Trump budget will harm Oberlin

To the editor:

In his recently released budget, President Donald Trump proposed massive cuts to education programs that assist low-income families and communities.

One cut — $490 million from the federal work study program — would affect thousands of college students and have a direct, negative impact on our community. Federal work study is a form of financial aid where qualifying college students earn money while working for community programs. College students get assistance with their college costs, contribute to the community, and gain valuable work skills. Community programs are able to broaden their reach and provide additional services.

Oberlin Community Services, the MAD Factory, Oberlin Heritage Center, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Kendal at Oberlin are a few of the organizations that benefit from this work program. America Reads, the work study program I coordinate, employs 40 reading tutors in the Oberlin City School District, Oberlin Early Childhood Center, Boys and Girls Club, and the Eastwood after-school program, at no cost to those sites. We also host Dr. Seuss Day and assist with other events in the district and community. This year, America Reads tutors provided over 1,500 hours of tutoring and Oberlin community engagement, and that is just one program in Oberlin.

Rep. Jim Jordan (202-225-2676) and Sen. Rob Portman (202-224-3353) should come to Oberlin and explain how massive tax cuts for the rich will replace funding for tutors, program assistants, office aides, and researchers, to name a few. How will those cuts translate to new revenues for Oberlin families struggling to afford college, even at the most affordable institutions? It won’t, and they know it. If these cuts happen, there isn’t local money or systems to replace these services. No one in the private sector will replicate this model. Savings for tax payers? Zero.

We have to decide how much we are willing to lose here. If we aren’t willing to pick up a phone or a pen now, when we are finally faced with a loss we can’t bear, it may be too late.

Maureen Simen