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Literacy Alberni braces for gov't funding slash

Deep government funding cuts have forced Literacy Alberni to get creative  in order to keep its programs running.

The non-profit literacy society is facing a $110,000 cut in English as a Second Language funding in the next two years, “which will dramatically change our programs,” executive director Charmead Schella said Wednesday.

She is also expecting far less money from the provincial government after the latest budget was released without a line item for literacy. Usually the government provides $2.5 million for programs in B.C. through Decoda Literacy Solutions.

Last year the provincial government was unsuccessful in cutting this literacy funding; this year Minister of Education Peter Fassbender announced cuts, but has since reversed the decision slightly.

Literacy Alberni will probably receive $9,500 instead of the usual $17,000–$34,000 in community literacy coordination funding.

There will be no B.C. literacy funding next year, Schella said.

“We are resolute that we will not close,” she said. “I’m trying very hard not to cut any programs, I’m trying to be more creative with our programming on a streamlined budget. I’m trying hard not to cut any staff...with a shift in programs not to lose any learners.”

Cuts mean the funding Literacy Alberni receives through the Raise a Reader program run by the AV Times is even more important, Schella said. Last year the program raised more than $48,000.

“What we’re looking at right now, rather than being doom and gloom over the cuts, is we’re trying to look outside our literacy box for different funding and partnerships to keep our boat afloat.”

Schella said the society is grateful for the community support it receives.

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