
Matches volunteer families with 6-9-year-old children in need of caring, safe mentoring relationships.
Leverage Fund - Each program cut by 13.3 percent
The Children's Levy currently has nine investments in which it has leveraged dollar for dollar matches from private and public investors. Some Mid-county programs include:
Children's Relief Nursery - Eastern Expansion $81,942 renewed.
Hacienda Community Development Corporation $73,861 renewed.
Offers a combination of bilingual academic support, culturally appropriate enrichment activities, summer programming and parental involvement to children grades K-8.
Morrison Child & Family Services $59,766 renewed.
Mental health treatment for sexually abused children aged 4-18.
Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention Programs: 8.6 percent overall funding cut
Pathfinders of Oregon -4.2 percent cut, $157,745 renewed.
Family stabilization programs for parents involved in the criminal justice system.
Volunteers of America - Home Free -7.6 percent cut, $129,048 renewed.
Information, skill building and support for families of domestic violence.
Listen to Kids- Parent Child Involvement Project -5.2 percent cut, $82,962 renewed.
Works to reduce the negative effects of domestic violence on children by strengthening the parent-child relationship.
Children's Relief Nursery -3.6 percent cut, $301,565 renewed.
Provides early childhood intervention & trauma relief services.
Portland-Wide Programs Cut Completely
Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
School-based Mentoring Program $98,916 discontinued.
Project Hope Foster care $121,146.00 discontinued.
Library Foundation - Multnomah County Library - Raising a Reader $47,750 discontinued, $170,000 discontinued Leverage Funds.
Engaging parents in a routine of daily book cuddling with their children under five to foster healthy brain development, parent-child bonding, and early literacy skills.
In an effort to address concerns gathered from community input meetings, the previous funding cycle had favored culturally specific programs and those involving a certain percentage of children east of 82nd. According to PCL spokesperson Mary Gay Broderick, staff originally argued for a similar leniency towards those factors when considering cuts. However, the Allocation Committee rejected those two parameters, relying instead on other criteria, such as underuse of funds and performance issues, to distribute the cuts.
The remaining grants were renewed for one year, from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, with the possibility of an additional year of funding in 2013-14. PCL staff recommended the one-year renewal due to the uncertainty of economic revenue predictions. The Committee will determine how to proceed after the city economist provides better revenue projections, after January 2013.
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