A state-funded program that until recently operated in some schools in the Cape Girardeau School District and elsewhere across the state stands in sharp contrast to the Jackson program to help at-risk students. Caring Communities recently lost its state funding.
As a concept, Caring Communities sounded good. The idea was to provide help where the children are: in the schools. The program was to provide counseling and tutoring for the students and help their families as well.
Some school officials say students benefited. However, Caring Communities' demise shows that it wasn't the kind of program that convinced legislators of the need for continued funding. When the funding went, so did the services. An option would have been for the program to become self-sufficient -- the Jackson program found grant funding -- so the children would have continued to receive help.
Now Caring Communities employees are being offered jobs in the defunct program's umbrella agency, the Community Caring Council, and its participating agencies that received state funding for another year.
Let's hope that there's actual work for them to do and that this isn't an effort to protect their jobs at taxpayer expense.