NEVADA, Mo. -- With a deadline looming and a shortage of funds, the operators of a popular camp for high-school dropouts have proposed substantial cuts to keep the camp alive.
The ShowMe Challenge program, which offers teens a chance to get their general equivalency diplomas, needed to raise $500,000 by Monday to maintain federal funding. Having raised a little more than $200,000, program director Sam Schaumann and the board members have proposed cutting the program substantially in order to keep it from being eliminated entirely.
"If we don't keep the doors open, trying to resurrect the program in the future will be slim to none," said Carol Branham, who has spearheaded the fund-raising effort.
The National Guard-sponsored program receives 60 percent of its funding from a federal grant and the remaining 40 percent from state funds.
With about $200,000 raised, the program would receive about $300,000 in federal funds.
At full funding, the program received about $1.6 million in federal funds and $1 million in state funds. About 15 other states are on a waiting list to receive federal funding for a program.
The camp graduates about 100 cadets twice a year and operates with a staff of 44. But under Monday's proposal to Adjutant General Dennis Shull, the program would accept about 65 cadets, with the goal of graduating at least 35. The staff would be cut to about 24 workers.
The federal funds have already been appropriated and would have to be sent back if the program is eliminated.
Schaumann said he expected a decision on the program within the next 24 hours.
"It's been kind of a roller coaster ride," Schaumann said. "So we'll have to wait and see."
About 125 teens have applied for the program, which was scheduled to start on Jan. 18. If the proposal is approved, the new start date is set for Feb. 15.