MUSCATINE, Iowa—On Feb. 24, the Muscatine Community Y announced that the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors will consider cutting funding to Special Olympics in their fiscal 2021 budget. Since 2003, the Board has provided Special Olympics Muscatine with $30,000. This made up 30% of Special Olympics Muscatine’s 2019 budget.
Supervisor Nathan Mather shared that the Board made this decision because of budget shortfalls for mental health: “We’re in a really tight funding situation right now with the mental health budget, and they’re (Special Olympics) a non-core service. This is not a comment on the group. We love Special Olympics.”
In 2019, Special Olympics Muscatine’s Director and only paid staff member, Jason Miller, arranged for 173 athletes to travel to competitions for 13 different sports and attend camp Kan-Do and the annual Special Olympics Play Day. A 30% funding cut would make it difficult for Miller to continue these opportunities. “Unfortunately, programming will suffer,” he emphasized.
The Board will not finalize their budget until March 16. Budget items can still come up for discussion or amendment at their March 2 and 9 meetings at 9:00 am in the Muscatine County Administration Building, 414 East Third Street, Muscatine.