More information expected at annual meeting
By Jane Myhra
No decision has been reached on the future of the after-school program in the Clintonville School District.
After a lengthy discussion at its July 27 meeting, the Clintonville School Board did not come to a consensus on the issue.
“We want some sort of after-school program,” said District Administrator Tom O’Toole.
The current after-school program is funded partially by a CLC grant, and is strictly regulated. The school district has been approved for the $50,000 grant for 2015-16.
The total cost for the 2014-15 after-school program was $89,000, which included transportation costs.
Several staff members voiced concern that the grant-funded program has too many restrictions.
“Those restrictions make it really tough,” one staff member said.
Staff members asked the board to approve a district-funded after-school program that would allow more flexibility.
“Let’s decide what our teachers are excited to teach and let them teach it,” said Middle School Principal Scott Werfal. “We already have a number of activities for kids.”
“A program designed by us will not only serve the younger people in our district, but also the students in grades K-12,” said High School Principal Lance Bagstad. “It would give kids another step toward academic achievement.”
Bagstad said having control over the after-school program would allow the staff to assist with homework and provide Internet access outside of the classroom.
There was some concern over what would happen to the $50,000 CLC grant money if the school district didn’t use it.
“As a business manager, it is really hard to turn away $50,000,” said Business Manager Lynette Edwards. “But the CLC funding will eventually be gone, so if we can transition to our program, we will be ahead of the game.”
“I think we are wise to continue (CLC) for another year,” said Board Member Jim Schultz. “It has accomplished what it intended us to accomplish – we want our own (after-school) program.”
“The better program will be had if it is locally run and not CLC run,” said Board Member Dirk Weber.
Schultz encouraged the board to consider what is best for the students.
“The funding is not our biggest challenge – it’s the staffing,” Edwards said.
Board President Ben Huber suggested that the district keep the CLC-funded program in the younger grades and design an after-school program for grades 5-12.
“I am not yet convinced that getting out of the CLC grant would be the best thing,” Huber said. “The consistency of the CLC program is important to people. It provides a service to our community.”
He suggested the district keep the CLC program for one more year, and plan a district-wide after-school program for 2016-17.
“If we don’t implement it this year, we will implement it next year, so it won’t be a wasted effort,” Huber said.
According to O’Toole, the after-school program could be funded through Fund 80.
“If we’re going to do it under Fund 80, it needs to be approved at the annual meeting,” Edwards said.
Four of the six board members indicated they would be interested in more information and costs for implementing a district-wide after-school program.
Huber directed the administrative team to provide concrete ideas by the district’s annual meeting.