"We're not set up to be a direct provider of service, but we kind of filter people where they need to be — all year, not just holidays," she said.
Montgomery said Brookside's center has collaborated with more community-service agencies this year than it has in the past and that there has been more community involvement than ever before.
"As far as services and activities and speakers and parent workshops and things like that, we can tap into our own community resources and a lot of times get that provided at no cost," she said. "It's good to have community partners."
Funding for Kentucky's family resource centers is directly tied to the number of students who receive federally subsidized free or re-duced-price lunches. Montgomery said Brook-side Family Circle receives about $210 in funding per year for each student enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, even though the center serves all the school's students. The funding pays salaries and benefits for staff as well as programming and operations costs.
"The money is based on the number of free-lunch kids in the school, and yet we service every child in the school, so it seems unbalanced," she said. "But I don't know of a more fair way."
Jessamine County's centers have seen an increase in funding over the past five years as the number of students participating in the NSLP increased from 38 percent to 52 percent.
With the increased funding, Brookside Family Circle has had more money for programming and has started some mentoring programs. But now, Montgomery finds the center looking for where to take a cut of up to 6 percent — the maximum she has been told to prepare for.
"At this point, we're reviewing budgets and just preparing for where we can cut," she said. "That's all we can do, because Frankfort has no idea. Our people at the state level are waiting on the legislators to decide."
Montgomery said the center's biggest expense is health services. Brookside had a school nurse until she retired this Thanksgiv-ing, and now Montgomery handles cases of swollen lips and twisted ankles in-house and refers more serious cases to nurses who work for the district.
"Our school wants to take care of their kids, because if they're not well and healthy, they're not here," she said.
Kentucky has 782 family resource and youth services centers that serve 1,143 schools. Montgomery said Jessamine County has been "really lucky" in being able to have one center in each school while many centers in the state serve multiple schools. Although a cut could come in the form of combining centers, Montgomery said that would inevitably result in job loss and that a reduction in per-child funding was more likely.
"We know what we're supposed to be entitled to," she said. "So we're looking at that amount and deducting it by 6 percent and just deciding where the best place to take it would be."