Public testimony on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $25.5 billion state operating budget began Monday morning with complaints about cuts to a truancy program.

The governor’s budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 would close a number of sites operating through the Truancy Assessment and Service Center, or TASC, program.

The program attempts to reduce truancy among at risk children.

A prosecutor, sheriff, school superintendent and others pleaded with legislators to find $1 million in funding for the program.

Tom Hebert, head of the Jefferson Parish truancy center, said the program reaches out to children who are missing school because of poverty, sickness, parental neglect or mental health problems.

“If we truly want to move this state forward and truly care about education reform, …we cannot throw them to the wolves,” Hebert said.

The public is getting an opportunity to weigh in on the budget Monday and Tuesday at the State Capitol.

The House Committee on Appropriations has been reviewing the proposed budget page by page.

State Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro and the committee’s chairman, restricted the panel’s members from asking questions Monday to give the public more time to talk.

“This is always the people’s house so you’re always welcome to be heard,” Fannin told citizens.