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Budget cuts loom for Upward Bound program

Upward Bound Site Coordinator Eric Batista helps Southbridge High School junior Johonatan Pagan with math homework. Upward Bound is facing a 3-percent budget cut at the federal level. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although it may not sound like much, the You Inc./Upward Bound program has lost 3 percent of its budget at the federal level, but officials are calling on their state officials to help get it back.

Upward Bound is an after-school program for college-bound Southbridge high school students. Students who are eligible have to have parents without a bachelor's degree or have parents who make under a certain amount of money each year.

"Nationally, we've lost $26 million for Trio programs," said You Inc. Site Coordinator Eric Batista. "For each year, our budget is $250,000 and we serve 50 students. In the state, 19,661 students are served and the state's budget is $18,767,302. On Feb. 14, President [Barack] Obama proposed a $67 million addition to Trio, bringing the total to $853 million to $920 million. We thought it was great. Of course, that proposal didn't go through. I think it fell apart in Congress. The Tea Partiers are proposing to cut $61 billion from education services, like Teach For America, Striving Readers, which as a budget of $250 million, was shut down. In that $61 billion cut, there was a $26.6 million cut for Trio."

Trio started in 1964 as part of the Allocation Reform Act, with the Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Programs. All the programs are aimed at helping middle school through college students, although the students at Upward Bound are all in high school. You Inc. has been in Southbridge for four years, so this year will be the first year where Southbridge students will be graduating that have taken part in the program for all four years of their high school tenures.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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