Polk after school, summer programs in doubt after grant expires

Published 1:26 pm Friday, January 16, 2009

Miller reported that the program&squo;s after-school attendance includes a total of nearly 250 students across the district. Currently, he said, there are 85 students at after-school programs at Polk Central, 60 at Polk County Middle School, 20 at Sunny View and 60 at Tryon Elementary on an average daily basis.

The summer program has approximately 225 students per day, Miller said.

The program has been funded for the past four years with a $1 million grant.

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Polk County Schools has enough remaining grant funds to run the the after-school program the rest of the school year and enough to run the summer enrichment program for a few weeks in June, Miller said.

Miller said that to continue the program after that will require about $200,000 per year.

Commissioner Warren Watson said the county might be able to help next year if the school system can make it through this year.

The county&squo;s new budget year will begin July 1.

Miller said if Polk County pays for the Builder&39;s Club program, many more students may attend. That could impact other summer programs, such as the county&squo;s recreation department summer camp.

Commissioners also may be faced with other school funding issues due to the current state budget shortfall. The state government has indicated that it may require school district to cut their budgets in the upcoming fiscal year, anywhere from 3 to 7 percent.

School funding issues will be discussed further by the Polk County Board of Education and Polk County commissioners during budget discussions later this spring.