ROANE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Voters in Roane County have a lot to think about when they head to the polls next month. Not only will they vote for county leaders but they’re also choosing whether or not to pass some levies.
One of those levies, PATCH 21, could impact hundreds of students and families in the county if it's not passed.
The non-profit works in three counties in the state: Roane, Jackson and Mason. They provide afterschool programs and daycare services to students and families. Jackson and Mason counties already have lost some of these services, and this is now a last-minute effort to save Roane. But they need voters' and taxpayers' support.
The activity board in PATCH’s office, or Planned Approach to Community Health, is full of activities for kids in Roane County. But these activities could soon disappear.
"The grants that we operate on will no longer allow us to do some of the programs that we already do like woodworking, or glass fusion,” said David McCutcheon, executive director of PATCH. “We’ve already lost our jobs skills programs due to funding cuts and those are the programs that are vital to our community and vital to our students."
But a $215,000 levy can fix this problem.
David McCutcheon is the executive director for PATCH and says the organization has seven sites across the county serving almost half of its 2,500 students. It’s also the only daycare service provider in Roane.
If the levy doesn’t pass, those sites drop to just three and will only be able to help 200 kids. The entire daycare program in the county will also vanish.
"Grant funding is more academic based and the way it's changing and evolving over the years, it's starting to narrow down the focus and the amount of kids you can serve,” McCutcheon said. “And that focus is one of the things the levy will help us alleviate. By having the levy we'll be able to open the doors back up to every child at every site and expand what we do for the community."
It’ll also open doors for students who don’t move onto higher education.
"When you only have 30 percent that go on to college, that leaves 70 percent of our students that need job skills," he said.
Now McCutcheon hopes to gain enough support to keep a program going that’s keeping kids safe, helping working parents, providing jobs and making the community stronger.
If the levy passes it’ll be the first of it’s kind in the state. It’ll be the only program that has a local levy that supports daycare and afterschool programs.
While no one wants to see an increase in their taxes, this one costs less than a soda a week -- only about $30 a year.
One hundred percent of the funds would be used for daycare, afterschool programs and community development.
PATCH is also the fourth largest employer in Roane County and officials hope to expand it even more by adding jobs. That’s only if the levy passes.
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