(BROWNSTOWN) - Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center has nearly exhausted all resources and has struggled to find another option for educating its young inmates, director John Long reported.
Jordan Richart of The Jackson County Banner reports that at a recent county council meeting, Long told council members a solution needs to be found quickly, either through additional funding or by negotiation with a local school board. Long said he has never before asked the county for additional appropriations.
In the meantime, the facility's assistant director is handling class preparations, attendance, reporting and programming.
"Education is detrimental to our program; it has to happen, it's required," he said. "We have to provide these kids with the same education as if they were outside of here."
The detention center had a full-time teacher in years past, but that position was eliminated in 2007 for lack of funding and replaced with a part-time teacher. Additional cuts from the state resulted in the elimination of the part-time teacher to a part-time substitute teacher, which was not an ideal situation, Long said.
Brownstown Central School Corporation had provided the substitute teacher to help, but that teacher has quit.
"The substitute didn't even have a license," Long said. "I'm looking at all my options, but I have to figure out something. I've utilized and maxed out my resources."
The center serves not only Jackson County juveniles, but also inmates from Scott, Jefferson, Washington, Jennings, Lawrence and Montgomery counties.
In fact, the majority of inmates educated so far this year -- 107 -- were sent from the other counties, Long said. Sixty are from Jackson County.
The facility typically teaches 20 students at a time, most of them between the ages of 15 and 17.
That age range can make educating difficult, Long said.
"Some of them have been out of school so much that you have to teach at a middle school level," he said. "Our primary goal is to continue what they have been learning."
Long said some 17-year-olds come through that know they are going to drop out, but Long and the center do not give up on educating those students, too.
"If we know they are not going to go back, we get them on the path to a GED," he said. "That way they get something."
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