The future of the After School Program at Rexford Longfellow Elementary School in Clintonville is in doubt.
Even though the Clintonville School Board unanimously approved applying for the Elementary Community Learning Center Grant for the After School Program for next year, the program may not survive in Clintonville.
Several residents of the district addressed the board at its meeting Monday, April 27, about the program. All those who spoke were supportive of the program, cited the many benefits of the program, and want to see it continue next year.
Board member Jim Schultz told the board he was contacted by a representative of the Department of Public Instruction, who asked how the Clintonville After School Program has gone from one of the best in the nation to losing the program at the middle school this year, and is considering getting rid of the program at the elementary school next year.
The district currently receives a $50,000 grant to run the program.
Even though the district receives the grant, District Administrator Tom O’Toole said the district spends more than $50,000 per year on the program.
O’Toole said when the program first started in Clintonville, the district received $100,000 per school, per year for the program.
“Now we’re trying to run the same program on $50,000,” O’Toole said.
He added that it costs the district $88,000 to run the program, meaning the district has to come up with $38,000 that the grant doesn’t provide.
O’Toole acknowledged the program is beneficial for the kids in the program, but the number of students enrolled in the program has declined.
He said school staff willing to teach during the program has also declined.
“I don’t blame them,” O’Toole said.
The district tried to find staff to run the middle school After School Program this year, but was unable to find an adequate number, O’Toole said.
Jeff See, program director for the district’s After School Program, agreed with O’Toole that enough staff would not commit to the program at the middle school for the program to continue this year.
Eventually the discussion turned to what can be done to save the program.
Seeking volunteers for the program was suggested. As was asking high school students to help with it.
After much discussion, board President Ben Huber asked if the district would be harmed if it submitted the application for the grant and then decided at a later date to discontinue the program, like it did for the middle school.
If the district discontinued the program, it would have to return the grant money.
The board unanimously approved applying for the grant for next year.
In the meantime the district will seek volunteers to help with the program.