Polk County after-school programs in doubt

Published 7:49 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In 2005, Polk County Schools received $1.3 million to provide a variety of after school and summer school enrichment programs over four years. That money ran out this year.

Polk applied for more funds, but due to the nature of budget cycles, grant notification will come after the start of the school year.

Polk County Schools Supt. Miller says it&squo;s unclear if Polk County will receive any new funding, less funding to cover three years, for instance, or possibly even more funding.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Speaking to the Polk County school board Monday, he said he would be surprised if Polk County does not receive some funding, especially considering its enrichment programs have been rated among the top five in the state for the past three years. Many organizations in the community have partnered with Polk County Schools to offer a wide range of activities and learning opprtunities for students in the programs.

&dquo;I just can&squo;t imagine they would eliminate us, but maybe they would say, &squo;Look at how well you&squo;re doing&squo; and determine others need more help,&dquo; said Miller.

Geoff Tenannt, chairman of the Polk County school board, said, &dquo;We have to hope that we don&squo;t get penalized for doing something right.&dquo;

If Polk County does not receive any funding, Polk schools could look for areas to cut so they can continue after-school programs, according to Supt. Miller. He said he expected that will be a major topic at the Polk principals&squo; meeting scheduled for today.

&dquo;I anticipate that they would want to really look at what they could give up so we could at least have something,&dquo; said Miller, adding that the programs help improve students&39; academic performance. &dquo;I know they&squo;re going to say that if you look at those (state test results), you have to discuss what after school and summer school means for those results.&dquo;

The superintendent acknowledged that it&squo;s very frustrating now for parents and principals because they have to plan to start the year without the after school programs.

&dquo;The situation now is neither parents nor principals know what is going to happen so everybody is just in limbo,&dquo; said Miller.