Success in Jeopardy: Can Washington Middle School find the money?

Success in Jeopardy: Can Washington Middle School find the money?
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Come rain or shine, Washington Middle School Family Support Specialist Manuel Bazan is out everyday knocking on doors.

It's Bazan's his job to get kids back in school if they haven't been showing up.

Kay Howard's grandson is one of those kids.

"We wouldn't know who else to contact about all this stuff. I didn't know what to do. I had no idea what to do with him," said Howard.

Manuel also connects families with services they might qualify for. That can mean help with groceries and childcare.

Administrators at Washington expect to help double the families this year, compared to last.

"Maybe it's a lack of guidance, sometimes it's...they don't have interest in school. We try to influence them and show them the proper way. You, know that it is very important for them to be in school," said Bazan.

That influence can be seen immediately. KIMA learned since the beginning of the school year two-dozen kids have missed ten or more days of school at Washington.

That's down by almost 50-percent compared to two years ago. Before that, almost 100 kids missed an excessive amount of school.

While the benefits are clear the money isn't. Manuel's job is set to go away after this school year.

KIMA asked Washington Middle School Principal Dave Chaplin, "Is the progress you've made here at jeopardy?"

"Yes, the progress we've made utilizing Manuel's position and our therapist and our academic programs we've started are in jeopardy of being, not going going away but not being as implemented as fully as we are now," said Chaplin.

To keep those program operating fully, principal Chaplin is hard at work trying to find ways to keep Manuel around.

He doesn't want families like Howard's to be bear the brunt of the loss.

KIMA asked Howard, "If he wasn't here, where would you see your grandson?"

"Probably in the juvenile system, a lot quicker," said Howard.